September 30, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Griswold Has Misrepresented Old Lyme’s Values, Embarrassed Residents by Refusal to Discuss Racism Resolution

To the Editor:

I am embarrassed that Old Lyme’s values have been poorly represented by First Selectman Tim Griswold.  Over a year ago, in August 2020, Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal proposed that the Board of Selectmen adopt a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, as well as measures to address it.  Despite the fact that the Connecticut legislature and numerous municipalities have adopted similar resolutions, First Selectman Griswold, joined by fellow Republican Selectman Chris Kerr, rejected that proposal, arguing that Old Lyme did not have a racism problem.  Selectwoman Nosal has repeated her request every month since, to no avail; Mr. Griswold has refused even to put the topic on the Board of Selectmen agenda for consideration or to discuss what revisions to the words of the resolution he would support.

The question is not, of course, whether Old Lyme residents are racists, but rather whether we will clearly and publicly acknowledge that racism is a societal problem (public health and more) which Old Lyme soundly opposes. The refusal of our town leadership to recognize this reality sends the contrary message, much to our shame and the dismay of most of our citizens.

Martha Shoemaker and Jim Lampos support taking a stand on this very important issue.  Our town’s embarrassment will end if they are elected on November 2.

Sincerely,

William J. Belluzzi,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a Democratic member of the Old Lyme Affordable Housing Commission.

Letter to the Editor: Shoemaker, Lampos Will Prioritize Responsive Government By, And For, All The People of Old Lyme

To the Editor:

Martha Shoemaker and Jim Lampos will bring common sense back to Old Lyme government. They will prioritize responsive government by and for the people. Regardless of party affiliation, please join me by voting for Old Lyme residents who share this goal, and vote Democratic on November 2nd.

Sincerely,

Paula Melillo,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Lowry Explains His Reasons for Running for Region 18 BOE, Notes Democratic Slate Offers 90 Collective Years of Education Service

To the Editor:

I am running for a seat on the Lyme-Old Lyme Region 18 Board of Education (BOE) because I believe that my experience and ability will enable me to make a strong contribution to the continued excellence of our well-regarded school system.  Through my 22 years of experience as a professional educator, I have gained first-hand knowledge of the policies, procedures, and vernacular pertinent to district-level decision-making. 

I am committed to life-long learning and accustomed to assimilating new concepts and skills.  I am flexible in my thinking, consider the reasoned positions of knowledgeable others, and adjust readily to an ever-changing playing field.  Over the years my critical thinking skills and self-reflection have improved my teaching and ability to create student success.  I am confident that these attributes will assist me in making informed and thoughtful decisions on the BOE.  My wife, also an educator, and my two children, who attend school in Region 18, appreciate the quality of life we have in Old Lyme. It seems only right to contribute to the town and institutions from which we benefit.

I hope that when you step into the voting booth this November 2nd you will cast a vote for me and the other well-qualified Democratic candidates.  We will bring 90 years of collective educational service to the students and families of Old Lyme. 

Sincerely,

Alexander Lowry,
Old Lyme. 

Editor’s Note: The author is a candidate in the upcoming election for the Region 18 Board of Education.

Letter to the Editor: Griswold Offers Experienced Leadership, Keeps Steady Hand at Helm

To the Editor:

As a young Naval Officer, Tim Griswold helped guide large aircraft carriers through storms in the Pacific.  It was an invaluable learning experience for the role he was destined to fill, our First Selectman.

Tim learned to work with others from diverse backgrounds, races, religions, and educations.  Perhaps even more important, he learned not to overreact to dangers.  He developed a steady approach to any problem that came his way.  He would gather facts, listen to others, seek out advice, and then decide on a course of action.  All the while being respectful to those who may have offered differing viewpoints.

Like the aircraft carrier, Tim has guided our town through the stormy waters of building a new high school, implementing the new sewer system, addressing commercial growth, managing town government through COVID, and keeping costs under control.

This is no time to change course.  Vote for experienced leadership and keep a steady hand at the helm.

Vote for Tim Griswold First Selectman on November 2nd.

