August 9, 2020

Tropical Storm Isaias: Gov. Ned Lamont Declares State of Emergency with Utilities Warning it Could Take Days to Restore 720K Outages

Gov. Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning as utility companies warned that Connecticut residents should prepare for days without electricity with crews still assessing the destruction left by Tropical Storm Isaias that cut power to more than 720,000 homes and businesses.

Lamont, who made the declaration while touring damage in portions of central Connecticut, will meet with Eversource’s CEO on Wednesday afternoon.

Visit this link to read the full article by Nicholas Rondinone and published on Courant.com

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It’s Juneteenth — But What Does That Mean? (from ‘The Boston Globe’)

LYME / OLD LYME — To be honest, we have never mentioned Juneteenth before on LymeLine.com but, in a sign of the times, we feel we can’t let this day pass us by this year without comment.

Quiet, overwhelmingly white Lyme and Old Lyme have already displayed a remarkable awareness of the changing world in which we are living with rallies for racial justice in each town on the most recent two weekends.

Something is happening — even in our peaceful, rural backwaters — that is touching the community conscience and sparking action.

We stumbled on this powerful opinion piece by Adrian Walker titled, What we celebrate this Juneteenth, published yesterday (June 18) in The Boston Globe, which digs deeper into this ongoing phenomenon and explains the history of Juneteenth far better than we are able.

Walker says,  “And this Juneteenth finds Americans in the streets, joined again in a battle for that elusive idea of freedom. Fighting, once again, for true equity in the land where all of us were created equal. As much as anything, Juneteenth is an observance of promises still waiting to be delivered.

He concludes, “If we are lucky and brave and bold, this insane year of pandemic, uprising, and upheaval might be another beginning. Americans stand on the shoulders of idealists, but grounded in the realities of the oppressed. Juneteenth, from its beginning, has been a monument to that tension.

For once, that drama is front and center.

Read Walker’s full column at this link.

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Lyme Senior Siblings Stay Together Through Refugee Journey, Find New Community (from The Day)

LYME — For Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Kamber and Darin Hamou, the last four years have been a lesson about the importance of family both at home and within a community.

Having grown up in Aleppo, Syria, the siblings escaped the country as refugees in 2013 with their parents, Hani and Yadiz, as well as their younger brother, Mohammad, who is now 15, after the Syrian civil war broke out.

Before arriving in Lyme in May 2016, the family endured and fled from bombing attacks in their neighborhood, crossed the Syrian-Turkish border while …

Visit this link to read the full article by Mary Biekert and published June 9 on TheDay.com.

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Lyme-Old Lyme $2.28 Million School Turf Field Moves Forward (from The Day)

OLD LYME — After receiving unanimous approval from the town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission on Tuesday evening, it appears a proposed $2.28 million synthetic turf field project the Region 18 Board of Education is considering building is moving forward.

The 143,000-square-foot, all-weather, multipurpose field, if eventually approved by the Board of Education, will be located …

Read the full article by Mary Biekert and published on theday.com at this link

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A Summer not Like the Rest: Local Hotel, Inn Owners Await Reopening Directions (from ‘The Day’)

OLD LYME — In a normal year, the Old Lyme Inn already would have been booked out through Memorial Day weekend, and reservations tied to summer weddings, local festivals and parades would either be booked or flooding in.

But that’s not the case this year, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the inn to close in March.

Bookings were “canceled through the whole summer,” owner Chris Kitchings said. “Summer is the beginning …

Read the full article by Mary Biekert and published in The Day, May 16, at this link.

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For Connecticut shoreline towns, figuring out a summertime beach policy during social distancing means plenty of hard decisions (from HartfordCourant.com)

In a video taken at Groton’s Eastern Point Beach last weekend, Mayor Keith Hedrick held up flexible PVC pipes fitted together as a jumbo hoop.

When he stepped inside, it gave him a 6-foot buffer on all sides: just what beachgoers this summer will need to maintain.

“That’s your distance — this is what 6-foot is,” Hedrick said on the video. “So imagine walking through the beach with towels everywhere and chairs and coolers and children and sunbathers and everything else, and …

Read the full article by Don Stacom and published on the Courant.com  May 10, 2020 at this link.

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10 Things the Pandemic Has Changed for Good (from AARP.org)

The coronavirus pandemic is a public health emergency and an economic crisis, unprecedented in the disruption of daily life. That makes it something else, too, says Jeffrey Cole, a research professor at the University of Southern California: “Without preparation or permission, we’re participating in the greatest social science experiment of all time.”

The effects of lockdownslayoffs and massive public measures to contain COVID-19 “will last long after any threat from the virus is gone,” contends Cole, who directs the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications. “In the future, …

Read the full article by Andy Markowitz and published on AARP.org May 4, 2020 at this link.

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Old Lyme Getting More Sleep Amid Stay-At-Home Order, Study Shows — But Apparently We Need It

Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash.

OLD LYME — Online sleep-industry review and information site, Sleepopolis, has conducted a study which has found that Old Lyme residents who are now working from home during lockdown are sleeping an extra 17.5 hours per month.

But Old Lyme has a sleep score of 85.75, and came in position #61, meaning its residents are getting far less quality sleep than those in other towns and cities in Connecticut. So perhaps those extra hours of sleep are needed here …

If you are working from home – as many of us are during social distancing – your commute is simply the route from your bedroom to another room in your home. This period of isolation highlights the benefits of working remotely, which is an increasingly popular method of employment.

