November 13, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Needleman Says, “The Election Is Over … Let’s Get To Work”

To the Editor:

The voters of the 33rd District have chosen me to be their advocate in the State Senate for the next two years. The depth of my gratitude to the voters and to the hundreds of volunteers who helped throughout the campaign is beyond my ability to express.

The electioneering is finished, and now we will confront the hard work: get the state back on track, and secure a fair share of support for the towns in our district.  My opponent and I differed in our approach to addressing those issues, but we agreed that the core challenge is restoring the state’s financial health and economic vitality. There is no quick fix, but in my view the path we must travel is clear.

First, we have to bridge the partisan divide that stands in the way of good ideas and sensible solutions. Partisan politics have crippled our state, and it should be obvious by now that retreating to an ideological corner is lethal to the kind of cooperation we badly need. As I said throughout the campaign, I will work with anyone who is committed to finding real solutions, regardless of political affiliation.

Second, renovating our approach to developing revenue projections and budgets is vitally important, but is not the only component of the path to recovery. As importantly, the state needs a comprehensive economic development plan that clearly defines strategies and tactics for creating jobs. We need a plan that builds a compelling and durable appeal to businesses of all sizes…a plan that creates a marketing and communications framework for coalescing the state’s many attributes and advantages into a compelling message. Without a comprehensive plan, the road to economic vitality will be random and reactive, instead of well directed and focused.

Third, I will tirelessly advocate to make certain that every town in our district receives its fair share of support from Hartford. The perspective I have gained from real world experience in budgeting and managing town and business operations will add both credibility and impact to the voice our towns have in the State Senate.

But we also need to address issues that go beyond the state’s finances. We can never stop advocating for measures that address the quality of life in our towns: women’s issues; primary, secondary, and higher education; benefits to our seniors; support for small businesses; and job training for the thousands of unfilled, high paying technical and manufacturing jobs.

I make the same pledge to those who voted for me and to those who didn’t: I will listen to your concerns, I will give you straight answers, and I will never stop working for you. The challenges and the issues that concern you will always be my focus.

It is time to bridge the partisan gap and start on the road to finding solutions. I’m optimistic, because I believe all of us recognize that we have to set aside our differences and truly work together.  That’s the approach and the attitude I will bring to Hartford as your state senator.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex.

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Essex and state senator-elect for the 33rd Senate District.

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Letter to the Editor: Vote Yes on Q2 on Nov. 6 to Protect our Public Lands

To the Editor:

As a strong supporter and user of Connecticut’s wonderful state parks, forests, farmlands and other state-owned recreational and conservation lands (in our area, Nehantic State Forest and Rocky Neck, Harkness and Hammonassett State Parks, just to call out a few of them), I write in support of the public land conveyance constitutional amendment that will appear on our November 6 ballot as Question #2. I urge my friends and neighbors to vote YES. This ballot measure alone is worth a  trip to the polls.

Many people assume that our state-owned recreational and conservation lands are safeguarded for the public forever. Sadly, this is not the case. As things stand now in Connecticut, the state legislature, by simple majority vote,  can sell, swap or give away these lands to private companies or local governments just as it can any other properties that the state owns.
The number #2 ballot proposal, if adopted, would change this. It would amend the state constitution to require a public hearing and a 2/3 vote before the state legislature could take such action. Thus, while not providing absolute protection for publically-accessible and much-loved  lands, the measure would require direct public input on their fate. It would create an open and transparent process preventing back-room deals.
For many in our community, state parks and forests are our only way to experience nature and the outdoors. For all of us, our state lands are beautiful and unique; they nourish body and soul. They also contribute substantial revenue to the state and to the localities in which they are located.
Please join me in voting YES on ballot question 2 on November 6.
Sincerely,
Christina E. Clayton,

Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a former President of the Old Lyme Land Trust.
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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Carney To Continue His Exceptional Hard Work For All

To the Editor:

I am writing today in support of our State Representative, Devin Carney. Over the last 4 years Devin has served us with distinction, worked incredibly hard on our behalf, and never missed a vote. Having really gotten to know Devin, he always has Old Lyme’s best interests in mind when proposing or voting on legislation in Hartford.

