January 21, 2021

Winter Sports Start in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools with Practices, Games Begin Feb. 8

Basketball practices start today for both the boys’ and girls’ squads at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

LYME/OLD LYME — Not only do Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools reopen today after the Martin Luther King Day holiday, but the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) winter high school sports season also starts.

This latter situation became possible after the CIAC Board of Control approved the CIAC Winter Sports Plan at a meeting last Thursday, Jan. 14, which allows students to start practicing (CIAC) winter sports of basketball, fencing, gymnastics and ice hockey Jan. 19 and to commence competition, Feb. 8.

In the same way as the fall season, the winter sports plan will be shorter and stay closer to home since, again, there will be no state tournaments, which can cause teams to travel all over the state. There will, however, be an equivalent of  the Shoreline Conference Tournament for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools held March 15-28. Not all member schools will necessarily compete, however, as the CIAC has permitted the final decision regarding whether to participate in winter sports to be made at school level.

The winter season is scheduled to run through March 28 and, at this point, the spring sports season is planned to start March 29.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained exclusively to LymeLine that the plan for LOL Schools winter sports season is that, “All sports [which include basketball, fencing, gymnastics and ice hockey] except wrestling and indoor track,” will start practicing today. The CIAC has deemed wrestling a high-risk activity meaning, it, “does not recommend any activities beyond small group conditioning and non-contact skill building for the duration of the winter season.”

Although indoor track has been categorized as a “moderate and lower risk sports,” and can therefore start practices today, Neviaser states, “We are working to find ways to have indoor track outside so we may be able to hold competitions that way.” The CIAC is not allowing indoor track meets until March at the earliest.

Masks will be required at all times by athletes, coaches, game personnel and officials, but Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will not be allowing spectators at any games or sporting events.

Asked to comment on the overall CIAC’s Winter Sports Plan, Neviaser said by email, “The lack of virus transmission during fall sports supports the CIAC’s current position,” adding, “We are glad to see our students once again having the opportunity to exercise and compete against their peers at other schools.”

He noted in conclusion, “Unfortunately, we cannot have fans but will live stream as many games as we can.” LymeLine will publish details of all games, which are being live-streamed, as soon as they are available.

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Christmas Tree Pick-up in Old Lyme Continues in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Public Works Department will pick up Christmas trees in Old Lyme from Tuesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 22.

If you would like the Town to pick up your tree, you are requested to have it curbside by 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

There will be no return trips for curbside pick-up.

 

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Ledge Light Announces COVID Vaccine Registration Options for Individuals Age 75 & Over

Photo by CDC on Unsplash.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED JAN. 15 (see text in red below): On Thursday, Jan. 14, the State of Connecticut opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals aged 75 and older.

Individuals aged 75 and older who wish to be vaccinated can register for a vaccination through a number of channels:

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge contacted us this morning to emphasize that the easiest way for people aged 75 and over is to register for the vaccine via the LLHD website. Anyone registering this way should then expect to receive two emails after registering, one from the Connecticut Department of Health and the second from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Roberge also stressed that people in this age group, who do not have access to a computer, should use the phone number given above to register.

He added that relatives, friends and neighbors of persons aged 75 and over could be very helpful in checking that the person [aged 75 and over] has successfully registered for the vaccine by any method.

In addition to these methods, some individuals may be contacted by their healthcare provider to schedule a vaccination, if their provider is participating in the vaccination program. 

All vaccinations are offered by appointment; people must first register through one of the systems listed above to secure an appointment. Vaccine supply remains limited and patience is requested. 

Although the availability of vaccine will help reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 long term, it is only one of the tools that we have in our toolbox to fight this pandemic; it is an imperative that everyone remain diligent and continue to practice social distancing and appropriate mask protocols.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is committed to assuring that all individuals have access to vaccinations as they become eligible, and as vaccine is available.

While LLHD is one of the vaccination providers, LLHD does not make decisions about who is eligible for vaccinations. Ledge Light Health District staff are monitoring information regarding vaccine eligibility as it is released by the State of Connecticut.

The State has indicated that certain frontline essential workers as well as individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and those individuals ages 16 to 64 who have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk will become eligible in the coming weeks.

Visit the LLHD’s website and social media pages frequently for up-to-date information.

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Two New Shows on View at Lyme Art Association: ‘First Impressions’ & ‘New Elected Artists’

‘September’s Sunflowers’ is one of the features works in the New Elected Artists Show opening at the Lyme Art Association, Jan. 15.

OLD LYME — On Friday, Jan. 15, two new shows open at the Lyme Art Association (LAA).

The First Impressions Exhibition is a juried exhibition of the Association’s Associate Artist members, accomplished artists who have been successfully exhibiting in selective shows at the Lyme Art Association for a number of years. This exhibit will include a variety of media and themes: landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture.

The New Elected Artists show in the Goodman Gallery will present work from four new Elected Artists. This year the Elected Artists welcome Michael Centrella, Jacqueline Jones, Susan Termyn, and Len Swec into this most selective and talented group of artists. Both exhibits run through March 11, 2021.

 

‘Foxglove’ by Betsy Barry is one of the featured works in the ‘First Impressions’ exhibition opening Jan. 15, at the LAA

“The Annual Associate Artists Exhibition highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” notes Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager.

She adds, “The New Elected Artists show in the Goodman Gallery promises to be impressive; our new class of Elected Artists is very accomplished.”

First Impressions and New Elected Artists are on view through March 11, 2021. Visitors to the LAA are asked to wear a face covering when visiting and practice social distancing.

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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‘The Country School’ Hosts Virtual Open House, Jan. 25

Learning about how the molecular world works in the face of an invisible crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic currently being experienced, 8th Grader, Caleb Butler of Westbrook, who attends The Country School, loads a gel with his PCR product prior to electrophoresis. The Country School hosts a Virtual Open House, Jan. 25.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

Hear from the admission team, current parents, students, faculty and administration.

Learn about the school’s admission process; rigorous academic program; Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

Register for the Open House at this link. You will be sent the Zoom link for the event after registering.

For more information about The Country School, visit www.thecountryschool.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Patience, Kindness of Old Lyme Postmaster, All OL Postal Workers Much Appreciated

To the Editor:

Only Kindness Matters” a popular song by Jewel, is the modus operandi of Jim Swimmer, our Postmaster of the Old Lyme Post Office. Over the years, I have witnessed his patient, kind, and personal attention as a problem solver, or just as a helpful Human Being.

December was a burdensome month for all forms of delivery due to the pandemic. There were often lineups of customers at the post office mailing packages to family and friends. Kudos to all the Old Lyme Postal Workers who handled the stream of objects coming to their counters – the packages piled up high behind the counters, which had to be sorted and started on to the next transit. Every worker was courteous and patient, and I’m sure were working many more than 8 hours a day behind the scenes to keep it all moving.

Folks complained about packages that were not delivered or received in the time expected. Even Priority Mail packages and Express Mail packages were delayed. I observed and heard about several instances of parcels that were sometimes routed to the wrong post office on the way to final destination. Through it all, Patience and Kindness to all customers seemed to be the rule at the Old Lyme Post Office. Thank You to all our Postal Workers!

Sincerely,

Patricia Shippee,
Old Lyme.

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Gardening Tips for January by The English Lady: New Year, New Chapter, New Opportunities

Paper-white narcissi have a beautiful fragrance. Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash.

Happy New Year everyone!

Recently on Dec. 21,  we experienced the Winter Solstice and turned the corner so that with each day, we move gradually from the dark into the light to a longer, brighter day.

A few weeks ago, I planted my Paper-white Narcissus on pebbles, with just enough pebbles to anchor the bulbs in place or you may use potting soil. I use tall glass vases and it is most important keep the pebbles moist with enough water to cover the bottom of each bulb.

I brought my Rosemary plant indoors in September, Rosemary are not hardy outdoors in our zone six and. I spray the plant twice weekly with water and run a cold-water humidifier and two germ guardian air cleaners with UV lights for personal health and the health of my plants.  