Sincerely,

Rod Clingman,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Selectwoman Nosal Endorses Shoemaker, Lampos for BOS; Both Will Place Needs, Concerns of OL Residents First

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Martha Shoemaker for Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Jim Lampos for Selectman. I have worked with each of them for years and can say two things without hesitation: they are extremely talented and they always put the needs and concerns of Old Lyme residents first. Martha’s professional career as a teacher for 35 years, union negotiator and project manager, and her tireless commitments as a volunteer on school committees, the Library and LYSB, have prepared her well to be the CEO of our town. We have all benefited from Martha’s long history of collaborative, can-do support for local education and non-profit organizations. She has the requisite skills and good judgment to make thoughtful, fair and sound decisions on behalf of Old Lyme. Illustrative of her civic-minded, generous character is the example she and her family set in hosting Coast Guard cadets for eight years and providing them a home away from home.

For the last 10 years Jim has contributed as a volunteer to valuable, cost-effective, Sound View improvement projects. The sidewalk installations enjoyed grants saving Old Lyme taxpayers over $800,000. Jim’s pragmatic approach to solving community problems and his insightful appreciation of the history of Sound View reflect his careful approach to addressing community concerns and his strong advocacy for local engagement.

Martha and Jim will protect our assets and the quality of life we treasure in Old Lyme. They will engage the community and seek input on town matters. They will actively pursue grants and effectively budget for important projects, like safety improvements on Halls Road. They will assure that budgets are respected, our bills are paid on time, our local police have the resources needed to protect the community, and that Town Hall is responsive to all residents.

Please join me in voting on November 2 for the team that Old Lyme needs: Martha Shoemaker and Jim Lampos.

Sincerely,

Mary Jo Nosal,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author has served as Old Lyme Selectwoman since 2011. She is a candidate in the upcoming election for the Old Lyme Zoning Commission

 

Letter to the Editor: BOE Members Should be ‘Smart, Empathetic, Focused’: Democratic Slate Meets That Need

To the Editor:

Reflecting back on my nearly eight years of service on the Region 18 Board of Education, I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished with the support and encouragement of the broader Old Lyme and Lyme community.

As I approach my final month on the Board, I am optimistic and excited to support four candidates with exactly the backgrounds needed as the Board engages in strategic planning and a review of potential facility upgrades to four schools that were last substantially updated nearly two decades ago:  educational credentials and a focus on children.  Life-long educators Martha Shoemaker (retired teacher), Marisa Calvi-Rogers (doctorate in education, retired principal) and Alexander Lowry (current teacher), along with Jason Kemp (family relations counselor, CT Judicial Branch), will bring over 90 years of collective public service in support of children to the Board.  Alexander and Jason are also the parents of current R18 students.

We need smart, empathetic, and focused leaders who view challenges as opportunities and can widen the realm of possible solutions through creative problem-solving.  Our small town needs Board of Education members who understand public education and the needs of children and families, as well as the importance of incorporating into their decisions the wide variety of viewpoints held by our community members.

I strongly encourage you to elect these four Democratic candidates to represent our Old Lyme community on the Region 18 Board of Education.

Sincerely,

Jean Wilczynski, CFP®,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author currently serves as treasurer of the Regional School District 18 Board of Education.

Letter to the Editor: Colwell’s Beliefs, Her Endorsement by Old Lyme RTC, Raise Serious Questions

Editor’s Note: Commenting on this letter is now closed. Thank you all for a lively debate on this letter.

To the Editor:

The candidates chosen by a town’s political committee to run in an election must be assumed to reflect the beliefs and platform of that committee.  For example, Old Lyme’s Republican Town Committee has endorsed Mona Colwell for election to the Board of Education.  According to her Facebook page, Mona questions what brought down the World Trade Center, regarding which she wrote, “Will we ever know the truth?  Does it even matter?”  Another example is our 2018 gubernatorial election, which Ned Lamont won by 44,372 votes.  Not so, says Mona: “I do believe the election was rigged when thousands of UConn students were bussed in and through other means.”

To illustrate Mona’s logic of thinking, she asks on Facebook: “. . . someone PLEASE explain to me . . . how is a non-vaccinated person a threat to a vaccinated person? . . . What am I missing here, other than tyranny?”  Is she unaware that unvaccinated, infected people infect others, whether vaccinated or not, and that the spread of infections throughout the country provides the breeding ground for serious mutations?

Mona should not be making decisions for our children, and the RTC’s judgment in endorsing candidates should not be trusted.
Sincerely,
Aaron Emma,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Unaffiliated Matt Ward Endorsed for Selectman by Old Lyme Republicans Due to His Integrity, Community Involvement

To the Editor:

The members of the RTC of Old Lyme have enthusiastically endorsed Matt Ward, an unaffiliated voter, as our candidate for Second Selectman in November’s municipal election. This choice was made because we felt Matt’s values of integrity and community involvement closely matched the needs of the town. Matt’s history as a resident of Old Lyme is replete with examples of his commitment to the town. He served 3 years on the Board of Directors of the LYSB, 10 years on the LOL Little League, and many other town activities. In addition, Matt is a Planning Commission Alternate. 