One of Devin’s greatest accomplishments for Old Lyme was helping defeat the rail bypass proposal that would have destroyed so much of what we love in town. Without flinching, Devin stepped in & helped lead the charge against the bypass. Because of his advocacy, he was made the Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee – one of the largest, most powerful legislative committees in Hartford. 

In addition, Devin stood up for taxpayers against proposals to increase our taxes like mileage taxes & veterinary taxes. He has worked across the aisle for budgetary reform, combatting the opioid crisis and supporting our seniors. His priorities are always in the right place for Old Lyme residents. 

Old Lyme deserves a representative who will put people before politics and I know Devin always will. Please join me on Tuesday, November 6th, in re-electing Devin Carney.

Sincerely,

Skip Sibley,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: When Breast Cancer Awareness Month Suddenly Takes on Personal Meaning, Critical Importance of Annual Mammogram is Stressed

To the Editor:

I think just about everyone is aware by now that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In most years my October thoughts have been of a special aunt (my mother’s sister and my godmother), and my Grandmother, who was in her 90s when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both were survivors – and my Grandmother lived to be 100.

This year, the pink ribbons and pink pumpkins I’m seeing are reminding me of a journey I began in August of this year. In the middle of lots of happy plans for my daughter’s September wedding (which was everything she had hoped for!), I learned that I, too, have breast cancer and my crash course in breast cancer was off and running.

My initial diagnosis has led to several biopsies, that last of which took place just this week. I know that surgery lies ahead, and will be discussing options and recommendations with my surgeon on November 1, just as Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018 ends.

It’s really out of character for me to be sharing so much personal information – especially in this public format.  But finding cancer as early as possible is what early detection is all about. If my little story (one of so many similar stories) gives you the nudge you need to schedule your annual mammogram, then my departure from character will be worth it for me.

Although I don’t know yet where my path will lead, I do know that my initial cancer was found only because of my annual mammogram.  And, as frightening as cancer is, I can’t help but wonder how long it might have gone undetected, undiagnosed and untreated without that simple annual test.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As it draws to a close, please call your mother, your sister(s), your cousins, and your friends and remind them all that early detection could save their lives.

Sincerely,

Cathy Frank,
Old Lyme,

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Letter to the Editor: Carney is a Fiscal Champion, Defended his Constituents from Tax Increases

To the Editor:

I am supporting Devin Carney for re-election as our State Representative for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. He has been the fiscal champion we need in a time of economic uncertainty.

Devin has always stood up for taxpayers in Old Lyme and fought against increases in taxes that would have negatively affected our quality of life. Did you know there were serious proposals to add a new tax every time you brought your dog or cat to the vet? Or serious proposals to add a new statewide tax on anyone who owned a secondary home (there are many in Old Lyme)? Or that the DOT wanted to spend our money on a study to look into a proposal that would tax us every mile we drive?

Has Hartford lost its mind? For the most part, yes. But, thankfully we have a representative who is rising above the insanity and standing up for us.

Devin successfully defeated all of these fiscally irresponsible proposals  and, instead, has focused on and making Connecticut more affordable. He supported reducing taxes on pensions and social security, reducing taxes on small businesses, and reducing government spending.

I hope you will join me on Tues, Nov. 6th in voting to re-elect Devin Carney – a representative taxpayers can be proud of.

Sincerely

Deb Czarnecki,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Carney Consistently Demonstrates Commitment to Constituents

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Devin Carney for State Representative, District 23 (Towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook).  Devin was first elected in 2014 and through 2 terms has proven himself a strong advocate for our communities.  Devin was the first elected representative in any town along the shoreline to take a stand on the Federal Railroad Administration proposal to run a bypass through the region. In January 2016 his was the first voice we heard and the first to organize a meeting in the Town of Old Lyme to discuss the issue.  He went on to be a very effective advocate for the large numbers of local and regional community members who stood up against the proposal.

Devin has co-sponsored comprehensive legislation on the opioid crisis. This is a critical issue for our communities. Devin’s careful attention proves again how deeply he cares about this heartbreaking problem which affects far too many in our communities. In addition, Devin has helped to reduce the burden on local businesses by reducing the sales tax on boat sales. He has helped to reduce the propane tax on local homeowners and he has stopped the mileage tax.