After planting the Paper White Narcissus, I placed them in a dark cool closet until the foliage is about four inches tall. Today I moved them from the dark closet to a cool room with indirect light and where the temperature remains at about 65 degrees. When the buds are almost ready to open, I will place them in a brighter area to be enjoyed, not only for their bloom but also the heady fragrance. which permeates the house.   

The new bloom gets me out of the winter doldrums, which is particularly heavy this year with the pandemic, and anything I can do to lift my spirits is welcome. I know that the severe changes that are occurring with global warming combined with pollution in the air, water and the earth, are severely damaging our planet and I know this year, our new government will begin in earnest to heal our planet for ourselves and the future for our children.    

Your personal contribution to saving our planet is to organically tend the soil with compost, manure and natural brown mulch, which builds the humus component in your soil. Your plants and vegetables will thrive, as will you.  Throughout the year allow your garden to anchor you, connecting heart, body, mind and spirit to Mother Nature’s lifegiving bountiful gifts and spiritual energy.  

The harsh winds of January and February extract moisture from trees and shrubs, especially the evergreens. Winter winds are more harmful to plants than cold temperatures, not only causing plant breakage but also soil erosion. For that reason, it’s helpful to have a few bags of topsoil and mulch in the garage. With these items on hand, any roots can be covered when they become exposed by wind or frost heave. 

Roots exposed to the elements for any length of time can kill the plant, so when you notice exposed roots quickly cover exposed areas with soil and mulch. When spring arrives, and the earth warms up, the plant can be resettled in place together with composted manure and the natural brown mulch to provide protection and nutrition.

On a sunny day in January, take a walk round the garden to breathe in the fresh air and as you walk, make some notes and decide what worked for you last year and what you will never try again. 

Later when back indoors, sitting in your armchair, browse through the catalogues that began arriving a few months ago. You have already begun making lists of plants that you are thinking of buying. However, a word of caution when gazing at the photos, which are meant to tempt you with their lovely but “doctored up” pictures of plants that you feel certain will make your garden sensational this year.   

Don’t be fooled, instead try to make 2021 the year for realistic and organized change. Please do not allow your imagination to go haywire and be caught up in the fantasy of the brightly colored, high maintenance garden pictures shown in the catalogues.  Suit your garden to your lifestyle that will work within your time frame and physical abilities.  If you follow that construct, you will have the time to sit, relax and smell the roses, without being overwhelmed or disappointed.    

As you sit and plan for the coming season, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. It’s hard to believe as you look outside at the uninspiring landscape that in a few months, early spring sunshine and pleasant breezes will warm the soil. When the soil is dry enough to tread on, winter debris may carefully be cleared away. Then with a clean palette you can add that lovely layer of manure and compost (the ratio being three parts manure to onepart compost).

Following those tasks, I find it personally satisfying to make a clean edge on the borders, this simple task makes such a difference to the look of any garden.  With all that prep done, April showers will arrive, the sun shines and you are ready for the fun stuff, the placing and planting!  

For those of you who are vegetable gardeners and look forward to a bountiful year with fruits and vegetables and with rain, extra irrigation and sunshine to produce this delicious bounty. As we advance into spring, we can expect the invasion of the good and bad insects, moles, voles and other critters, which can be dealt with naturally.

Your memory of your garden from last season may be lost in the enthusiasm of a new season, so I am asking you to be kind to yourself, for last year you became overwhelmed with too much gardening, and not enough time to relax and smell the roses. 

Here are some suggestions you might follow to avoid that problem:

  • Send some of your borders back to grass.
  • Make some of the high maintenance perennial borders, into mixed shrub borders. To accomplish this, take out some of the high maintenance perennials and donate them to a worthy cause.
  • Plant small and medium size evergreen shrubs; some green, some blue and some of the lovely evergreen gold variety, amongst the perennials.  To these, add small flowering deciduous trees and shrubs that will begin flowering in April and successively through June. The Carlesii viburnum, also known as Korean Spice is a favorite small shrub of mine, with its white buds that open to a pale pink and that has the most delightful fragrance.
  • Add a Ben Franklin tree with its white cup like blooms and gold center that flowers in August through September.
  • Nestle three Blue Mist shrubs in the mixed border; this plant will delight with purple blooms and fragrant leaves into September.
  • On a fence or trellis, plant white autumn clematis.
  • Add a groundcover as an evergreen framework – my favorite is Myrtle with its glossy leaves and miniature blue flowers that emerge in April.

Do garden fairies live here? Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash.

It is never too soon to introduce your children and grandchildren to the wonders of the garden and as an extra enticement, introduce them to the garden fairies.  Through the years I asked children to draw a picture of the garden fairy and make a list of questions to ask the fairies who live in the wild patch.  We all have a wild patch in the garden; and at this point you are probably saying, “Maureen, my garden is one large ‘wild patch’.

In the interim, the children became so excited and enthused about their lists and pictures of the fairies, for what you have shown them is the transformation of science into magic. These days we seem to have forgotten about fairy tales, dreams and magic; it’s way past time to bring those wonderful energies back into our lives and into the lives of our children.  

In spring and on into summer I would find my children or their friends impatiently checking the garden wanting to see their planting efforts come into bloom. In the vegetable garden they gathered to check what was ready to eat from the produce they had planted.  I have found that this introduction to the garden has inspired these children to enthusiastically plant and tend gardens of their own as adults. 

My son Ian is a great example of this as he has partnered with me through the years in the garden – and thus the old adage that ‘the student is better than the teacher’ has certainly proved to be correct. Ian is a designer par excellence and I invite you to check his website LandscapesbyIan.com and his Facebook page for lovely examples of his work. 

In my March gardening tips, I’ll offer you some suggestions of ornamental trees, shrubs and long blooming perennials. With that list in hand, it is preferable to obtain your plants from local garden centers that carry tried and true plants that will flourish in zone six.   

On the other hand, if you feel that over the years, you have been throwing good money after bad in your garden and despair when you feel that your garden never looks right, get in touch with a landscape company (like my son’s!) who will keep your budget in mind whether you want to do your own work, or wish for a design to install yourself.  

On the other hand, when you are planning your garden for this coming season there are important facts to keep in mind:  

  • What are the plants requirements for sun, shade, soil, and water?
  • Will they survive in this zone, Zone 6?
  • What are the growth patterns of the plants?  Do they grow fast or slow?

Rhododendron Catawbiense is a stunning addition to any garden.

You do not want a 50 ft. tree up against the house with tremendous roots that will play havoc with your house foundation.  Or do you want that lovely but very large, Catawbiense Rhododendron, all 10 ft. of it, climbing through your dining room window in five years? 

To find those facts, either check the plants in a book, on the Internet or read the labels attached to the plants in the nursery. 

Check every aspect of the plant before you buy.  The red or green Lace leaf Japanese maple looks lovely in spring but is it something you can enjoy, without its leaves in the winter?  Personally, I not only enjoy the foliage of plants and trees but also the shape and bark of trees without foliage in winter.  

For those of you just beginning a garden, let us be honest and dispense with the myth that gardening is a relaxing hobby. At the end of that first day of digging, lugging soil, manure and fertilizer, and planting everything at the proper depth; you will feel that you are going to keel over.  

Then you remember that you still need to water the newly-installed plants as you drag your tired body to switch on the hose. Thank goodness, the mulching can wait until tomorrow or next weekend, right? Right!   

Watering by the way can be meditative. Imagine that the hose is your umbilical cord so that as you nourish the earth and the plants, the earth can nourish you. 

By now the sun has gone down, and you trudge indoors muttering to yourself, “What the heck did I get myself into?”  To this comment I say, “You did not have to tackle all of the garden in one day”.  

In gardening, there is always tomorrow, or next week, and even though the label says to plant it by the end of May or June, believe me folks, a few weeks later does not matter, the garden will wait for you.  

You may be saying to yourself at this point, “Maureen are you trying to put us off gardening”? No folks, but I would remiss, as someone who has gardening in my blood (as well as manure) for over 400 years to tell you, however reluctantly, not only the pleasures, but some of the aches and pains.