Matt has recently retired after 20 years as a State Police Officer. Matt and his wife Tara, well known in the community, have five children in the school system. He is a man of great energy, integrity, and commitment to our town. I ask you to elect Matt Ward as our Second Selectman on November 2nd.

Sincerely,

David Griswold,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Multiple Reasons to Support Halls Rd. Master Plan, Improvement Committee Commended for its ‘Thoroughness’, ‘Clarity’

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our interest and support for bringing the Halls Road Master Plan to fruition. We reviewed the Plan and had attended one of the recent information sessions.

We want to acknowledge the thoroughness of the analysis completed by the Halls Road Improvement Committee [HRIC]; and the clarity of both the recommendations and the thoughtful vision for the future.

The Plan seeks to develop Halls Road into a district that would “resemble the small-town, mixed-use neighborhood that Lyme Street was before 1960”.

We applaud the HRIC in prioritizing improvements to roadways and sidewalks required for the safety of walkers and bikers.  The team’s vision is to create pedestrian and bicycle connections amongst Old Lyme’s town center, the “Arts District”, and the proposed “Halls Road “Village District”.

We are walkers, and crossing Halls Road towards the Lyme Art Association can be very perilous. Creating this “safe and attractive pedestrian and cyclist route” will be a daunting challenge. Halls’ position between and amongst four exits and entrances to Interstate 95 North and South will require creative traffic management. Certainly, speed and traffic jams on Rt 156 and Boston Post are good barometers for issues on the interstate.

That said, we are also excited about the reconstruction of the Bow Bridge and access to some new green space along the Lieutenant River. That could provide an historic connection to, or at least a reminder of, the American Impressionists residing and working at Miss Florence’s boarding house.

In closing, we want to congratulate the team’s proposal for the creation of Design Guidelines that will help ensure that new development along Halls Road is required to go beyond the “nuts and bolts” of zoning regulations to assuring the “look and feel” is compatible with Old Lyme’s “small town feel”.

We are very glad that the team recognized that the residential aspects of the “Village District” will not only provide options for those moving into the community, but also enable older residents’ attractive opportunities to remain in Old Lyme.

It’s time to put a Halls Road, whose primary goal is to serve as an interstate service area pit stop, in our rear-view mirrors.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka and Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: This is a shortened version of a letter submitted by the authors to the HRIC in support of its Master Plan.

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Letter to the Editor: Shoemaker Explains Decision to Run for Old Lyme’s ‘Top Job’ + BOE, Seeks Broad Support From Voters

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Residents of Old Lyme:

I am running for First Selectwoman of our town and I hope to earn the support of all our citizens whether they be Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated.  Old Lyme residents deserve a leader who will listen to their concerns, create sound fiscal budgets, and bring consensus among diverse groups working toward the common goal of improving our town.  I will prepare this town for the challenges of the future. My decision to run was prompted by overwhelming resident concerns that these critical responsibilities were not being met. I am confident that my skill-set and prior experience will enable me to address these issues

During my 35-year career as a public-school teacher I worked collaboratively with fellow teachers, administration, and parents to provide a quality education for students.  I served as the union president for the last twelve years of my tenure.  Mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills are tools that I incorporated to bring consensus between people.  These experiences will be crucial as First Selectwoman.  I am currently Co-Chair of the Lyme/Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) and President of the Friends of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. I am passionate about public service and believe there is a benefit for the entire Old Lyme community in being able to integrate activities, align networks and identify compatible and complementary opportunities among organizations.  

I am also running for re-election to the Region 18 Board of Education. I was first elected to the Board for a four-year term in 2017 after retiring from teaching.  Public education has been and is an integral part of my life and is critically important to the residents of Old Lyme.  I have enjoyed working on the Board of Education and look forward to contributing to the Regional District 18 Strategic Plan beginning in the fall of 2021.

The role of First Selectwoman is to serve the community of Old Lyme and to maintain, and where appropriate improve, the quality of town assets and services for our citizens.  I will respect the trust you place in me to lead our town.  If also re-elected to the Board of Education, I will continue to collaborate with the other eight members of the board to make the best decisions we can for the public education our students deserve. 

