July 4, 2020

Another COVID Case Reported in Old Lyme Raising Total to 23 Including Two Deaths

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text message Monday, June 29, that another new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Old Lyme. This additional confirmed case is a 48-year-old female.

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

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

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
April 2514
May 115
May 1517
May 2618
June 819
June 1020
June 1421
June 2222
June 2423

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

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

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

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

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Old Lyme BOS Votes to Hold Summer Fireworks, July 25, Despite No Midsummer Festival This Year

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display traditionally rounds off Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival. The festival is not being held this year but the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted June 30 to hold the fireworks display July 25 regardless.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday afternoon (June 30) at a Special Meeting to hold the annual fireworks celebration that normally takes place in the evening following the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival.  This is a significant decision since the Midsummer Festival itself, scheduled for Saturday, July 25, will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selectmen’s plan is to hold the fireworks on the evening of Saturday, July 25, with a raindate of Sunday, July 26.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold, however, clarified to LymeLine in a text this morning that the event is still subject to a number of caveats, stating the fireworks will be held, “… subject, of course, to state and local requirements.” and also that, “We have verbal permission from the school but we must be sure the new solar panels are not harmed.”

Griswold confirmed that, assuming the fireworks go ahead, there will be no shuttle bus service this year due to social distancing constraints.

He added that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, ” … believes the fireworks will be a welcome family event for the people of Old Lyme!”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read our earlier story published June 22, titled, “Will There Be Fireworks in Old Lyme This Year?”

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Will There Be a Fireworks Display in Old Lyme This Year?

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display traditionally rounds off the annual Midsummer Festival. Since the 2020 Midsummer Festival is cancelled, many are wondering whether there will still there be fireworks this year? File photo.

OLD LYME — At the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s June 15 meeting, Selectman Christopher Kerr asked whether the Town would be hosting the fireworks display that traditionally takes place on the Saturday evening of the Midsummer Festival, even though the Festival itself has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Griswold responded that he needed to reach Commissioner Lehman to discuss details of what might be permitted under the state’s reopening guidelines. Lehman is the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD.)

Griswold mused as to whether the event could be held using “the same formula as the beach” with regard to social distancing. He said there would obviously be “no buses,” but, “if we could get clearance [from the state], we could space out.”

The three selectmen agreed after a brief discussion that the average turnout for the event was around 900.

Griswold concluded the discussion saying, “We are still entertaining the idea of still having it [the firework display.]”

Following on from that meeting, LymeLine asked Griswold on Friday whether any progress had been made towards a decision. He responded by text that information from the Governor’s office, “States that, as part of Phase 3, fireworks with proper separation may be held with no cap.” Griswold indicated that he believed that in this context, “cap” meant maximum capacity.

He ended his text saying, “I will poll the Selectmen and the Fire Marshal with a recommendation that the Town proceed with preparations for a Saturday, 25 July event with a rain date of the 26th.”

As soon as we hear the final decision from Griswold, we will report it on LymeLine.com.

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Old Lyme Town Hall Reopens to Public Monday With New Protocols in Place

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold

OLD LYME — UPDATED  6/22: Speaking at the June 15 Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting, which was held virtually via Webex, First Selectman Tim Griswold said exuberantly, “Come the 22nd, we’ll be open for public access.”

He was referring to the fact that the board of selectmen has set the date for town employees to return to work at Memorial Town Hall as Monday, June 22, which is the same day that it will also open to the public — but in both cases with many new restrictions.

The most significant change is, in Griswold’s words, that, “the front door will remain closed,” with a lock-box being used for tax payments, beach passes, documents for filing with the the town clerk and so forth.

He explained that people coming to town hall will, “Use the double-doors by the Meeting Hall and must have a face mask. They will be met by a greeter.”  The greeter’s role will be to determine when sufficient space is available to maintain social distancing guidelines at the department the person wishes to visit.

Adding, “If someone wants to speak with a particular person, they will have to call for an appointment,” Griswold also noted that hand-sanitizer will be available at numerous locations throughout the building.

He concluded, “There’ll be a period of getting used to this new way of working.”

In an email to staff, Griswold had previously explained the precautions being taken and the new protocols that will be in place for intra-staff interactions as well as those between staff and members of the public.

Griswold states in the email, “Personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves will be provided to employees and I ask that staff wear masks when in hallways and other common areas.”

He then lists the measures that are being implemented to protect both the health of employees and the public.

In terms of foot traffic entering the building, the main Town Hall doors and lower level doors will remain locked.