The idea is not to bite off more than you can chew.  For first time gardeners, don’t scatter your energies all over the garden, tackle and complete one area at a time. That area should be priority one until it is complete.  

If you have a new home with no landscaping, some hardscape may be required.  Hardscape is walls, walkways, patios, ponds, decks and so on. The sound and look of a water feature in the garden is delightful, it need not be elaborate, a fountain is fine – the reflection of water is Mother Nature’s mirror.

If you are not able to do this construction yourself, get in touch with a landscape contractor now, so that a plan can be done now, installed and ready by spring.  I say to connect now as Ian tells me that many landscape products are short on supply this year.   

All of these endeavors mean you getting yourself in shape physically, so get off that couch, put away the catalogues and your plant lists, stretch, then wrap yourself up in warm gear and take that walk.   

As you walk, look at the trees in winter, the elegant shape of them, the lichen on the stonewalls, and the moss tucked in cracks and crevices.  Clear your mind and allow nature’s spirit to surround you.  As you walk, look at a garden or two in your neighborhood; gardens which you have admired when they were in bloom and see what they look like in winter.  

I remember one of my professors when I studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew saying, “In winter you can tell a really good landscape by its bones, without the flesh of flora and foliage.” In spring, get in touch with those neighbors whose gardens you admired and ask them some of the secrets of their garden. They will be happy to talk with you not only of their successes but their failures – true gardeners are realists when they speak about their gardens and love to share.  

Well everyone, I’ve given you plenty to think about right now so enjoy your daydreaming of the season to come and I’ll see you next month in your garden.

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones, pictured left, is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, ‘The English Lady Landscape and Home Company.’ Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.
Contact Maureen at maureenhaseleyjones@gmail.com

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Lyme-Old Lyme Boy Scouts Hold Christmas Tree Pickup Fundraiser, Trees Will Feed Hungry Goats

LYME-OLD LYME — This year local Lyme-Old Lyme Boy Scout Troop 26 is hosting an additional fundraiser.

For only $10, you can have your Christmas tree picked up, taken away, and fed to some very hungry goats this winter.

To ensure you do not miss out, text or call 8603338769 with your name and address and place the tree outside. The Scouts will then set up a time and pick up your tree with the payment

Reader’s support of your local Boy Scouts is appreciated. 

The funds raised help the boys go on camping trips, and buy much needed gear for the troop

 

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Legal News You Can Use: Understanding CT’s New Paid Family & Medical Leave Act

Happy New Year!  Welcome 2021! 

As Connecticut employers bid farewell to the year of “unprecedented times,” not so fast, I say.  This New Year ushers in a significant change in employment law for Connecticut employers of all sizes.  Connecticut has joined a handful of other states in creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) that drastically changes the landscape of family and medical leave in this state.

Prior to the enactment of the PFMLA, Connecticut state law (CT FMLA) required only employers with 75 or more employees to provide 16 weeks of family and medical leave, and the leave could be unpaid.  Similarly, under the Federal FMLA, employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide 12 weeks of leave, paid or unpaid.

For Connecticut employers, however, the PFMLA changes family and medical leave by:

  • eliminating the threshold of a minimum number of employees (75 down to 1);
  • mandating 12 weeks of leave (instead of 16);
  • expanding the range of circumstances for which an employee may take a leave; and
  • providing wage replacement for all employees who take leave.

The PFMLA essentially provides most Connecticut workers with access to paid leave life events previously covered under the current federal and state FMLAs, as well as the Connecticut Family Violence Leave Act (CT FVLA), such as to:

  • To address the worker’s own serious health concern;
  • To care for a child after birth, adoption or foster placement;
  • To provide care to a seriously ill or injured family member;
  • To address qualifying exigencies arising from the foreign deployment of related service-member;
  • To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor; or
  • To address certain matters relating to family violence.

Under the new PFMLA, not only larger employers, but now even small Connecticut employers (with at least one employee), are required to comply with the mandates of the PFMLA.  Of note, the PFMLA generally excludes federal employees, Connecticut and municipal employees who are members of unions, employees of local and regional boards of education, and non-public elementary and secondary school employees.

Aside from employees of excluded employers, all other employees in the State of Connecticut will entitled to paid leave under the PFMLA starting on Jan. 1, 2022. In fact, even those who are self-employed or sole proprietors are eligible to opt-in to the program in certain circumstances where they contribute a portion of their income to the state fund.

How Does the Paid Family Leave Program Work?

The PFMLA authorized and established a quasi-state agency, the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority (“CPLA”), to administer the PFMLA program and trust fund.  The PFMLA program will be funded by employees and voluntary self-enrolled participants through the collection of wage deductions, capped at 0.5% of wages, beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Payment of benefits to eligible employees will begin on Jan. 1, 2022.

The CPLA is the state-agency that will accepts applications for paid leave benefits, reviews those applications and if approved, administer benefits to eligible employees, those who are self-employed and sole proprietors. The CPLA is also responsible for collecting employee contributions and working with the Office of the Treasurer to properly invest and manage the contributions so that funds are available to pay benefits.

Employers must comply with the PFMLA by either using the state-run program administered by the CPLA or, the PFLMA provides employers with the option to apply to the CPLA for an exemption because the employer opts to provide the PFMLA benefit to their employees through an approved private program that provides all of the same rights, protections and benefits as the PFMLA (e.g. private insurance carriers such as long-term/short-term disability insurance carriers are providing private programs).

Note that an employer’s private plan must also comply with specific application requirements, including the requirement that a majority of the employer’s employees working in Connecticut vote in favor of the private plan. In the event that an employer receives an exemption and provides a private plan, the withholdings from employee paychecks are held by the employer, instead of the CPLA.

The first step for employers is to register their business with the CPLA (registration opened on November 1, 2020) and, if necessary, to apply for an exemption if providing the benefit through a private program.  Please note that third parties, such as payroll providers, may handle the application procedures with the CPLA and there are separate processes for these third parties when registering with the CPLA.

 Why is Jan. 1, 2021 Important to the PFMLA for Connecticut Employers?

When the law was enacted in June, 2019, the Connecticut legislature selected Jan. 1, 2021 as the commencement of the first “phase” of the program. Commencing with the first pay-period following Jan. 1, 2021, the mandatory payroll deductions from employee wages to fund the state program commence and employers not otherwise exempt must begin withholding the required amounts from employee wages and submitting the same to the CPLA.

During this first phase, the program is being seeded through these payroll deductions for one year; however, employees may not apply for benefits under the program until January 1, 2022.

 How Much Will Employees be Paid During PFMLA leave?

Under the PFMLA, an employee will receive a weekly benefit for the full 12 weeks of leave. An additional two weeks may be available for pregnancy-related issues.

If an employee’s weekly wages are less than or equal to the then-current Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40, the weekly benefit rate under the PFMLA will be 95 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage.  If an employee’s weekly wages exceed the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40, the weekly benefit rate will be 95 percent of the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40, plus 60 percent of the amount by which the employee’s average weekly wage exceeds the Connecticut minimum wage multiplied by 40. The benefit rate is capped at 60 times the Connecticut minimum wage.

Employers may supplement the paid leave benefits provided by the PFMLA, as long as the total amount received by an employee does not exceed 100 percent of their usual weekly wages.

What Should Employers Be Communicating to Employees Now?

At this time, employers should communicate with employees regarding the payroll deductions that begin Jan. 1, 2021, and regarding the benefits that will be available to them via the PFMLA as of January 1, 2022.  The CPLA provides a poster that may be displayed in your workplace and/or distributed to employees.

Employers and employees alike may refer to the CT Paid Leave Employee Factsheet or may contact Attorney Kristi Kelly at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law at kkelly@sswbgg.com or 800-499-0145 to obtain legal advice on this and other employment-related topics.

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Old Lyme Says Poignant Farewell to the ‘Ever Thoughtful’ Mervin F. Roberts (Neel Roberts)

The firetruck bearing the coffin of Mervin F. Roberts begins its journey to the Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

OLD LYME — Mervin F. Roberts, 98, of Old Lyme, who passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 was laid to rest in a poignant graveside ceremony held Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme.

The Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD), of which Mr. Roberts had been Chaplain for 50 years, played an integral role in the ceremony, transporting Mr. Roberts’s coffin down Lyme Street with an honor guard in front and a procession of firetrucks behind.

The procession of firetrucks passes the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

This was the eulogy read by Mervin Roberts’s daughter, Martha Delana McNair, at the graveside service for Mr. Roberts. It was written Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Chiang Rai, Thailand, by Mr. Roberts’s son Neel Roberts, who has been with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) since 1987. Neel Roberts was unable to attend the ceremony in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Donations in Mr. Roberts’s honor can be made to OMF at this link. Neel’s wife, Chalor, works with the tribal Shan community in Mae Sai, Northern Thailand, where they cross over from Myanmar, often destitute after losing their farm and water buffalo to the Burmese military. Chalor uses donations to provide scholarships the children need to enroll in public school. She helps them register for school and buy books and uniforms, while taking nothing for herself since she is supported along with Neel by the OMF.

The firetruck bearing the coffin travels down Lyme Street. Photo by Gerry Graves.

I will not try to summarize an active life of 98 years in 10 minutes. Mervin Francis Roberts, whom I will call Dad for convenience sake, wrote several memoirs for family and friends. If you have come to the funeral, you probably already have a copy or can borrow a copy from someone who has one or two.

The earliest known quote attributable to my dad was, “I’m not Mervin, I’m obnoxious.” When he got older he claimed, “I am all charm.” Strictly speaking both statements demanded some poetic license.

He, like most people was multifaceted. He memorized the periodic table when it only had about 100 elements. In his 90s he could look at a stone or piece of porcelain or a fuel additive or solvent for glue and describe its qualities based on the molecular structure of its parts. This was a man who could count fish and differentiate what species they were as they poured out of the water-cooling discharge pipes at the Connecticut Yankee power plant. As an engineer / naturalist / scientist he was a stickler for details. When it came to personal history, he was a bit of an un-licensed poet.

He was an only child, but he grew up surrounded by cousins whose families were a major part of his life until the very end. He lived on the outskirts of New York City and later spent a fair bit of time under the city when he was chief ceramic inspector for the Port of New York Authority while the Holland Tunnel was being dug.

Alfred University was the university of choice for him. His father’s choice. Evidently, his father made the right choice for him. He learned much about ceramics and the care of horses, and while there he found his future wife, Edith May Foster. It seems that she was not as certain as he was about whether he was Mr. Right but he staked his claim by buying an army surplus jeep for $50 and parking it in front of her parents’ house and thus persuaded the other suitor that she was already claimed.

Together they established a home where love and respect reigned for 60 happy years of marriage. In her old age he would often buy her chocolates. My dad did not spare the rod, but I only saw him fly off the handle once. I once made the mistake of using the words mom and dumb in the same sentence. Very big mistake. Lesson learned.

A smiling Mervin F. Roberts of Old Lyme is pictured here Oct. 31, 2020 at his home in Old Lyme.

Dad was the most unsentimental person I have ever known. Therefore, I hesitate to use the word love in sentences like, “He loved the ocean.” He very much enjoyed the ocean and was especially attracted to those places where the ocean met the land. He was very interested in all the life forms that were to be found along the shore and especially in the marshes. So it was natural that when career choices allowed him to choose a place to call home, Old Lyme became the place. He spent nearly 60 years here. Old Lyme was the perfect setting for him.

It was not only that it was surrounded by water. It was also full of people who had time for people. I almost started to write about his friends and neighbors but realized that would be redundant. He made neighbors into friends. On some occasions he helped them to deal with snapping turtles that were laying eggs in their back yards. On other occasions he blessed them with his home-made snapping turtle stew. The friendships were mutual. When the family that had received the stew moved away 2 years later, they returned the stew to him in its original container.

He placed a high value on volunteerism. At the start of World War II, he volunteered for the Navy and as a reward picked up some friends for life. Years later he became a volunteer fireman and again gained lifelong friends.

For over 50 years he was the chaplain in the Old Lyme Fire Department. For the first 20 or more of those years, he was often one of the first responders, driving one of the trucks and blowing the horn if he passed our house for the benefit of his son, our brother, Billy. If you want to know how to volunteer, you should go up and ask a fireman today. Dad would certainly appreciate that.

Dad was not a politician, nor did he have much interest in politics. He had a great interest in the well-being of the town and therefore gave much time to both appointed and elected roles.

Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) Chaplain Mervin Roberts pictured in his OLFD uniform at home in May 2020.

One of his big causes was sewer avoidance.

When he was 91, he was sounding a bit discouraged in his crusade to have each householder take responsibility for his own ground water. I told him that at his age he could pass the baton on to someone else. Seven years later, a few months before his death he was still fighting the good fight for sewer avoidance and Connecticut River oysters that would be safe to eat. So he didn’t take my advice but I am proud of him for the fact.

I should note here that he stuck with the various boards and committees in large part because he had friends who were equally concerned in the community. It was part of his core philosophy which I think he picked up from reading about Ancient Athens: that the well-being of a community is the responsibility of its citizens.

It is to be hoped that at this memorial service this sense of responsibility will not become a mere passing note but might be imparted in fuller measure to all who wish to honor his memory.

He wrote many books about pets and never grew attached to any particular snake, turtle, ferret, lovebird, gerbil or guppy. His key to success in writing and making the photographs for these books was that he showed respect for the experts. Those who knew more than he did would be given due credit in his books and therefore they not only freely shared their own hard-earned knowledge, but also made lasting relation with him as well.

As an author, whether of “The Tidemarsh Guide to Fishes” or of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper regarding some inane behavior of a bureaucrat in a corner office, he never shot from the hip. He thought, wrote a draft, corrected the draft and then always handed it to someone else to check the grammar, content and tone of voice. The final products showed his confidence in his statements precisely because he valued the input of others. On the other hand in a normal conversation where differences of opinion appeared, he might close with “bunkum”, or “you’re all wet” but he never said that until he had given the other party time to express their opinions.

Old Lyme Fire Department Chaplain Mervin Roberts reads what turned out to be his final Homily at the 2020 Memorial Day Service held in Duck River Cemetery.

While Dad was not sentimental, he did love people very intentionally. I never saw him shed a tear. He may have, but I never saw one. Love was a conscious decision and required much thought. And he was ever thoughtful.

In his later years he was involved in charitable activities in India and South America. Here he combined his scientific knowledge with his people skills. His background was aquaculture – the art of raising fish for food. But in some cases, he realized that the expressed need was not the real need. He would take time, days in reading the technical literature, days in contacting experts in other places, days in travel. He knew that a problem like hunger or poverty could not be solved by simply throwing money at it.

One of the last projects he was involved with began as a fish project but in the end, it was changed into a goat project because he as the fish expert, after careful study, came to realize that goats and not fish would help the people of that particular community in Southern India. Even here he did not simply recommend goats. He invested much time in learning how families in that community functioned, what laws existed about grazing animals, and how to address communal issues that delayed the original success of the project.

It was not enough that something had been done for the poor. He stuck with the people who were promoting the project until it became clear that the real people in need were the ones benefiting from it.

Dad had a sense of humor. Growing up in New England I never experienced an earthquake until one day in my teens the windows began to rattle. I rushed downstairs only to discover that my dad was watching a Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie on TV and was laughing so hard that the house shook. He didn’t tell jokes about in-laws but it was not infrequent that he would hear a good joke at the barber shop and come home to make a long-distance call to one of his brothers-in-law so that they could hear it too.

Dad was definitely an evolutionist. His ways of expressing his theology or views about God evolved too. We strongly suspect they have evolved considerably more over the past few days than in all his previous 98 years.

There were however a few core principles in his theology that went back to his college days when he joined the church in Alfred. One was that through prayer the peace of God would guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I was on several occasions amazed when tragedies struck that he appeared unshaken. He was not unfeeling. He did feel pain but it did not cause him to forget that others needed his strength and clear headedness in the crisis. His heart was guarded. His actions proved that his mind was on how he might help others, be they family, neighbors or even strangers in their times of need.