As an experienced and effective leader Devin Carney has proven again and again his commitment to his constituents and to working across the aisle for solutions to improve the quality of life in our towns and state. Please join me in re-electing Devin Carney to the State Legislature on November 6th.

Sincerely,

Diane Mallory,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Pugliese is Proven Consensus Builder, Problem Solver

To the Editor:

I would like to encourage the residents of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook to vote for Matt Pugliese for state representative for District 23.

Matt is a proven consensus builder and problem solver who will work hard to fight for the values that are important to our communities.

He’s got all the right priorities:  Improving our economy.  Strengthening public education.  Investing in job training and higher education.  Supporting common-sense gun safety.  And supporting women and families with affordable health care and equal pay.

Matt’s been unanimously endorsed by all four communities’ Democratic town committees, as well as Run for Something, the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization of Women, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut and Moms Demand Action.  He’s a leader and a listener who shares our values, believes in building consensus and getting the job done.

Sincerely,

John Kiker,
Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a selectman of the Town of Lyme and chairman of the Lyme Democratic Town Committee.

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Letter to the Editor: Ziobron Confirms her Commitment to ‘Bipartisan Good Faith,’ Explains Her Reasons for Running

To the Editor:

As a moderate, I‘ve been open in my belief in working in a bipartisan good faith. It has been a cornerstone of my philosophy of public service. This was evident in May of 2018, when State Representatives from both sides of aisle spoke, unsolicited, of their experiences working with me in the State House. These comments were public and broadcast on CT-N.   I used those clips in a $375 video to answer the Needleman campaign’s recent spate of vitriolic attacks, soon to be disseminated in a $86,000 TV ad buy.  This is something my opponent can do because, unlike me, he is unrestricted by the rules of our Citizen’s Elections Program.

While out meeting voters in Colchester, a woman’s comment pulled me up short: why was I running at a time of such partisan divide?  My  reaction caught me off guard as much as the question.  I felt tears suddenly welling up and had to take a moment to compose myself.  I wanted to answer with sincerity.  I spoke to her of my passion for our community.  Of my earnest desire to protect our beautiful vistas and natural resources.  My appreciation for the volunteers that make our towns run and how I love our home state.

I can’t ignore how this question touches a recent fault line: in letters to local papers some have expressed upset that I used a personal photo in a campaign mailer that happened to include prominent local Democrats. The photo wasn’t captioned, it was standard campaign material: a picture taken during my tenure as President of Friends of Gillette Castle State Park in 2011 with a newly appointed State official.  It’s regrettable to me how some remain committed to fanatical partisan division at a time when we need to work together.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,

East Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently the State Representative for the 34th District and is now the endorsed Republican candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District.
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Letter to the Editor: Needleman Thinks, Acts Independently; Works in a Bipartisan Manner

To the Editor:

The time has come where we all need to get out and vote and try and pick representatives who will lead us out of the partisanship that is causing so much negativity and lack of progress in our governments; local, state and national.

If you saw 60 Minutes on Sunday, September 30th you saw Jeff Flake, a Republican Senator from Arizona and seemingly a reasonable and thoughtful person, admit that if he was running for Senator again, he would have not have reached out to Chris Coons, Democratic Senator from Delaware, to put some sense in the discussions over the allegations of sexual misconduct of Judge Kavanaugh. He stated that there is no longer any reward in politics for acting on personal beliefs and values if those beliefs and values do not fall in line with the political party with which you are affiliated. How sad. While this is a well publicized national issue, the same type of partisan behavior is happening much more quietly on local and state levels. I personally want to respect the person for whom I vote and want to believe that that person will do what he or she thinks is right, not what is being driven through the political party. And accept it that the chosen leader may not always support issues the way I would, but that leaders have a bigger and broader view than I could possibly have for what is good for the state or the nation.

It is for that reason I support Norm Needleman for Senator in the 33rd district. He is a man who follows his own mind and has proven in Essex his willingness to extend past party lines and attempt to do the right thing.

Getting out to vote this election is very important. Find out what you can about candidates, and vote for those who you think are most likely to help solve our local, state and national problems by working with the people and other leaders from all parties. I believe Norm is that person for 33rd district Senator.