People will enter through the double doors in the foyer next to the meeting hall (at the left of the building as one looks at it from the road) where two Parks and Recreation “Greeters” will meet them and take the temperature of each member of the public entering the building. These “Greeters” will also ensure that each person is wearing a mask and if no mask is present, one will be provided.

Parks and Recreation Director Don Bugbee will serve as the manager of the Greeters.

The Greeters will then direct the public to the office they wish to visit.

In the event more than two or three people are requesting access to a specific office at the same time, the Greeters will ask members of the public to wait in the Meeting Hall. The Greeters will use walkie-talkies to communicate with the larger volume offices.

Once the line is sufficiently reduced, the Greeter will direct the next person waiting to proceed to that office.

The public will have access to the main floor restrooms only. There will be no public access to the lower level.

Regarding general sanitizing facilities and procedures, there will be hand sanitizing stations at the main entrance and in other locations in Town Hall. Dutch doors with built-in counters will be installed in the  First Selectman’s and Assessor’s office doorways. Plexiglass barriers will be placed in the doorways above the counters.

Plexiglass barriers will also be installed in the Town Clerk’s office and in the Building and Land Use areas on the second floor.

Tape will be used to show the public where to stand so that they remain six feet apart while they are waiting for a staff member.

The Town Hall cleaning contractor will continue daily sanitizing of common areas.

Business interactions will see a number of changes. Beach passes, tax payments, and dog licenses will only be accepted by drop-off or in the mail (except for cash payments). Beach passes will not be issued in person.

Griswold notes in his email, “We are strongly encouraging members of the public to conduct their business by phone and/or mail to reduce the number of people entering Town Hall,” adding that a front door lock box has been installed and will be utilized for people to drop off items outside of regular hours.

He also stresses that all meetings with Town Hall staff will take place by appointment only in the immediate term. and that boards, commissions, and committees will continue to meet virtually until the State changes restrictions on in-person gatherings.

Griswold concludes the email, “I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we adapt to doing business differently for the foreseeable future.”

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Op-Ed: Old Lyme EDC Completes Fact-Finding Stage of ‘Smart Growth’ Development Plan, Seeks Additional Public Input to Move Forward

Editor’s Note: The authors, Justin Fuller and Howard Margules, are the Co-Chairs of the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission.

The Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC) launched three initiatives as its first step in crafting a “smart growth” economic development strategy for Old Lyme focused on maintaining the small-town character and charm of our unique town.

We realized the success of the plan depended upon providing opportunities for the public’s voice to be heard. Therefore, we designed the project with this in mind.

The three studies are now complete, and we are pleased to share the results with you.

We believe the findings in these reports will provide essential insights for not only the mission of the EDC but also will provide valuable information for the town’s other boards, commissions, and stakeholders.

The EDC has two main goals: first, attracting new businesses that fit the character of Old Lyme, and second, supporting existing businesses. These studies provided information essential in meeting these goals.

We were delighted by the community’s high level of participation, and we sincerely thank those who participated in completing the survey and to the SWOT attendees who gave up a portion of their free time to share their ideas with the commission.

We are committed to turning these findings into recommendations aimed at enhancing our town’s future.

Our efforts were greatly assisted by Advance CT (formerly known as the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, CERC) in crafting these three reports. They provide a comprehensive sound foundation to build upon, but will require adjustments for the impact of COVID-19.

We recognize the business and economic landscape will be altered, which will require adjustments to our future plans. We believe we are in a better position to confront the “new normal” that will result from the impact of the virus by having the results from these projects as a baseline to work with.

We invited all residents and all businesses to complete an Economic Development Survey, which provided the entire community an opportunity to weigh in on a variety of issues that will help shape the future of Old Lyme.

The response was overwhelming and the results of the Survey are contained in the report at this link.  Seven hundred and thirty surveys were completed (we anticipated 150 responses), the largest percentage response of any of the approximate 80 municipalities Advance CT has surveyed.

We conducted two economic Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) workshops designed to obtain feedback from a broad cross-section of town stakeholders, including a variety of businesses, residents, town leaders, nonprofit organizations, and clergy. The SWOT workshops gave additional opportunities for these stakeholders to dive deeper into critical issues.

The Old Lyme Economic Development Study provided valuable data and expert analysis of current economic conditions and recommendations for the future economic development of Old Lyme. It generated professional analysis and recommendations that will aid us in examining business opportunities that are both realistic and are a good fit for Old Lyme.

in carrying out our two EDC goals of both providing support to existing businesses, and attracting new business, while being mindful of maintaining the charm and character of our beautiful town.