I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail.

Sincerely,

Martha H. Shoemaker,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Democratic-endorsed candidate for Old Lyme First Selectwoman and also one of the four Democratic-endorsed candidates for the Region 18 Board of Education, on which she currently serves.

Letter to the Editor: Thank You To All The Storm Volunteers

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to Everyone Who Volunteered to Help in the Aftermath of Hurricane Henri

Thank you, and many of your family members, for your rapid and generous offers to volunteer as needed to support our beautiful town due to Storm Henri.

I am so pleased that we did not have to activate volunteer support in Old Lyme, but I am again acutely aware of why Old Lyme is the best small town in CT, because of our people.

The volunteer effort is what allows Emergency Operations to focus on keeping us all safe.  Mission accomplished.
Sincerely,
Mary Jo Nosal,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Old Lyme Selectwoman.

Letter to the Editor: Motion Failed at Old Lyme Town Meeting Due to Absence of Supporting Information from First Selectman, Salient Point for Upcoming Election

To the Editor:

As a voting resident in the Town of Old Lyme, I attended the Special Town Meeting on August 16th in the Town Hall, which was only held in person.  The purpose of the meeting was to vote on the appropriation of money for four items totaling $197,000. In the past, I was always asked to verify that I was a property owner or eligible to vote prior to the meeting.  No such verification was held at this meeting where less than 20 people were in attendance.  I only knew about the meeting because Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal highlighted to First Selectman Tim Griswold at a Board of Selectman’s meeting two weeks prior, that proper support and information for the requests needed to be clear to the public.  Nevertheless, no handouts or information of any kind was shared with the public.

Thankfully, David Roberge, the Fire Marshal, was able to provide substantial information on the funds for Covid-19 and Storm Isaias responses, much of which will be reimbursed by the federal government.  Phil Parcak, Facilities Manager, was also helpful in providing detailed information regarding the construction of a new scale house building.  All three of these motions passed. Sadly, Tim Griswold was unable to provide information about the $42,000 expenditure for Police/Ranger overtime and as a result, this motion failed.  When a Board of Finance member in attendance was asked what happens now, his reply was, “I don’t know, this has never happened before!”

The people of Old Lyme deserve better.  We need strong leadership, not incompetence, especially when it comes to our precious tax dollars.  I hope the voters will remember that on November 2!

Sincerely,

Kathleen Tracy,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is running as the Democratic-endorsed candidate for the position of Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate in the upcoming November election.

Letter to the Editor: Recognize the Past, Look to the Future; CT House, Senate Have Both Now Passed Resolution on Racism, Why Hasn’t Old Lyme BOS?

To the Editor:

The Witness Stones project, which was dedicated last week on the library grounds, demonstrates that Old Lyme residents recognize a non-revisionist view of an unfortunate part of our town’s history.

We should place a capstone on that project, and publicly acknowledge that, in Old Lyme, all residents may avail themselves of the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race, color, or creed. Aren’t these our values? Note that Connecticut did block the importation of slaves in 1774, and began a gradual emancipation in 1784.

That said, we call upon the BOS to take one additional symbolic step and finally support the Resolution that’s been on the table for the past few months.

Also note that, earlier this month, both CT’s House and Senate affirmed racism as a public health crisis, and resolved to convene a panel to study the effect of racism on health care.

Paraphrasing, the past need not always be a prologue to the future.

Respectfully submitted.

Sincerely,

Christina J. & Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: 50-Year Resident of Old Lyme Says Town Does Not Need Another Gas Station/Convenience Store

To the Editor:
I have lived in Old Lyme for almost 50 years and raised my family here. People love Old Lyme because it is a beautiful, peaceful and non-commercial community. Old Lyme has intentionally sought to keep our community distanced from unnecessary development.  Our Main Street is a beautiful example of that. Old Lyme would not let a McDonalds be located here, and Dunkin Donuts was eventually allowed in, but with no signage.
1.  We do not have any need for a new gas station or a convenience store.  We already have that on Halls Road. Furthermore, this proposed development would put two local people at risk of going out of business.
2. We do not want to make Halls Road a pass through for traffic from 95 which would include the inevitable large, noisy and polluting 18-wheel vehicles.
3. The Halls Road Improvement Committee is working hard to develop a plan to beautify Halls Road.  Another gas station and convenience store would be in direct opposition to that intent.
4.  Why would Old Lyme compromise its values for corporate gain?
It is my hope that LymeLine will join with others in opposing this absurd project that would only compromise the visions of an intentionally non-commercial small town.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Mary Devins,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Turnout for LOL School Budget May Have Been Low, But Canceling In-Person Voting is Start of ‘Slippery Slope’

To the Editor:

We applaud the overwhelming support for the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools proposed 2021-22 budget at the May 4th referendum. Unfortunately, turnout was only about 5 percent.