Sincerely,

Robert Ward,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Caring Carney Deserves Another Term

To the Editor:

On Nov. 6, I would encourage the voters of Lyme and Old Lyme to support our state Rep. Devin Carney for re-election. Devin has proven himself to be a strong leader at the Capitol, becoming ranking member of the powerful Transportation Committee in only his second term. He has worked hard to improve our economy with structural budget reform, reduced spending and reduced bonding.

In addition, he truly cares about Lyme and Old Lyme and is always there to help maintain our quality of life. He frequently holds office hours and is always there to listen to our concerns. When policies are proposed that threaten our municipal tax structure or take away our local control, Devin is there to support and defend us. He has been a staunch advocate for open space and environmental issues, including supporting a Constitutional Amendment that will protect environmentally precious land.

Devin Carney deserves another term and I know the residents of Lyme and Old Lyme would be well served if he is re-elected.

Rowland Ballek,
Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Democrat Pugliese Represents a Fresh, Viable Alternative in House 23rd District Race

To the Editor:

Matt Pugliese offers a refreshing, non-partisan voice in the state House of Representatives for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Matt brings business experience from the non-profit sector where he has managed tight budgets and competing union interests to deliver theatrical arts to communities in Middletown and at U Conn. Matt has been recognized for his business acumen by the Hartford Business Journal 40 under 40.

As a resident of Old Saybrook raising a young family, Matt knows first hand the importance of supporting education, working women and families. With his courage to speak up for policies that make sense, Matt has earned the endorsements of Moms Demand Gun Sense, CT Chapter of National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood.

Connecticut has distinguished itself as a leader in gun control and voting equality. To retain these advances, our legislature needs to be controlled by those willing to stand up for these values. Connecticut needs to become a leader in business and the arts. Matt Pugliese has the experience and fortitude to be our next leader.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.
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Letter to the Editor: Protection of the Environment is Good for the Economy

To the Editor:

We in the lower Connecticut Valley live in one of the world’s “last great places”. But can we afford to protect the environment if it raises our taxes and costs us jobs and money? This question always comes up around election time but it is based on an incorrect assumption and it leads to the wrong answer. For a state like Connecticut with its knowledge based economy, the environment is actually good for the economy.

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is a leader in the environmental technology. Some of the wealthiest places on earth (Germany, Denmark, California) are the most environmentally conscious. Solar voltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians are projected to be among the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Connecticut is home of some of the pioneers of the future (the fuel cell industry) and has some of the best resources in the world for the green economy; e.g.: the Connecticut Green Bank (the first in the nation) and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. Our own locality has initiatives such as Sustainable Essex and the Chester Energy Team and engines of sustainability such as Centerbrook Architects and Noble Power Systems. All of this is in addition to the tourist industry which brings jobs and money to the area as well as making it a nice place to live. These signs are telling us something – that the future belongs to the clean and the efficient.

You don’t need to be a member of the Sierra Club or a follower of the Pope’s Encyclical to care about the environment. It is good enough to care about turning “Green to Gold” (to quote from the book by Dan Esty of Yale). The green economy is the wave of the future and if jobs and money are what we want, we ought to get on board or we will lose BOTH our environment and our economy.

Sincerely,

Frank Hanley Santoro,
Deep River.

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Letter to the Editor: Two “Inescapable Facts” About Affordable Housing in Old Lyme

To the Editor:

In considering the debate over the suitability of 16 Neck Road for development of affordable housing under CT 8-30g as proposed by the HOPE Partnership, there are two inescapable facts in play.

First, Old Lyme has a woefully inadequate supply of affordable housing. As a result, the people who teach our children, respond to our 911 calls, earn wages in local businesses or are starting an independent life often cannot afford to live in the community in which they work and serve, and where they may have grown up. The beneficiaries of this project could be our children, or our parents. This reality seems to have been lost on June 5.

Second, 8-30g is specifically written to encourage towns like Old Lyme to develop affordable housing, and, importantly, to accelerate and simplify the path to approval of such developments. The chair of the zoning commission, Ms. Cable, was clear on June 5 when she reminded the commission members that, in considering any denial of an application under 8-30g, the role of the commission was effectively reversed, and that the burden of proof was on the commission, not the applicants.