In the same study, Sleepopolis identified and compiled a list of the best and worst cities for sleep in Connecticut, using a variety of different factors. These were combined to create an overall sleep score out of 100 for each town on the list. Sleep factors in this study include the smoking rate, insufficient sleep rate, mentally unhealthy days, physical inactivity, air pollution levels and unemployment rate.

The study found that Old Greenwich, emerged as the best city to have a good night’s rest with an overall sleep score of 94.07. Comparatively, Willimantic residents are the mostly likely to benefit from working from home since the town came in last place on the list with a sleep score of just 81.6.

View the top cities for sleep across Connecticut.

The research revealed that cities near the top of the list have minimal levels of air pollution, which is a contributing factor to sleeping habits. High levels of air pollution correlate with increased rates of breathing diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. These are strongly linked with obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder.

Hopefully, this extended period of working from home will help to reduce air pollution and therefore contribute to the addition of even more sleep hours banked per month.

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Coping with Isolation: Buddhist Chaplain Offers Words of Wisdom (From MyEdmondsNow.com)

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on MyEdmondsNews.com, (Edmonds is a city roughly 20 miles north of Seattle, Wash.), a fellow member of LION (Local, Independent, Online News) Publishers. Teresa Wippel, founder and publisher of MyEdmondsNews.com generously offered the article to other LION members as it is so relevant to the “Stay Home” situation in which we are all living. We took up her offer and share it here.

Jonathan Prescott

“It’s a paradox. Isolation can be a window to deeper connections with ourselves and others. It can shock us out of a habitual way of living.”

That’s the message from Jonathan Prescott, a resident of Guemes Island, Wash., and Buddhist chaplain, pastoral counselor, and ordained student of world-renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Prescott works with patients as well as caregivers in hospice and hospitals both locally and nationally through his organization, Wise Caregiving.

If ever there were a time to seek the guidance of someone who has looked deeply and fearlessly into the human condition, the age of COVID-19 is it. And Prescott offers philosophical pragmatism on how to meet the challenges all of us are experiencing.

“It’s how we respond to isolation,” he said. “Struggling and saying ‘this is screwing up my plans and my life,’ generates one kind of energy. On the other hand, if you decide, I will isolate out of love, to help others, it’s completely different. You’re saying, ‘I will not be part of a chain of transmission,’ and suddenly you’re connected to the entire world.”

One way to do that is to think very specifically of someone you love that you’re staying home for. “Pull up an image of your grandmother, who is vulnerable, you’re doing this for her. Or for health care workers, your cousin who’s a nurse, whatever it takes to make it real,” said Prescott.

And then there is the issue of what seems like endless time on our hands.

“See this as a gift of time,” Prescott said. ”We’re always so busy, in pursuit of something, always thinking about  the future, a time when we’ll be happy and satisfied. But in my work with the very ill and the dying, I’ve learned we just throw time away. I’ve had dying people tell me that it’s relief to lay their plans aside and just see every moment they have as precious.”

We have that opportunity now.

“How I handle it, when I’m bored or dissatisfied, is to realize I’m not present for this moment as it is. Go outside in the sun. It’s not intellectual — the sun is out and warm. Feel it on your skin. Feel the warmth just now.”

As many have discovered, there’s also time for long-postponed projects. “I’ve been putting off working on the stairs outside, for two years! But I was out there on my hands and knees, sanding. It was great,” he said.

Another paradox, and Buddhism is full of them, is that we can find well-being and calm because of the current restrictions in our lives, not in spite of them.

It keeps things pretty simple.

“When I first took the Zen precepts — there are five of them — I saw them as not being able to do this or that. And then one day it just kind of popped for me that through these restrictions, my freedom was protected. If I can’t lie, I won’t be caught in a lie. We can’t do things we planned to do. My wife and I were going to Hawaii last month and I was focused on that. I resisted mightily giving up those two weeks. But we did and those two weeks at home were lovely. I could not have anticipated that. I don’t have to sit in the sun in Hawaii to enjoy it. I can sit in the sun on my own porch and enjoy it just as much.”

Even with all the Zen chill in the world, there may be times of sadness, feeling depressed with conditions we have little control over.

“We have come face to face with the reality that we are vulnerable, and that can be scary, but I suggest we lean into it because it allows us to appreciate life,” he said.” If we were invulnerable, like gods, nothing would be precious. Be aware and intentionally look for and see positive things, nourishing and healing things. Even your breath. People ill with the virus have a hard time breathing, so take a breath in complete freedom.”

Another challenge is being cooped up with loved ones who may get to be extremely annoying.

“I suggest re-engagement with yourself when you feel exhausted by your situation,” said Prescott. “You’ve been offering love and attention ‘out there’ and now it’s time to offer that same love and attention ‘in here.’ There will be times when we have nothing more to give, so ask yourself, what do I need? A little space, or some quiet, a snack or a bath? Maybe a nap. Offer yourself that love and kindness, and then you can say, ‘Ok, I’m back.’”

It’s not a given that we will take these hard-won lessons into the future when life gets back to something more normal, but Prescott is hopeful.

“I see things changing, even in my own family, that whole red-and-blue thing. It looks so petty now. What were we thinking? I’m optimistic because I see people calling someone when they wouldn’t have done that before. I see generosity. I see people making do rather than pursuing more. There are so many beautiful things around us, so just stop and see what’s going on.”

For further reading on coping with the mental challenges of COVID-19, see these CDC recommendations and information on local Mental Health Resources.

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