Looking to the future, we will be discussing a game plan at our next meeting and the initiatives we have described here, which have already been implemented, will play a vital role as we move forward. In a nutshell, the EDC is now transitioning from gathering information to generating recommendations for a “smart growth” economic development strategy,

Our goal will be to come up with a specific recommendations for economic development keeping in mind our two EDC  goals of supporting existing business and attracting new businesses while being mindful of maintaining the charm and character of our beautiful town.

We will recommend that we include a vision statement that includes defining  both “the character” of Old Lyme and our sense of community.

We encourage you to review the results of all three reports. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions. Please feel free to email us at edc@oldlyme-ct.gov. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again for your participation and interest in the future of the Old Lyme, a town we all treasure.

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Lyme Town Hall Now Open to the Public Three Days a Week

First Selectman of Lyme Steven Mattson

LYME — (From a press release issued by Lyme First Selectman Steven Mattson) Lyme’s Town Hall and Library are reopening gradually as buildings and work spaces are modified to reflect recommended public health protocols, while obtaining more data on trends of the local infection rate from public health authorities, and pursuing the ability to provide testing for staff.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, both buildings welcomed back staff only to prepare the spaces and serve residents when possible. Any service to patrons will take place outside the building, without contact, as was the process shortly before the current closure.

On Monday, June 8, depending upon the infection rate in New London County and the availability of testing for staff, the public will have access to both buildings three days a week. (Staff will continue a full week schedule.)

    • Town Hall will be open to visitors Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limits on the number of simultaneous visitors and a requirement that all visitors wear masks inside the building and maintain social distancing.
    • The Library will be open to patrons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limits on the number of simultaneous visitors and a requirement that all visitors wear masks and gloves inside the building while practicing social distancing.

A return to all normal operating hours for both buildings is tentatively projected beginning Monday, July 6. This date will, however, be entirely dependent upon the level of infection in the community at that time.

The following protections for staff and visitors will be observed in these facilities:

  • Staff must wear masks when in contact with others and in common areas.
  • Visitors must wear masks and the number of visitors inside a building at one time will be limited. Masks will be provided to visitors, if needed. Gloves will also be required in the Library and will be made available.
  • Residents will be requested to use mail, phone or email whenever possible to limit the number and duration of in-person visits.
  • Acrylic barriers will be placed in areas of high visitation to provide additional protection.
  • Hallways and aisles will be made one-way to reduce contact with others.
  • Social distancing protocols will be required and observed. Limits will be placed on the number of visitors present at any one time in each building.
  • There will be a limit of 1 visitor in any office or in the Town Hall vault. Vault access will be by appointment and the use of gloves will be required.
  • One bathroom in each building will be reserved for staff use only.
  • In-person meetings of staff, boards or commissions will be limited to groups of five or less, and public health protocols (masks, social distancing) must be observed. Increases in the allowable size of groups will follow the guidelines of the Governor as they are relaxed.
  • There will be no use of meeting rooms or seating areas by the public.
  • Each building will be cleaned twice per week and staff will disinfect on an ongoing basis.
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COVID-19 Cases in Old Lyme Rise to 18, Lyme Holds at One

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed by text message Thursday to LymeLine that one new case of COVID-19 was reported on May 26 in Old Lyme. This confirmed case, which he mentioned at the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, June 1, was a 67-year-old male.

Ledge Light Health District issues an update on COVID-19 statistics in their coverage area each Friday afternoon.  We will publish any additional details from that as soon as we receive the update.

There are now 17 confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme plus one fatality.

In an effort to clarify the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes the fatality.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
April 2514
May 115
May 1517
May 2618
June 819
June 1020
June 1421
June 2222
June 2423

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

  • a 64-year-old female
  • a 21-year-old female
  • a 27-year-old male
  • a 53-year-old female
  • a 61-year-old female
  • a 29-year-old female
  • a 40-year-old male
  • a 53-year-old male
  • a 60-year-old female
  • a 48-year-old male
  • a 85-year-old female
  • a 95-year-old female
  • a 20-year-old female
  • a 43-year-old female
  • a 48-year-old female
  • a 70-year-old male
  • a 67-year-old male

The fatality, which is in addition to the confirmed cases listed above, was a 61-year-old female.

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

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

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Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Remain at 17 in Old Lyme, One in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed in a text earlier today that no new cases have been reported in Old Lyme as at today’s date. He noted, however, that he had “not received this week’s update from Ledge Light.”

Ledge Light Health District normally issues an update on COVID-19 numbers on Friday afternoon.  We will publish the details from that as soon as we receive the update.

There remain 16 confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme plus one fatality.