While there have been legitimate concerns cited about traffic safety and the water supply that should be resolved, there have also been attempts to artificially raise the bar for this application, and to transfer the burden to the applicants. This includes attempts to link affordable housing to eliminating the need to own and operate an automobile. In rural southeastern Connecticut, this is, as we all know, frankly absurd. There is no requirement that that affordable housing must include development of a pedestrian mall. I also doubt that scare tactics about surface soil contamination near interstate highways would be employed if this development involved multi-million dollar homes. Concerns about the all-to-frequent times when accidents on I-95 cause increased traffic on Rt. 156 are not specific to the proposal, as this affects all intersections and properties along 156 west, south, and east. The commission should not and cannot be influenced by red herrings.

Regarding the tenor of the meeting on June 5, suffice to say that the 11-13 year old students that typically use the Middle School auditorium are held to a higher standard of behavior than was demonstrated by some members of the public. Thanks to the commission, particularly Chairwoman Cable, and to the HOPE Partnership presenters for maintaining composure and decorum in the face of that behavior. Volunteer public servants on the zoning commission, and the HOPE Partnership applicants whose only interest is doing good works in good faith deserve better. I hope that the continuation of the meeting on June 11 can be a more civil discourse.

I can’t help but think that if the creativity, time and expense that have been marshalled in opposition to this project were used to solve problems rather than create them, we would all be, quite literally, in a better place.

Sincerely,

Michael Fogliano,
Old Lyme.

 

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Clergy Speak Out in Support of Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

On Tuesday evening, June 5, a public hearing was held in the Middle School Auditorium concerning the proposed affordable housing project, sponsored by the Hope Partnership.  As the clergy from the First Congregational Church and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, we sat through the meeting and listened to a very thoughtful and careful proposal from Hope, and from its team of planners.  We appreciated the structure of the meeting outlined by the Zoning Commission.  We also heard, by contrast, the comments and catcalls of residents, many of whom were vitriolic, spiteful, and willfully disruptive.  It was not a proud moment for Old Lyme.  It was, in fact, quite embarrassing, for it revealed some of the most dreadful tendencies that can emerge in small towns such as the one in which we all reside. 

It was apparent in the hearings that some residents had spent considerable intellectual energy to challenge the work that Hope Partners put into their proposal.  We can only wish that those same individuals used that energy to solve problems of housing, or poverty, rather than disrupting the work of a trustworthy organization focused on providing housing for everyone from firefighters to returning veterans, postal workers to retail workers and far more.  We could hope that they might have used their knowledge to solve some of the issues they claim to have uncovered.  We still hope that those individuals might use their wisdom and experience to help move a worthy project forward, helping to diversify our community, that others might enjoy what is truly good about this town.

As clergy, we believe we’re called to a better and higher way.  We believe there’s room for dialogue, respect, and civil disagreement in public forums.  And we believe that there are better angels within us all that may yet emerge.

We also believe that Old Lyme needs affordable housing.  We further believe that Hope Partners have carefully and thoughtfully selected an appropriate site for such housing in Old Lyme.  To provide shelter is an injunction and virtue at the center of all the Abrahamic faith traditions.  But it stands at the center of our democratic tradition as well.  There are those in our midst who desperately need shelter.  Some are elderly, as one person courageously reminded us on Tuesday.  Some are young families struggling to get by.  Some are recent college graduates, working several jobs to get a foothold in a shrinking labor market.  Some come to us from different parts of the world, striving to make a new life in the United States.  Affordable housing is a powerful way of providing shelter, when shelter is in short supply.

Every Christmas, each of our congregations rehearses the story of Mary and Joseph, turned away from their own quest for shelter because, the story tells us, “there was no room for them in the inn.”  We appeal to our fellow residents to seek a different, and better response, one that says, “There is room in our inn.  There is room in the town of Old Lyme.”

We believe that’s what the better angels of our humanity call us to in a moment such as this.

In faith.

Sincerely

Rev. Dr. Steven R. Jungkeit, Senior Minister, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
Rev. Mark K. J. Robinson, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Old Lyme
Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
Rev. Carleen Gerber, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

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Letter to the Editor: Fair Process Needed for Fair Housing

To the Editor:

I believe in open, careful and deliberative government for our democracy.  As a member of the Board of Finance, I try to raise material issues to achieve the best process for open discussions and careful decision making, not rushed, rubber-stamping votes.