The second principle which was merely another aspect of the first was expressed at our dinner table several thousand times in prayer. He would often end a mealtime prayer with this phrase, ‘help us to be mindful of the needs of others, around this table, around Old Lyme and around the world.’

It was a prayer that he saw answered in his own life on countless occasions and I believe we are all the beneficiaries of that prayer.

The Old Lyme Fire Department formed an honor guard at the head of the funeral cortege. Photo by A firetruck proudly flying the Stars and Stripes in Mr. Roberts’s honor stands at the entrance to Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

This is Mr. Roberts’s official obituary:

With his wife, the former Edith May Foster, Mervin Francis Roberts first came to Old Lyme in 1960. He and Edith May became active in church, government, fire department and town life.

Merv was born in New York City in 1922. He was a Naval Officer during WWII. He served in the Navy for four years, and then in the Reserve. He was awarded 4 campaign medals, two with Combat Stars. After his service, he returned to complete a degree in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.  He served as a Merchant Marine Officer, Scout Master and Commissioner, Town Shellfish Commissioner, Water Pollution Control Commissioner, Sunday School teacher, Counselor to the Governor of Connecticut for Marine Resources, Selectman of the Town of Old Lyme, Chaplain of the Fire Department and Justice of the Peace. He also was a Consultant of Aquaculture, worldwide, and a Counselor to two bishops in South India, concerning animal husbandry for women to alleviate poverty. For years he was the Tender of the Gate at the Old Lyme Cemetery. He was awarded Town of Old Lyme Citizen of the Year, and American Man of Science, American Legion’s Legionnaire of the Year, 2015-6. He was a teacher and lecturer, gunsmith, inventor, pioneer photographer of high-speed animal movement, waterman, duck hunter, and last but not least, he got his haircut at Seckla’s Old Lyme Barbershop.

Merv wrote 50 books and pamphlets on pets, natural history, and animal husbandry. 

He and Edith raised 6 children: Edith Ann Main, Robin Frances Roberts, Martha Delana McNair, Nancy Jean Briggs, Neel Foster Roberts, and William John Roberts. He is survived by a multitude of beloved nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

In his words, “Don’t mourn my death but rather celebrate my life for surely I’m glad to have been around.” 1997.

The firetruck bearing the coffin enters Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold gave the following tribute to Mr. Roberts exclusively to LymeLine.com:

With the passing of Merv Roberts, Old Lyme has lost one of its most remarkable citizens. He was a Town Citizen of the Year, a Town Selectman, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department and active in so many other ways.

As his body became more frail, I think his mind became sharper. Just last September, Merv, as a Shellfish Commissioner, wrote a letter to the National Railroad Corp. asking whether any toxic ingredients would be used in the concrete, paint or steel used to build the new railroad bridge over the Connecticut River.  Not bad for a 98-year-old.”

We shall miss his interesting speeches at the Memorial Day Parade observances. I feel privileged to have known Merv and thank him for all he did for Old Lyme.

Mervin Roberts (first from right) attended the funerals of the children murdered Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.

Michele Dickey of Old Lyme, who was in the same grade as Mr. Roberts’s daughter Martha through their time together at Old Lyme Schools until they graduated together in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 1970, sent us these personal recollections of the graveside ceremony for Mr. Roberts:

I attended with my husband, Mike; we were joined first by our daughter, then my cousin-in-law, Dorie Smith, who is a friend of Edie’s, and her daughter, Meghan. We were joined for a while by friend Diane Losea Roeder, another classmate of Martha’s and mine, who came down from Northampton, Mass.

Mike noticed the wide range of people in attendance: lots of young people and lots of oldsters as well, many using  canes and walkers or requiring some assistance, even elderly fire fighters on the arms of friends. 

A firetruck proudly flying the Stars and Stripes in Mr. Roberts’s honor stands at the entrance to Duck River Cemetery. Photo by Gregg Jacobson.

 It was significant that a ladder truck with a huge American flag suspended from its raised ladder was outside the gate of Duck River Cemetery, where Merv acted as “gatekeeper” for many years and has since passed the torch to son-in-law, Ken Main. (Should you ever get locked in after dark, as we did just last week, don’t worry—the gate is held closed by a bungee cord, not a chain and padlock.)

Shortly after we gathered at the grave site, a color guard entered, followed by family members in front of the fire truck bearing Merv’s coffin. The rest of the Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) marched behind.

After the coffin had been taken off the truck and situated, contrary to the details in the program, military honors took place immediately by a Navy color guard: rifle shots, taps, the removal and folding of the flag draping the coffin and presenting it to the family.

Following this was a sweet young girl’s rendition of “The Sailor’s Hymn”; the program attributed this simply to Elle, of Duck River Lane.

Martha McNair read a long eulogy for her father written by brother Neel Roberts, a missionary in Thailand whom the pandemic prevented from attending. This eulogy was so complete! Informative, poignant, funny at times. Unless you were an immediate family member, you probably learned something about Merv when you heard this.

And when the fire whistle rang in the middle, Martha stopped reading to ask, with a little laugh,  “Does anyone have to leave?” No one did, which was surprising because the town’s whole force seemed to be there paying their respects.

We heard later that a truck each from Lyme and East Lyme took part as well.

Robin Ritze, Merv’s granddaughter and daughter of Edie Main, sang “Amazing Grace” and was joined by many present, whether we were supposed to sing along or not.

Skip Beebe of the OLFD next offered, “Reflections on a Life Well Lived.”

All present were asked to join next in the reciting of Psalm 23.

This moving, hour-long service concluded , as would the service of any firefighter, with the ringing of the bells. Skip explained that firefighters are called to a fire by the ringing of a bell, and when all is over, the bell is rung again to signify that the emergency is over.

Therefore, at the conclusion of Merv Roberts’ funeral, the OLFD bell was rung three times to indicate that a job well done [Mr. Roberts’s life] is now completed.

At the cemetery. Photo by Gerry Graves.

Olwen Logan, publisher of LymeLine.com, commented:

I feel so privileged to have known Mr. Roberts. Both “a scholar and a gentleman,” he was an extraordinary man and such a mine of information. He wrote several op-ed’s for LymeLine and was never hesitant to give his opinions on a wide range of topics. Mr. Roberts led a truly amazing life and wrote many books. He gave me an autographed copy of ‘The Tidemarsh Guide to Fishes’ and it is one of my most treasured possessions to this day.

Michele Dickey wrote a wonderful article about Mr. Roberts in May of last year in which he reflected on his 50 years service as Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department. We also published an article including a video of Mr. Roberts reading his final Memorial Day Homily aloud.

Finally, through a recent fortuitous series of events, LymeLine.com helped connect a boat named the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ with the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) in Kittery Point, Maine. The President of the WILSSA, Sam Reid, came to Old Lyme to meet in person with Mr. Roberts. The boat has now been transported to Maine to be restored in the WILSSA Maritime Museum and we know Mr. Roberts was very happy with that outcome.

A fundraising campaign is underway locally to assist with the expense of moving the boat. Read our article covering the whole story of the boat, why it is so named, and why it is such an important find for the WILSSA at this link.

The flag flies at half-mast in Duck River Cemetery in honor of Mervin F. Roberts, a scholar and a gentleman. RIP, Mr. Roberts.

 

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Kristi Kelly of Old Lyme Named a Director of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys

Attorney Kristi D. Kelly of Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law has announced that Attorney Kristi D. Kelly of Old Lyme has been named a Director of the Firm, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Roger T. Scully, III, of East Lyme was also named a Director in the same announcement.

“We congratulate our new Directors on this well-deserved professional achievement,” said Robert G. Tukey, Managing Director of Suisman Shapiro. “Hard work and dedication deserve recognition; both Kristi and Roger have demonstrated commitment and leadership within the firm and throughout the eastern Connecticut community.”

Atty. Kelly focuses her practice on labor, employment, and municipal law, as well as assisting veterans in their claims for VA disability benefits.