The two most recent cases are a 48-year-old female and a 70-year-old male.

In an effort to clarify the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced. It shows a fairly steady growth over time.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
April 2514
May 115
May 1517
May 2618
June 819
June 1020
June 1421
June 2222
June 2423

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

  • a 64-year-old female
  • a 21-year-old female
  • a 27-year-old male,
  • a 53-year-old female
  • a 61-year-old female
  • a 29-year-old female
  • a 40-year-old male
  • a 53-year-old male
  • a 60-year-old female
  • a 48-year-old male
  • a 85-year-old female
  • a 95-year-old female
  • a 20-year-old female
  • a 43-year-old female
  • a 48-year-old female
  • a 70-year-old male

The fatality, which is in addition to the confirmed cases listed above, was a 61-year-old female.

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

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

 

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No Memorial Day Parade in Old Lyme This Year, Just a Small Cemetery Service — But Here’s The Homily From Mervin Roberts

This wreath was placed last year in front of the Memorial Stone in Duck River Cemetery. File photo by John Ward.

OLD LYME — There will be no Memorial Day parade in Old Lyme this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our opinion, it’s a sad but sensible decision.

A small ceremony will be held at Duck River Cemetery at 11 a.m. when local veterans, representatives of the emergency services, and town dignitaries will gather to place a wreath by the Memorial Stone, which stands in front of the flagpole at the cemetery.

Those gathered there this morning will pay their respects, “To all who served and sacrificed so we could enjoy lasting freedom.” These are the words inscribed on the Memorial Stone along with these details, “Dedicated by American Legion Post 41, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1467, and the People of Old Lyme.”

Mervin Roberts, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department since 1960.

Mervin Roberts, who has served as the Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department for 50 years, normally gives the homily towards the end of the service when the cemetery is packed with parade participants and onlookers.

There will be no crowd this year but before Roberts knew the parade was going to be cancelled, he had already prepared the homily. He anticipated this might be his final homily since he is feeling a little frail — we should add that Roberts is 98-years-young!

There is a possibility he will attend the ceremony this morning and read the homily, but since the majority of townspeople will not be there, a video has been made of Mr. Roberts reading the homily, which we are proud to publish below.

We have also received a copy of the text of the homily, which we are similarly honored to publish here (in italics):

As I review my previous Memorial Day homilies, I’ve come to realize that there is a pattern unfolding.  Taken together, they help to tell us why we are here again in this cemetery. I’ve had the occasion, and the challenge, to explore with you how and why we voluntarily meet here on this designated day to celebrate the lives and mourn the passings of preachers, teachers, siblings, parents, ancestors, neighbors, heroes, government officials, duck hunters, bird watchers, conservation commissioners, friends, lovers, spouses, artists, musicians, fishermen, cow farmers and others.

Truly a web of life.

There were people I knew who sometimes quit too soon and some who might have done better if they quit sooner. Perhaps it is our very individual differences that are a clue to our overall success as a species.  Certainly we are not all alike. In this world full of predators, parasites, and unforeseen diseases, if we were all alike, we would all have succumbed to whatever it was that struck.

But that has not been the case and somehow I suspect our fate lies elsewhere.

So let’s revel in glories of our various lives, our music and other arts, our religious faiths and, high on my list, our love for each other, for certainly what others have done for us should be an inspiration to all to keep up their good work. Here in Lyme and Old Lyme we have homes or resting places of so many people who lived here and left us with something to remember them by.  Let me mention a few in no particular order:  

  • Jim Noyes, who participated in beach landings in the Mediterranean In World War II, and  
  • Belton Copp, who left an arm in the Philippines, and 
  • Silver Star awardee Jack Appleby, and
  • Ezra Lee who was esteemed by Washington, and
  • Clara Noyes who drew thousands of women into World War 1 as nurses, and
  • Roger Tory Peterson, who helped us appreciate birds, and
  • Amy Henry, who taught hundreds of our children how history matters, and
  • E. Lea Marsh, who gave us whole generations of Borden Elsies.

They are not alone. 

From my own life, I would recount just one example.  My late wife Edith and I had born to us six children, the last being William John, named for one of his grandfathers.  Billy had Down syndrome. He was loving, kind, generous, sociable, and academically very limited. We could have had him live in an institution as was the common practice at that time, but instead we kept him home.  Here the Lyme Old Lyme Board of Education provided as much help as he could benefit from and, lo and behold, limited as he surely was, we, his family and our neighbors accepted him for what he was.