We realize that there was some expectation of both approval and low turnout; and, as such, at least one elected official recommended that the in-person vote be canceled, and just allow the BOE to approve the school budget.

Doing so creates a very “slippery slope”, whereupon we have set a precedent that enables future cancellation of referenda when “we all know what the outcome will be, anyways”.

We are in an era of American history when well-meaning politicians are implementing some “Orwellian” changes in voter rules and procedures in an effort to improve voter “integrity”, a problem that doesn’t really seem to exist in the United States as a whole, and was largely disproven, after the 2016 election, via numerous recounts; and repeated decisions in the courts. Even the threat to “release the Kraken” had no impact.

Like beauty, voter fraud exists only in the eye of the beholder, which, in this case, was the losing political party, who has not yet put the specious issue behind them.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka,
Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Resolution on Racism Does Not Say Old Lyme is Racist; Approval Will Enable Town to Focus on Process, Not Apportion Blame

To the Editor:

Although I am the current chair of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee, I write today regarding the Resolution on Racism as a Public Health Crisis as a resident.

The resolution reflects the growing body of academic work that confirms that centuries of racism in the US has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. COVID-19 and police brutality, both of which disproportionately affect people of color, have spurred a recent movement to address racism as a public health crisis.

This belief, racism as a public health crisis, was recently supported by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.]  Their statement said “To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to racial and ethnic health inequities.”

The resolution in no way condemns the Town of Old Lyme or its residents.  No one of us caused these uneven living conditions and opportunities for health, but we are all responsible and must act if we want our communities to achieve their potential.

The resolution is an important first step – it would allow us to focus on the process and not blame any individuals.  Briefly, the resolution as originally presented, suggests that Old Lyme try to:

  • enhance diversity through leadership, staffing and contracting
  • promote equity through policy
  • improve the quality of data collected
  • advocate locally and work with other partners to support relevant policies to improve health in communities of color and confront racism
  • support the efforts of others in the community to do the same
  • identify goals and objectives to assess progress and identify opportunities to advance racial equity.

After one of her constituent Zoom meetings was disrupted with racist remarks, Jahana Hayes, congressional representative for the CT 5th District said “The only way we can cut the cancer of racism out of our community is by calling it out when we see it and raising our collective voices to get rid of it.  In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing.”  

I’d like to see the Board of Selectmen and the people of Old Lyme do something.  I ask the Board of Selectmen to pass the resolution.

Sincerely,

Christine Gianquinto,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Region#18 BOE Seeks Community’s Help in Finding Ways to Thank Lyme-Old Lyme Staff for Remarkable Efforts in Extraordinary Year

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Lyme-Old Lyme Community

The sights and sounds of springtime are in the air and with those come thoughts of the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. As we look toward the end of this historic year, the Region #18 Board of Education asks your assistance in thanking our school staff for everything they have done this school year.  

Lyme-Old Lyme is unique for having offered full in-person instruction for the entire school year. This is nothing short of amazing and deserves our recognition and thanks. Therefore, we plan to recognize our staff for their commitment to making this year so successful. In this effort, we would like the community’s assistance.  

We are asking for donations that we can provide to our staff to show appreciation. We are not looking for monetary donations but instead are looking for opportunities within our community that will help our staff relax and recharge for another successful school year. These donations will be given to the staff at our annual end of the year banquet, which will be held outdoors this year in a COVID-safe environment.

If you own a business, or work in a business that may be willing to help, or just want to show your appreciation, please consider some of the following donation ideas.

  • Gift cards/certificates to restaurants, gyms, spas, recreational activities, hair salons, barbers, nail salons, etc.
  • Tickets to special events
  • Exercise or sporting equipment
  • Car services
  • Home services
  • Babysitting services

Donations can be sent to or dropped off at the Board of Education, ℅ Michelle Dean, Center School, 49 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371.  

All donations are welcomed, no matter the size. Of most importance is the community’s thanks and appreciation for our staff who have provided our children with a sense of normalcy in what was a year like no other.