She regularly advises and represents numerous public and private clients in all areas of state and federal labor and employment law, including, for example, collective bargaining, internal investigations, discipline, grievances, and arbitration. Other areas include prohibited practice charges, family and medical leave compliance, discrimination and harassment claims, compliance and violations of state and federal wage and hour laws, and wrongful termination matters.

Atty. Kelly is the 2020 Recipient of The Honorable Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Service Award presented by the Connecticut Bar Association in recognition of those who tirelessly fight for fundamental fairness, championing the legal rights of the poor and accused, and who consistently go beyond the “call of duty” and inspire others to do the same.

She serves as President of Higher Edge, Inc., a non-profit organization providing college access services to low-income and/or first-generation college students.

Atty. Scully’s practice focuses on civil litigation with a concentration in personal injury law. He also represents individuals and businesses in a variety of complex legal matters. Since 2018, Attorney Scully has been named to the Connecticut and New England Super Lawyers lists as a Rising Star.

He has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report‘s Best Lawyers in America – Ones to Watch for 2021. Attorney Scully serves on the Connecticut Bar Association’s 2020-2021 Board of Governors representing District No. 16. He is also a board member for the New London County Bar Association.

Suisman Shapiro is the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut, providing residents and businesses along the coast from New Haven to Providence with a full range of legal services. The firm was established more than 75 years ago and is firmly rooted in the community.

Editor’s Note:

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Senior Moments: A New Year’s Message from our California Correspondent

John Guy LaPlante

Happy New Year, my Friends!

Yes, I’m late, I know. Good intentions sometimes go wrong.  But still I want to wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous and satisfying New Year!

For more than 99 percent of you this is already 2021, though a tiny number of you are living in far-off lands on a different time clock.

As always, I’ve made my New Year’s resolutions and that’s always a great start.

Sadly 2020 has been an awful year, as we all know. The Covid-19 pandemic has been killing so many and making so many others so terribly ill.

And what a severe impact it has had on business, putting so many people out of work, making it difficult to buy food, pay the electric and water bill or put gas in the car, or make routine payments for the rent or the mortgage or insurance policies of various kinds and so, so many other things. 

And think of all the people who usually travel near and far to spend time with their loved ones. Very difficult this year. For some, impossible.

But my younger son, Mark, a professor of finance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, made it here to Morro Bay [on the Californian coast] to spend a week with me. He managed that by flying first class, which he normally does not do. He thought there would be more empty seats up there. And he was right.

And think of the difficulty of students from grade school all the way up through graduate school continuing their education because of social distancing imperatives and so forth.

Plus so many other difficulties that do not come readily to mind.

So right now wishing somebody a Happy New Year is really a tough order.

But things are brightening up.

We will very soon have a new president and vice-president …

And out of the blue, so to say, we have had the incredibly good news that we have at least three new vaccines that have proven to be effective! And have been approved! And will begin helping people not many months from now but probably as soon as late spring or so!

Notice those three exclamation marks? They deserve to be there!

This afternoon I stopped by my neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacy and asked the head pharmacist, “When do you think we’ll be getting the vaccine?”

“We’ve been told by late March!”

I considered that very good news.

And soon our Treasury in Washington will be doling out more money to help people get by.   

All which will make the near future easier for life to get back to normal for just about all of us. All things really worth celebrating. I doubt anybody would deny that 

Speaking for myself, I have been most fortunate. Less than a year ago I was living in an assisted living community. A very nice one. But I definitely wanted out because I no longer needed that. 

I wanted  to live a normal life again on my own. And I was judged able to do that. Which  I yearned to do. What a happy day!

And as we know, the news has been full about how Covid-19 has severely affected the life of people in such facilities. So many residents have died as a result. 

And people still living there are going through hell because of new rules imposed to keep them safe. 

Now think about this. Just before moving into that nice place, I was hospitalized with a case of double pneumonia.

And that awful diagnosis plus my very old age made it a nearly sure thing that I would become infected.

But I have been tested and found to be negative. How about that?

Which is very ironic. Because my older son, Athur, age 63, a lawyer, came down with the virus and was hospitalized. As was his wife Marita, a super-duper intensive-care R.N., though more lightly.  

But it will be weeks before they will be able to get back to work.

So again the nasty question comes up.  Why did these two hard workers, whose calling is to help people, become infected, but I, so much older and 99 percent retired, was spared?  Well, anyway so far.

The further good news is that nobody else in my family, who span three generations, has been affected medically or economically. That’s really worth celebrating

In just a few months I will be starting my 93rd year on this earth. And I am still living by myself on my own. But with my loving daughter Monique and son-in-law David living nearby. How fortunate I am!

So let us hope that at the end of this brand-new year of 2021, life will be back to normal for New Year 2022! 

Oh, I want you to know that wherever you are, I’m thinking of you, cheering for you, and hoping that for New Year 2022 all kinds of good things will be coming your way.  And even sooner, I hope.

Editor’s Note: John Guy LaPlante is a veteran writer and journalist, who prior to his move to Morro Bay, Calif., lived in Deep River, Conn. His award-winning columns and articles were previously published in the ‘Main Street News’. He is the author of two books, “Around the World at 75. Alone! Dammit!” and “Asia in 80 Days. Oops, 83! Dammit!” He completed his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine in early 2010 after a 27-month tour of duty. He was the oldest Peace Corps Volunteer ever to serve. John always welcomes comments on his articles. Email him at johnguylaplante@yahoo.com

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Letter From Paris: After 47 Years, UK Leaves EU with ‘Thin’ Post-Brexit Deal

Nicole Prévost Logan

After 47 years of co-habitation, the UK has left the European Union (EU) with a “thin” post-Brexit deal.

An end-of-year need for holiday food delicacies, such as caviar, lobster or foie gras, panic about running short of fresh produce — such as lettuce, combined with the Covid-19 procedure slowing down the traffic, caused spectacular chaos with thousands of trucks lining up on highways or parked in Kent’s makeshift areas.

It was a sort of a preview of what a no-deal Brexit would bring.

The atmosphere in the country was unreal.

On Christmas Eve at four in the afternoon, the news broke: The UK and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on a narrow trade deal.  There will not be a “hard Brexit” as everybody had feared, with a brutal departure of the British Isles from the continent.  The two sides will remain friends and look forward to building up a commercial partnership and intensifying cooperation in transport, security, police, nuclear power, research and many other areas.

An 11th hour agreement

Reaching an agreement was quite an accomplishment. As late as Dec. 20, the mood was grim on both sides of the English Channel. On that date I wrote an article, entitled: “Betting on a “thin” Brexit deal”.

As follows, is part of my article:

Time is running out.  The transition period, which followed the departure of the UK from the EU on Jan. 31, 2020, is ending on Dec. 31.  If the two sides – UK and EU – do not reach an agreement by then, the “hard Brexit” will feel like falling off a cliff. The alternative is a “soft” Brexit.

On Dec. 13, 2019 , UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a successful campaign, the problem is that he based that campaign on three fateful words: “Get Brexit done”  He locked himself in an impasse,  making it hard for him to negotiate further.  He is under pressure from all sides to satisfy the hard-Brexiter Tories, the business circles rejecting Brexit for fear of a tariff war and  public opinion increasingly against a departure from the EU.   

The impossibility to bridge the positions from both sides of the Channel is clear:  the differences are more than deep. They are existential.  

For the British, sovereignty is paramount and the constraints of the Single Market unacceptable. The EU lies on the principles of the “Schengen Space”, consisting of free movement of people, capital, goods and services. Those principles constitute the main asset of the Single Market and are sacred, declared Christine Okrent, a French seasoned journalist and an authority on foreign affairs.

One should not forget that the UK has never been part of the Schengen “Space” nor of the Eurozone.

“Zanny” Minton  Beddoes, editor-in-chief of the Economist describes the negotiators as “playing on their voters’ audiences”.  It may be true in England, but definitely not in the EU. The EU is not budging from its core proposals, and its 27 members remain totally united. It would be miscalculation on Johnson’s part to count on the EU backing down.  