Now Dick and Jane Bugbee knew us. Dick and I were both duck hunters. Dick painted houses.  Jane taught piano. Although our homes were about one-half mile apart, Billy would occasionally meander over to visit Jane.  We didn’t take him there, or even show him the way or even suggest his movement.  He just found his own way and Jane would phone Edith that her son Billy was there having a cup of tea, and when he was through, Jane would see him start on his own way back home. 

No alarm of lost child, no social worker, no emergency, just Billy Roberts visiting for a cup of tea.  This is but an example of how this web of life worked for us. We certainly owe the people of Old Lyme our gratitude for everyone’s help. 

Incidentally, Billy was a strong supporter of the Old Lyme Fire Department and was elected an Honorary Member. 

On a personal note, I’ve been a member of this same Department since 1960, but now frail in my 98th year, I can no longer remain active as Chaplain. This, then, will probably be my last homily. 

I thank you for the opportunity to serve.

And to wrap up our coverage of this strange Memorial Day, visit this link to watch a wonderful video of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Bands playing “Taps for Band” by Thomas Knox and Jari Villanueva. We assume the video was made during the time the school was closed and the students were following a distance learning schedule — a time that continues to this day.

Many congratulations to Band Director Joseph Wilson and all the students that participated in this excellent performance!

Enjoy … and have a very Happy (socially- distanced) Memorial Day!

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read At Age 98, Mervin Roberts Looks Back Over 50 Years of Service as Chaplain of Old Lyme Fire Department written by Michele Dickey and published May 24, 2020 on LymeLine.c0m.

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Ledge Light Health District to Issue Closure Orders when Establishments Violate Governor’s Executive Orders

LYME/OLD LYME/AREAWIDE — (from a press release) After consulting with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) legal team it has been determined that LLHD is the responsible entity for enforcing the Governor’s Executive Orders, as they pertain to regulated entities such as foodservice and cosmetology establishments that are operating in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

Ledge Light Health District will be issuing an order of closure to any establishment in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

While waiting for clarification from the State regarding its authority and requirement to issue orders to close, LLHD did conduct a courtesy inspection of one cosmetology establishment when health district staff received word that the establishment owner planned to open in violation of Governor Lamont’s decision to delay the reopening of salons and barbershops.

“Our primary responsibility is to protect the public health and assure, to the extent possible, that all possible measures to prevent the spread of disease are being taken in each situation,” said Stephen Mansfield, LLHD Director. “We were notified that this establishment owner intended to move forward with opening and while we wanted to review health and safety measures with her even as we waited for clarification from the State regarding our authority and mandate to issue a closure order.”

“LLHD has been going above and beyond for the communities they serve during this challenging time. The voluntary actions taken this morning by LLHD to ensure the safety of a business owner and her customers, are further evidence of that,” said Danielle Chesebrough, Stonington First Selectman.

“Many of us share in the frustration of business owners and non-profit organizations looking to get back on their feet; however, with the clarification received today from the State, LLHD is now doing what is being required of them. We ask residents, businesses and organizations for their continued patience and civility during this challenging time.”

Director Mansfield emphasized LLHD’s commitment to working to promote community health, stating that “Ledge Light Health District will continue our efforts to respond to the changing nature of this pandemic and the decisions made at the state level to support the health and safety of our communities.”

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

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Old Lyme Board of Finance Approves $38.8 Million Budget for 2020-21, Mill Rate Up 0.79 Mills

OLD LYME — On Monday evening, the Old Lyme Board of Finance unanimously approved the proposed $38,805,674 town budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held virtually using a WebEx platform with members of the boards of finance and selectmen, and also several members of the public and press participating.

This year in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont in Executive Order 7I waived the requirement for towns and school districts to vote on budgets by “any in-person budget adoption requirements,” including town meetings or referenda. The board of finance was therefore able to approve the budget with a vote of their members rather than hold the traditional town meeting at which the public votes on the budget.

Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell gave a Powerpoint presentation of the budget highlighting areas of significant change in both revenues and expenditures. He noted the budget was marginally lower than the one presented at the April public hearing due to Lyme-Old Lyme Schools reducing their total budget to $34.7 million at their final presentation. Based on the respective student population percentage  in each town, Old Lyme pays $27.7 million of the LOL Schools’ budget with the Town of Lyme paying the remainder.

Stating that although the proposed mill rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year of 23.2 represented an increase over the current year’s mill rate of 22.41, Russell noted that the town would draw $800,000 from its surplus to prevent a higher increase. He pointed out that although the town’s budget has decreased slightly this year over last year, the grand list has fallen significantly due to the recent revaluation.