My observation of the effort to allow multifamily zoning for the site at Exit 70 and Route 156 has raised my alarm very significantly.  On the face of it, the location puts potential residents at obvious and significant risk of getting t-boned by folks exiting I-95, which calls into question the initial decision to choose that site in the first place and spend so much time and effort, especially with other much better sites in town.

This is the largest multifamily project ever in Old Lyme, and its application has seemed rushed, though with a welcome slow down Monday evening by the Zoning Commission.  The application has been consistently incomplete before the Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC), and material facts seem to change at each presentation.  Inlands Wetlands actually approved the application May 22nd without having our Town engineer or other Town expert offer their opinion on the facts presented.  Such approval is wrong and inconsiderate of the Town residents whose interests the Commission is supposed to represent.  Proper process is for our Town engineer and other consultants to be engaged in the process and offer their expert opinions upon which our commissions should act in the safety and environmental interests of the Town.

As I began to learn more about the advanced nature of the project earlier this year (despite HOPE portrayals of an early conceptual stage at a late January informational meeting), Chuck Hinckley and I decided that it was important to engage our own affordable housing attorney and environmental consultants to offer their opinions on the circumstances of the process and on the site itself.  We were right to do so, given the result of the IWC decision derived from revised applicant plans presented the meeting night of the decision and made without the input of the Town attorney.

I support efforts to bring smart affordable housing to those who need it.  I don’t support those who seek to achieve that goal through rushed incomplete or preliminary information that has not been vetted by our own Town experts.  This is an important Town decision that we need to get right.

Sincerely,

David Kelsey,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Proposed 23-Lot Subdivision in East Lyme Questioned, Previous Application Denied Unanimously by Wetlands in 2017; Public Meeting Tonight

To the Editor:

In 2017, the Inland Wetlands Agency of East Lyme unanimously denied an application presented by Joe Wren of Indigo Land Design for a 25-lot subdivision built on a parcel of property abutting Four Mile River and consisting mostly of wetlands. The five-page denial details the many reasons this application would likely have an adverse impact on the wetlands and watercourses. It discusses the hazards of groundwater pollution, questions the capability of the proposed septic systems to successfully remediate nutrients or pollutants, challenges the efficiency of the proposed stormwater management measures, and points out that the proposed activities would make it less likely for the existing wetlands to perform as a vernal pool where they exist, among other important environmental concerns.

In 2018, a new plan has been proposed and will be presented to the Inland Wetlands Commission on Monday, June 25, at 7 pm at East Lyme Town Hall. The new plan is for a 23-lot subdivision  that seeks to address the concerns of the previous denial without fully addressing many of the issues noted by the previous commission. This new plan will be presented to a commission consisting of a new Chair and new Vice Chair, as the Chairwoman who led the commission during the denial was told her seat would not be renewed.

The new plan does not protect this valuable natural resource. We hope that people will come express their concerns at the public meeting on June 25th. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/protectgreenvalleylakes/

Sincerely,

Nancy Barwikowski,
East Lyme.

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Sincere Thanks to the ‘Key Retrievers’ at Old Lyme Town Hall

To the Editor:

I want to let you know what an amazing job Scott D’Amato and Lawrence Galbo did retrieving my keys from the storm drain in front of Town Hall yesterday. It wasn’t an easy job and I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t do it. Thank you once again.

Thank you also to the women in Town Hall who contacted Public Works.

Sincerely,

Donna Staab,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Poop Isn’t Pretty … So Let’s Make a New Year’s Resolution To Pick It Up

To the Editor:

I am writing in part to fulfill a promise to a daughter. Our daughter Erin arrived for the Christmas holidays from North Carolina with an adolescent Hungarian vizsla pup. She walked Daisy a few times each day; and always with a doggie waste disposal bag in her pocket.

She commented on the large amount of pet waste that she encountered on her walks and wondered why Old Lyme hasn’t required, – or at least encouraged – pet owners to “police” their dog’s waste. I do not know that this problem is widespread or endemic in our town, nor will I attempt to quantify the issue. It is noticeable.        