A hard Brexit would be a lose-lose proposition, but the UK would be more affected. Half its trading activities are with Europe, its economy is intertwined with Europe’s, as Beddoes pointed out. In contrast, Brexit has ceased to be a priority for the EU, commented Christine Okrent

In an interview, Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the EU, declared that a nine month transition was too short. Most trading agreements take at least five years. He said: “Two prerequisites are needed: a free and fair competition (no “Singapore on the Thames”) and a reciprocal access to markets and waters.” 

I predict – and am going out on a limb now – that enough concessions will take place on both sides to reach a “thin” deal (to use Beddoes’ words ) allowing  the negotiations to continue after Dec. 31.  More time is needed to create a tailor-made arrangement to satisfy the UK and help it access the Customs Union or the European Economic Area (EEA), like Norway.  

Those were my predictions on Dec. 20.

The British Union Jack flag flies alongside the EU flag … but not for much longer. Photo by Rocco Dipoppa on Unsplash.

Back to Dec. 24, when the post-Brexit “deal'” was reached. What was fascinating on that historical day, was to hear, in real time, the comments coming from all sides of the political spectrum as well as reactions from the general public.

Johnson was exultant, raising his arms in a victory gesture. The trilingual Ursula von der Leyen , president of the European Commission was the one to announce (in excellent French) that, “a good, fair, and well balanced” deal has been reached.  Towering over her Michel  Barnier added his voice to the official announcement.  It was thanks to his fairness and persistence, that he made the deal happen.

Declaring, “We have kept our promise,” Johnson continued, “We have taken back the control of our economy. Freed from the EU Single Market bureaucracy, we can act very fast. The rapid vaccination program is an illustration of this. Our relationship with the EU will be comparable to the one between Canada and the EU (CETA).”

This is not exactly accurate however because CETA makes it easier to export both and goods and services, whereas the post-Brexit deal does not include the suppression of tariffs on services. The most important thing for Johnson was to say, “I have done it”.  He did succeed unlike other prime ministers – Thatcher, Major, Cameron and May – who failed in their attempts.

Denis MacShane, a Member of Parliament (MP), Minister of State for Europe under Tony Blair, and formerly a member of the Labor party said the population had had enough and wanted to turn the page of the Brexit.

A professor of the French School of Political Sciences was lukewarm about the deal.  The accord does not warrant taking the champagne out to celebrate, he said.  To lose one member of the EU is a loss, a form of “disintegration”

Reuters press agency announced that the British Parliament was expected to approve the deal. Both Houses will be recalled to vote on the decision on Dec. 30.  Johnson has a comfortable majority of 364 out of 650 in the House of Commons.  Many of the 200 Labor MPs will vote in favor of the agreement since they supported the post-Brexit trade deal from the beginning.

The European Parliament will make its decision known in 2021. The agreement text will have to be translated into 23 languages before being approved by the 27 EU member states.

As a 1,246-page agreement, it will take a while to fully comprehend the complex and lengthy text.

Professor Anand Menon, director of “The UK in a Changing World” Think Tank, commented that the lifting of tariffs and quotas will favor the EU since it is where it has a surplus. France has a surplus of 12 billion in her trade balance with the UK. The biggest amount is food products. 150,00 French companies export them to the UK.  Furthermore 80 percent of food and wine transit through France to reach Great Britain.

Quotas and tariffs will not be imposed on products. However, custom and various administrative formalities and procedures at the borders might become cumbersome for both sides. Times will be difficult in the short term for British companies and a cost of 4 percent of the GDP  is expected.

However, from now on the UK will be free to reach bilateral agreements with outside countries, such as New Zealand for the import of meat.

Tariffs will remain on the services . With the post-Brexit deal, the UK becomes a third country in regards to the EU,  80 percent of its economy is immaterial and tied to services and therefore not part of this post-Brexit deal. In order to exercise its financial activities  and access to the Single Market or the Customs Union, the  “passporting” (meaning selling financial services freely) will no longer be an option unless the UK joins the EEA, as Norway has done.

The main sticky point will be to preserve the level playing field and guarantee fair competition on both sides of the Channel.. This will be resolved by the principle of “managed divergence” the parties reserving the right to retaliate.  In other words any hope of creating a “Singapore on Tames “will be under strict scrutiny by the EU.

Dominic Raab, acabinet minister and conservative MP declared that the provisions included in the agreement  are not the end of the story. The “deal” is a living document that will need to be revisited in the future. The rules will  evolve.

As an example, a system has been put in place to settle litigations and will be re-examined in four years. Next February there will be more rules. Raab added that for the next five or six years, the UK will be working on re-establishing new ties with Europe.

On a positive note for Johnson: the UK will not be bound by judgments made by the European Court of Justice

The Irish border

The Irish premier Micheal Martin approved the fact that a hard border between the two Irelands was avoided ; The Common Travel Area with Great Britain will be maintained ; the deal preserves Ireland’s position in the Single Market, he said, it will avoid quotas and tariffs imposed on farmers, businesses and exporters.

Varadkar, another Irish politician seems also satisfied with the deal. Northern Ireland will remain effectively in the EU Single Market. Custom checks will take place in the Irish Sea instead of on land. Sea.

Still unknown but likely to emerge soon  is the question of Scotland. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon lashed out at the agreement within minutes.  In 2016, 62 percent of Scottish people voted to remain in Europe.  The Flag of Scotland still flew above the Parliament.  Scotland will probably not wait for the spring to organize another referendum.

Fishing rights

A commercial fishing boat comes into port. Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

Johnson declared, “We have regained the control of our waters.  Although it represents a minute part of the GDP of both sides , this issue occupied a major place in the negotiations because it is essentially the symbol of the British sovereignty.  Barnier knows a lot of about fishing rights.  He was minister of Agriculture and Fishing from 2007 to 2009.

There will be “fishing committees” enforcing control. Johnson demanded that 80 percent of the proceeds from the fishing industry be returned to the UK. He achieved 25 percent, during a transition period of five and a half years.  He will grant 100 millions of UK pounds sterling to help the fishermen.

The fish catch by the Europeans last year was worth 650 million Euros last year. The British waters are richer in fish population than the European waters. The Brits don’t eat much fish. They sell back most of their catch to the EU. During his speech Johnson was wearing a tie covered with fish.

The devil is in the details and annoying changes are going to take place. There will be no more mutual recognition of professional qualifications. British doctors, architects, veterinarians, engineers will have to seek new certification.

Freedom of movement will disappear, and a visa will have to be obtained for a stay longer than 90 days. An EU pet passport will cease to be valid.

The Erasmus student exchange program will not include the UK any more. Instead of a fee of 170 Euros paid to  European universities, foreign students studying in the UK will be charged tens of thousands pounds. To work in England, a permit will be required. In other words a post-Brexit deal will not be “business as usual.”  There will be many changes.

On the last day of 2020, Sky News announced that Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, was asking for French nationality.  He is French on his wife’s side and very much a Europhile. In a book coming out later in January, author Christian de Bourbon-Parme has written a biography of Boris Johnson.

Surprisingly, we learn that his name was not Boris but Alexander, that he lived in Belgium when his father was working for the European Commission in 1973. In the book, Johnson is depicted as a person full of humanity. He always loved Europe and was very attached to it — but not the EU.

In spite of of the enthusiastic attitude of the British Prime Minister, the mood was rather somber on both sides of the Channel.

Michel Barnier commented ” There was no winner in this deal. We all lost,” while Ursula von der Leyen added a lyrical note, saying, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Acclaimed Singer Brian Cheney of Lyme Performs ‘A Century on Broadway’ with Pianist Cathy Venable; Free on YouTube

Brian Cheney of Lyme, Conn.

LYME — One hundred years, 11 decades, and over five hours of performing!

Those numbers represent the efforts of internationally-acclaimed crossover artist, Brian Cheney of Lyme and Broadway pianist, Cathy Venable of Tulsa, Okla., who, in a remarkable collaboration, have recorded an entire catalogue of a century of hits from musical theater.

The finished product, titled A Century On Broadway, is now available as a YouTube Playlist at this link.