There were no questions asked about the budget during public comment but Russell said he had a received a question by email from a resident of Stonewood, who wanted to know how the board might deal with the financial stress on households caused by the pandemic, which, in turn, could affect their ability to pay their property taxes.

Russell responded that the budget had been developed for the most part before the pandemic struck but the board had subsequently “picked some capital items out” of the budget, but equally they “don’t want them to pile up.” He said the board would be watching the rate at which property taxes are paid and “if we have to make modifications during the budget year, then we’ll do that.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold reminded residents that the board had agreed to a low interest rate of 3%  as proposed in an Executive Order by Gov. Lamont on delinquent property taxes from August through October. He noted though that the interest rate “snaps back to 18%” at the end of October.

Read a detailed report on the meeting by Mary Biekert and published in ‘The Day’ May 19, at this link.

 

 

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Town of Lyme to Phase in Reopening of Town Facilities, Starts Today

LYME — (from a press release) As the state of Connecticut prepares to loosen stay-at-home practices to foster an increase in commerce, the Town of Lyme has prepared for a measured, phased reopening of Town facilities beginning Wednesday, May 20, in accordance with the Governor’s plan.

While it is hoped to return to as much “normal” as possible, the Lyme Board of Selectmen stress that things will clearly be different as new procedures to protect Lyme residents and employees are instituted to avoid experiencing a recurrence of rising virus infections in our community.

The board of selectmen will monitor the reopening process closely, remaining vigilant should another wave of COVID-19 return. Although the board hopes there will not be a need to close Town facilities again, board members emphasize that they will always put the health and safety of Lyme residents and employees paramount when faced with that decision.

The reopening of Town facilities does not signal an end to the pandemic nor an end to the risk we all share. The board of selectmen strongly urge all Lyme citizens to continue to wear masks when outdoors and to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others.

Residents who are 60 or older or who have other medical conditions that place them at risk should continue to stay home as much as possible. Everyone must continue to look out for each other and practice the simple behaviors that limit transmission.

Full details of the phased reopening are at this link with separate sections on

  • Public Works
  • Brush Hill Transfer Station
  • Hamburg Recycling Center
  • Town Hall & Lyme Public Library
  • Other Town Facilities.

There is a also a calendar detailing the reopening visually.

 

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Old Lyme Board of Finance Hosts Virtual Town Budget Meeting Tonight, No Public Vote Required to Approve Budget

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Finance (BOF) will host an Annual Budget Meeting this evening at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually and followed immediately by an Old Lyme BOF Meeting at which the mill rate for the coming financial year 2020-21 will be set.

Members of the public may attend both meetings by using WebEx with the following link: https://oldlymect.webex.com/oldlymect/j.php?MTID=m45ab07d640b28b8c0596637aca51886b.  Alternatively, dial 1-408-418-9388 and enter access code: 714 301 883. Residents are encouraged to join the meeting five minutes before it is due to start to ensure you can gain a connection.

View the proposed budget at this link.  Members of the public can submit comments on the budget in advance of the meeting to: BoardofFinance@oldlyme-ct.gov.

In light of the closure of Town Hall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and pursuant to Governor Lamont’s Executive Orders 7I, 7S and 7CC, the public, and electors and citizens eligible to vote in Town meeting may listen to the meeting by using either access method listed above.

This year, however, the board of finance will vote to approve the draft budget. Members of the public will be given the opportunity to comment at the meeting via the Chat window on the WebEx link or on the phone — but not vote — on it. Traditionally, a Town Meeting has been held at which a public vote is taken to approve the budget. This is not happening this year because Governor Lamont obviated the need for in-person voting due to COVID-19 via Executive Order 7-I.

Assuming the budget is approved by the board of finance, it will become the Town of Old Lyme’s approved budget for FY 2020-2021.

After the budget has been approved, the board of finance will consider and vote on setting the mill rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year and details of the tax payment schedule.

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Old Lyme Beach Passes Now on Sale

OLD LYME — Beach passes are now on sale from the Old Lyme Town Hall. The beaches will re-open May 23, but there is a possibility they may be closed again. In the event of further beach closures, no refunds will given for beach passes purchased.

You must be an Old Lyme taxpayer in order to purchase a Beach Parking Pass. View or download the beach pass application at this link.

Since Town Hall remains closed to the public, there are two ways to purchase a beach pass as follows:

  • Mail a check with your payment, proof of residency, and the application form to the First Selectman’s Office, 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme CT 06371.
  • Place the items listed in the first bullet in an envelope and drop it through the mail slot in the Town Hall front door with the appropriate cash or check. Credit card payments cannot be accepted at this time.