Sincerely,

The Region #18 Board of Education
Diane Linderman, Chair, Old Lyme
Rick Goulding, Old Lyme
Stacey Leonardo, Lyme
Jennifer Miller, Old Lyme
Mary Powell St. Louis, Lyme
Martha Shoemaker, Old Lyme
Suzanne Thompson, Old Lyme
Jean Wilczynski, Old Lyme
Steven Wilson, Old Lyme

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Gas Station/Convenience Market on Halls Rd. Raises Many Concerns

To the Editor:

Re: Proposed Service Station Complex on Halls Rd.

We recently learned that Big Y Foods, Inc. is planning to develop the open parcel of land that lies between Treasures and the Essex Savings Bank on Halls Road into a large gas station and convenience market complex.

The open parcel, which is owned by the bank, is contiguous with another bank-owned parcel that fronts on Neck Rd. (Rte. 156). Both are for sale and, if linked, would provide access and egress on two of Old Lyme’s (already) busiest thoroughfares. The Halls Road “raceway” already connects, in less than three quarters of a mile, two busy entrance/exits to I-95 North and South. Old Lyme’s roads are already burdened by cars, trucks, and buses seeking alternate routes, when backups occur on the interstate,

I have been involved in the past in drafting certificates of need applications for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. I know that we took great care to demonstrate that a proposed expansion of service was unique and not redundant of other readily available and existing services.

I don’t believe that the approving process for this project is required to consider redundancies. However, that said, Halls Road already has a Shell gas station, which, coincidentally, had also proposed a convenience store expansion.

Further, both Andy’s Deli & Market, and the Big Y World Class Market, already serve different segments of Old Lyme residents and visitors shopping for groceries and prepared foods. Thus, Old Lyme is already well-served by two high quality organizations.

We patronize both, and interestingly, for the same reasons. We are known, by name, in both stores; and both provide us with the feel of a small-town local market.

However, the difference is that the supermarket’s customer base will not be largely compromised by the new convenience market.

In contrast, I know that Amish and Neha Shah, Andys’ owners, feel that the proposed facility would compete with their customer base, and probably, as part of a much larger organization, offer broader products and services at lower prices than they, as sole proprietors, can provide. They are very concerned that their small market and relatively small margins, could not sustain any significant new competition.

Further, I don’t think, based on the meetings that I’ve attended, that this proposed gas station and convenience market complex can possibly be consistent with the master plan that is still in development by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee. Finally, we don’t need to put existing local businesses at risk by approving redundant services; and Halls Road’s ability to support increased traffic from I-95 is very limited.

Sincerely,

Thomas D. and Christina J. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Make Increased Voter Access Permanent in Connecticut

To the Editor:

I am old enough to remember when voting was considered to be a patriotic duty.

Voting by mail in Connecticut will not continue unless we make it so.

Among the many lessons of the COVID pandemic, we have learned that the State of Connecticut is one of only 6 states in the country with no access to either early in-person voting days or to “no excuse” mail-in voting. When given the option to mail in our ballots in November 2020 due to COVID-19, the turnout for eligible Connecticut voters increased to 80%, a 3.5% increase from the high turnout in 2016.

I was thrilled to have an option besides standing in line on Election Day. I, for one, would like to see this increased voter access continue.

Our society has changed. We work long hours. We have long commutes. We have to contend with childcare and eldercare. Throw in an occasional blizzard, power outage, or pandemic, and continuing to have access to alternative voting methods just makes sense.

The Connecticut State Constitution currently does not allow for anything but in-person Election Day voting, and absentee ballots only under strict conditions. There is legislation being proposed this session in the Connecticut General Assembly to amend this, or at the very least, extend the option of “no excuse” mail-in ballots for another calendar year.

Lyme and Old Lyme residents, I urge you to reach out to your state Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) representatives, House Member Devon Carney (who represents Lyme and Old Lyme), State Senator Paul Formica (for the Town of Old Lyme), and State Senator Norm Needleman (for the Town of Lyme).  (Their respective contact information is given below.) Encourage them to permanently increase our access to the polls in as many ways as possible!  We deserve nothing less.

Sincerely,

Susan Fogliano,
Old Lyme.

Contact information for the CGA representatives is as follows:
State Rep. Devin Carney: Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov
State Senator Paul Formica: Paul.Formica@cga.ct.gov
State Senator Norm Needleman: Norm.Needleman@cga.ct.gov