I assume that residents are largely cleaning up after their pets. However, the (hopefully) minority of dog owners who are so discourteous to their neighbors that they don’t bother to bag and dispose this waste, are leaving an unsightly and unhealthy memorial of their pet’s exercise.

Erin’s professional career has been principally in Boston/ Cambridge, MA and the United Kingdom. These places have longstanding strongly enforced ordinances regarding removal and disposal of pet waste. So, she may react to such misbehaviors earlier than many would.

I am not advocating that Old Lyme enact an ordinance regarding pet waste. Rather, I feel that we should communicate the problem better and continue with our Tennessee Williams – type approach to  resolution i.e., with apologies to T.W., we should always depend on the kindness of neighbors.

The problem is not insignificant; dog mess is not only an eyesore, but also a health hazard.

In the extreme, according to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dog waste is a major pollutant and contaminant of the water supply. It is a serious health issue.

In fact, it is estimated that 1/3 of all water contamination is a result of dog waste run off entering streams and leaching into underground well water. The EPA deemed dog waste a “non-point source of pollution”, which puts it in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. So, picking up after your pet every single time is important.

I’ll summarize the “How”: Always carry a plastic bag with you when you walk your dog.  Using the bag like a glove, you pick up the waste, turn the bag inside out around the waste, tie it in a knot and dispose of it in a trash can. 

Repurposed supermarket fresh produce bags work well. Lacking those, dog waste pickup bags are available in many  stores and online. Note: do not put this waste  in your home compost pile because it may contain parasites, bacteria, pathogens, and viruses that are harmful to humans which may not be destroyed by composting.   Those interested in digging down further into procedural details should look at: https://www.wikihow.com/Pick-Up-Dog-Poop

Sincerely,

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor:  Generosity of Florence Griswold Garden Gang Appreciated

To the Editor:

As we approach year’s end I would like to recognize the kind generosity of my friends and colleagues on the Florence Griswold Museum’s Garden Gang. The Garden Gang is a volunteer group of women who maintain and nurture the museum’s incredible complex of historic gardens. Note that although currently comprised wholly of dedicated women, the group is also open to male gardeners.

One Friday morning we were discussing, over mulch, the “dilemma” of teachers working in 2017 in many Connecticut public school districts where budgets are often stretched to the limit with only limited state contributions. So, teachers must frequently supplement essential school supplies with out-of-pocket purchases.

My daughter teaches first grade in New London at the Early Childhood Center at Harbor School and, like many other teachers, makes a weekend stop at office supply or discount department stores.

To make a longish story short, boxes and bundles of paper and other supplies began arriving regularly on my porch courtesy of Garden Gang members; and then made their way to her first grade.

I thank them for their generosity and their immediate assistance in improving the daily learning experience of first graders at Harbor School.

See the following article about the Garden Gang in Connecticut’s Historic Gardens: http://www.cthistoricgardens.org/the-garden-gang/

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Time for Democracy, Support the National Popular Vote

To the Editor:

This past Election Day, we took for granted that our votes would matter and the local candidates receiving the most votes would be the winner. That’s the way it works for every election in the U.S., except for president.

With winner-take-all Electoral College voting, a dozen battleground states with only 33% of the population decide who becomes president. Twice in the last 17 years, the loser of the popular vote became the winner. That doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a nonpartisan plan to make everyone’s vote for president matter equally—regardless of whether they’re in a blue, red or battleground state—and to make the winner the candidate with the most votes.

The NPV Compact is an agreement among states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. It kicks in as soon as states with a combined 270 electoral votes sign on, ensuring the popular vote will always pick the president. Eleven states with a combined 165 electoral votes have already signed on.

Our state legislature has considered joining the Compact five times since 2009. Last session, there were 68 co-sponsors of the NPV bill, more than ever before. It will be introduced again in 2018. If you agree that the candidate with the most votes nationwide should become the president, contact your state legislators and ask them to support it.

This isn’t a partisan issue. A switch of 60,000 Ohio voters in 2014 would have put Kerry in the White House, despite three million more votes cast for Bush. The NPV is not a Democratic plan: in 2014 Newt Gingrich strongly endorsed it. With a national popular vote, every vote would matter, not just those in twelve states. It’s time for a change, time for democracy.

Sincerely,

Marta Daniels,
Chester.

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