After receiving the payment and required information, the application will be processed and the beach pass(es) mailed to the address related to the application.

The fee for the first beach pass is $25.00 while a second one costs $40.00. Therefore the price for two beach passes, which is the maximum permitted per family this year, is $65.00. There are no reduced rates for beach passes this year.

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold noted in a text message this morning, “They [Beach Passes] are selling briskly.”

For further information and questions, contact Michele Hayes at mhayes@oldlyme-ct.gov or (860) 434-1605 ext. 212.

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Lyme Board of Finance Approves $10.7M Budget, No Change to Current Year’s Mill Rate

LYME — The Town of Lyme’s proposed 2020-21 budget of $10,688,087 was passed unanimously Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Lyme Board of Finance, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Typically a town meeting would have been required to vote on the budget, but this year, in light of the COVID-19 situation, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in Executive Order 7I waived the requirement for voting on town or school budgets by “any in-person budget adoption requirements,” thus leaving boards of finance free to pass town and/or school budgets by a member vote at one of their meetings.

After the budget was approved, the board of finance went on to set a mill rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year of 19.95, which reflects no change from the current year’s rate.

Asked by email after the meeting how he felt about the successful passing of the budget, Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan said, “The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance did a great job developing a 20-21 budget that reflects the values of Lyme – strong support for education, open space, and fiscal responsibility.”

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Griswold Tells BOS “Beach Closures Accomplished What We Wanted,” Hopes Beaches May Reopen May 20

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold. File photo.

OLD LYME — At last Monday evening’s Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting, First Selectman Timothy Griswold discussed the subject of the Old Lyme beach closures, which had been enforced the immediately preceding weekend and met with mixed reactions. He said, “I made a decision to close the [Old Lyme] beaches to the public. In talking with the president of Miami Beach [Association], he agreed Miami Beach should be closed too.”

The meeting was broadcast live as a telephone conference.

Griswold referenced the landmark Greenwich lawsuit regarding town beaches, which he said those involved in the decision had “looked at” and concluded it meant in the case of Old Lyme that they “had to close all town beaches.”  He noted the president of White Sand Beach Association had agreed with the decision.

Recognizing it was a “controversial decision,” he said that at the meeting he called Wednesday of representatives from the beaches and emergency services, the consensus was that primarily due to the sunny weather expected, “it would be pretty unwise to have business as usual at Sound View Beach” during the coming weekend.

He reported that “things went relatively well,” with only some “very minor violations,” and a Beach Ranger worked at White Sand Beach “instructing visitors that the beach was closed.” Noting he had met with the owners of the Sound View restaurants Kokomo’s and The Pavilion, Griswold said both had agreed to serve take-out only.

He emphasized his hope that these would be short-term closures and that the beaches might re-open soon.

He summarized the results of the closures saying they, “accomplished what we wanted … it would have been a real problem if we had done nothing.”

During public comment, Susan Kneen Way of Old Lyme asked if Griswold, “Would be willing to reconsider the closure of White Sand Beach and Hains Park” since beach-goers there and at Hains Park are required to have car hang tags in order to park. She noted “Since the private beaches have been advised to govern themselves, the rest of Old Lyme should be afforded the same opportunity.”

Griswold responded, “There are certain legal issues that govern these public beaches. It would be unusual to restrict them to town residents when the public itself can’t come to the beach.” He again referenced the Greenwich lawsuit, which he explained requires a town to consider “access to public beaches as access to a park.”

Kneen Way countered, “My understanding is that White Sand Beach is for town residents only, hence the requirement for hang tags.” Griswold responded, “Non-residents can acquire a beach pass — though not at the same rate,” adding, “It’s [White Sand Beach] not the exclusive domain of town residents.”

Saying that she has seen clear evidence on the beach at the weekend of  Old Lyme residents observing social distancing, Kneen Way did however stress to Griswold, “I understand your reasons for closing Sound View.”

Griswold concurred that, “We would very much like to have these beaches open, but I think with Sound View, there’s no good way of regulating that.”

He concluded, “Maybe on the 20th of May we’ll have some good news from the Governor, but meanwhile, we have to be really careful.”

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Griswold Reports Now 14 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Plus One Fatality in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold told LymeLine.com by phone this morning that there are now 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Old Lyme residents as at today, Friday, May 1. These cases comprise 10 females and four males.

There has also been one fatality in Old Lyme.

Griswold said the confirmed cases comprise:

  • a 64-year-old female
  • a 21-year-old female
  • a 27-year-old male,
  • a 53-year-old female
  • a 61-year-old female
  • a 29-year-old female
  • a 40-year-old male
  • a 53-year-old male
  • a 60-year-old female
  • a 48-year-old male
  • a 85-year-old female
  • a 95-year-old female
  • a 20-year-old female
  • a 43-year-old female

The fatality was a 61-year-old female.

The numbers for Lyme continue to show one confirmed case of a 34-year-old male.

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

Ledge Light Health District will issue a new report later this afternoon showing the numbers as at noon today. We are not expecting any differences from the numbers reported above but will report any changes detailed in that report after we have received it.

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Lyme Board of Finance Unanimously Sends $10.6 Million Budget for Final Approval at May 12 Meeting

Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan.

LYME — Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan hosted a swift, virtual Public Hearing on the proposed 2020-21 Lyme Town Budget Tuesday evening with not a single member of the public and just one member of the press attending the Zoom meeting.

Hagan summarized the numbers noting the proposed budget called for total expenses of $10,688,087, which represents a reduction of $326,155 (3%) over the previous year’s budget of $11,014,242. He noted that revenues of $10,607,533. were anticipated leaving a general fund balance at the end of June 2021 of $2,192,000, which he said was, “well over the two months of operating budget that the town expects to have on hand.”

Reviewing the income section in detail, Hagan noted that revenues were increasing from $10,428,173 to $10,607,533 with 90 percent of the town’s income coming from general property taxes. He explained that these showed “a sizable increase” primarily due to the value of Eversource’s property in town increasing by some $6 million after major upgrades, giving the town an additional $140,000 in revenue.

On the expense side, Hagan highlighted the “major portion [of expenditure] at 65 percent of the total as being the $6,442,000 to Region 18 Schools, which represents a decrease from the current year’s figure of $6,579,421. Noting that this decrease is accounted for by two factors, Hagan explained firstly, “the schools decreased their budget overall for next year by almost 1 percent” primarily due to refinancing their debt service.  Secondly, he pointed out that Lyme pays a share of the total Region 18 budget based on the percentage of the student population for which it accounts in terms of residents.  The 2019-20 percentage was 19.3 whereas the 2020-21 number has reduced to 18.5 percent. He described the combination of these favorable factors as “a big plus for us.”

Hagan mentioned two expense amounts in the budget for bridge work on the Birch Mill Rd. Bridge ($25,000) and Macintosh Rd. Bridge ($250,100), saying the former was ongoing but the latter would likely be moved into next year due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Commenting that the budget also called for moving various monies into savings funds, he described that as a “fantastic” achievement. He then concluded by thanking all involved for “doing a great job,” and creating a budget, which would not only enable the town to hold the mill rate steady for another year, but also, “reflects the values of what we hold near and dear in Lyme.”

After reporting that, despite an email address being open for 21 days to receive questions from the public, not a single one had been received. Hagan asked for a motion to forward the budget for final approval at their May 12 meeting. No town meeting is required this year to approve the budget per the Governor’s Executive Order 7-B.

The vote was unanimous and the meeting adjourned at 6:44 p.m., precisely 14 minutes after it had started.

 

 

 

 

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Lyme Board of Finance Hosts Virtual Public Hearing on Proposed 2020-21 Town Budget Tonight; Call for Access Info to Meeting by 4pm

Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan.

LYME  — The Lyme Board of Finance will host a Public Hearing on their proposed 2020-21 budget Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. View the agenda at this link.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing will take place virtually since the Governor’s Executive Order 7B temporarily suspends the In-Person requirement for municipal public meetings.

To obtain access to the Lyme Public Hearing, contact Jennifer Thomas at jen@townlyme.org no later than 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

To further enhance public input, the Lyme Board of Finance has established an email address at lymebudgetcomments@gmail.com, so you can send in questions or comments about the proposed budget in advance of the virtual Budget Hearing.  This mailbox is open and will be monitored through April 28.  All e-mails received will be addressed as part of the virtual Budget Hearing on April 28.

View the proposed Lyme 2020-21 budget at this link (scroll down.)

The budget will be approved at a regular board of finance meeting scheduled for May 12.  The board of finance has been authorized to approve the budget without a town meeting this year. This is also a result of the Governor’s Executive Order 7B.

Read a more detailed analysis by Mary Biekert of The Day of the proposed 2020-21 town budget for Lyme, which includes an $80,000 allocation to cover potential costs related to the coronavirus response, at this link. Biekert’s article was published April 8.

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See, Hear Recording of Last Week’s Old Lyme BOS, BOF Meetings

OLD LYME — Recordings of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen meeting and the Old Lyme Board of Finance Budget Presentation, both held Monday, April 20, are now online at the links indicated.

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