Asked in an interview conducted electronically how the project came about, Cheney explained, “In the beginning of April I discovered a platform for artists to perform and broadcast from their homes. It’s called Stageit and it’s been ideal for me to use.” It’s a “Pay What You Can” site and I typically perform half-hour concert programs.”

He continued, “Since April, I have performed 25 individual programs ranging from opera, operetta and classical art song to Musical Theater and wonderful music from Movie Musicals. After my 10th program, I discovered a way for me to collaborate with one of my favorite artists.”

Cathy Venable of Tulsa, Okla.

Cheney went on to to say that the artist’s name is Cathy Venable and note that she is not only, “a Broadway pianist and conductor,” but also, “Someone I have performed concert programs with many times in the past.” Working together — but geographically separated — during the COVID-19 pandemic in their home studios respectively in Lyme, Conn., and Tulsa, Okla., Cheney and Venable determined to give the concept of a joint venture “a try.”

Their first performance was, in Cheney’s words, “A wonderful English Song Cycle by Ralph Vaughan Williams called “The Songs of Travel,” and from the moment that was completed, Cheney says enthusiastically, “We’ve never looked back!”

The critically acclaimed duo have now completed 11 segments of Broadway songs with each one spanning a decade from the 1910s through the 2010s. Each decade can be accessed separately on the YouTube link and each offers a variety of numbers — some well-known, others less so — from that decade.  View the full list of songs for each decade at this link.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the complete works are offered on YouTube at no charge. People can enjoy them as many times as they wish at no charge. Asked why he and Venable had made the decision to do that, Cheney responded, “Cathy and I realized that once we started performing different Musical Theater Decades programs that it would be a wonderful idea for us to look at an entire century of the evolution of the Broadway Musical. We premiered each program on Stageit to amazing audiences and some really fantastic industry people as well.”

Noting that, “In attendance were people like, Andy Einhorn (an incredible music director on Broadway) Ron Young (an original cast member for Hello Dolly) and many more, Cheney added, “We realized that we had something very special and so we decided to offer it for free on YouTube … it’s a wonderful retrospective of how the Broadway musical has evolved and changed over a century.

Described as a “crossover” artist, meaning he is “a student of style as well as having a very strong command of vocal technique,” Cheney can move effortlessly across different styles of music. He credits Jerry Hadley, whom he describes as, “my mentor and [a] legendary tenor,” with his own ability to move seamlessly between opera, Broadway musicals, and other musical genres.

Cheney, who moved with his family to Lyme in 2012, is sought-after opera singer both nationally and internationally. He has also immersed himself in the local community, directing musicals in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, singing regularly at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, and supporting numerous local non-profits including High Hopes with sold-out performances.

With The Daily Gazette saying, “Cheney’s voice was like spun gold,” KUSC Los Angeles stating that Cheney is, “The next great tenor,” and Broadway World commenting, “When Broadway opens again, there will surely be a spotlight begging for Brian Cheney,” it seems certain that A Century On Broadway will be a major success.

We heartily recommend readers to take this special opportunity to enjoy a real gift of music!

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Happy New Year!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash.

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2021.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

We thank you sincerely for your support through the challenging year of 2020 and look forward to continuing to serve you in what we hope is a far better 2021!

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Dec. 30 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases in Old Lyme Jump to 147, Lyme Holds at 41

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme.

The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Wednesday, Dec. 30, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Dec 29, shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past two weeks.

As of today’s report, six towns in the state — Canaan, Colebrook, Cornwall, Scotland, Union and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’ Woodbridge and Salisbury are the only towns in the state in the ‘Orange Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10-14.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all three cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 146 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one probable case, making a TOTAL of 147 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of SIX over the 140 confirmed cases reported Tuesday, Dec. 29, and a decrease of one (from two) in the number of probable cases reported the same day. 

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 3,793.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Dec. 28 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/06 through 12/19, Old Lyme had 18 cases in Week 1 and 9 in Week 2. This data was updated Dec. 24.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 26.2, reflecting a decrease from the previously reported two-week rate of 33. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 38 confirmed cases and three probable cases, making a total of 41 cases.

This represents no change in the number of confirmed or probable cases reported Tuesday, Dec. 29.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 944.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Dec. 28 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/06 through 12/19, Lyme had five cases in Week 1 and five in Week 2. This data was updated Dec. 24.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 30.6 reflecting a decrease from the previously reported two-week-rate of 33.6. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

***

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Thursday, Dec. 31.

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Death of Mervin Roberts Announced, “Old Lyme Has Lost One of its Most Remarkable Citizens” (T. Griswold)

A smiling Mervin F. Roberts is pictured here at his home in Old Lyme on Oct. 31 in Old Lyme. Mr. Roberts passed away Dec. 29, 2020. Photo by Sam Reid.

OLD LYME — It is with great sadness that we report the death in the early hours of Wednesday, Dec. 30, of Mervin F. Roberts, 98, of Old Lyme.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold commented exclusively to LymeLine.com on Mr. Roberts’s passing, saying, “With the passing of Merv Roberts, Old Lyme has lost one of its most remarkable citizens. He was a Town Citizen of the Year, a Town Selectman, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department and active in so many other ways.”

Old Lyme Fire Department (OLFD) Chaplain Mervin Roberts pictured in his OLFD uniform at his home in May 2020.

Griswold added, “As his body became more frail, I think his mind became sharper. Just last September, Merv, as a Shellfish Commissioner, wrote a letter to the National Railroad Corp. asking whether any toxic ingredients would be used in the concrete, paint or steel used to build the new railroad bridge over the Connecticut River.  Not bad for a 98-year-old.”

In conclusion, Griswold said, “We shall miss his interesting speeches at the Memorial Day Parade observances. I feel privileged to have known Merv and thank him for all he did for Old Lyme.”

Editor’s Note: I too am proud to have known Mr. Roberts. He was an extraordinary man and such a mine of information. He wrote several op-ed’s for LymeLine and was never hesitant to give his opinions on a wide range of topics. He led an amazing life and wrote several books. He gave me an autographed copy of one and it is one of my most treasured possessions to this day.

Michele Dickey wrote a wonderful article about Mr. Roberts in May of this year in which he reflected on his 50 years service as Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department. We also published an article including a video of Mr. Roberts reading his final Memorial Day Homily aloud.

Finally, through a recent fortuitous series of events, LymeLine helped connect a boat named the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ with the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) in Kittery Point, Maine. The President of the WILSSA, Sam Reid, came to Old Lyme to meet in person with Mr. Roberts. The boat has now been transported to Maine to be restored in the WILSSA Maritime Museum and Mr. Roberts was very happy with that outcome.

A fundraising campaign is underway locally to assist with the expense of moving the boat. Read our article covering the whole story of the boat, why it is so named, and why it is such an important find for the WILSSA at this link.

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Death of Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman Announced, Long Time Volunteer at Old Lyme’s White Elephant Sale

Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman

OLD LYME — Patricia Ayers Chase Saltsman, 83, died in Mystic CT on December 29, 2020. She was born November 29th 1937 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Campbell B. and Caroline Ayers Chase.

Patricia graduated from East Grand Rapids HS in Michigan, at the age of 16 in 1953. She earned her degree at Ohio Wesleyan University. After graduation she moved to Hartford Connecticut to attend graduate school at the University of Connecticut. 

She married Joseph Lawes (deceased in 1969) in 1963. Her only child Wendy Chase Myers Logan was born in 1964. Following her divorce in 1968, she met and married Robert G. Myers (deceased in 2005) in 1969 and moved to Haddam Neck CT. She worked for Region 13 and went back to earn her Certificate in Special Education. She was Pupil Personnel Director for 15 years.

In 1981 she divorced Robert G. Myers and moved to Wallingford CT. In 1988 she joined the Connecticut State Dept. of Education as a compliance officer for Special Education statewide. 

In October 1999 she and Charles M. Saltsman were married, after 12 years together. She worked and consulted with the state until at the request of her husband Charlie she took early retirement in 1998, so that they could travel together. 

Their travels took them to Egypt, New Zealand, Fiji, Europe, Vieques Island and on their boat around the waters of New England. They were together for 18 years before his death in 2005. In 2006 she moved to Maine to be with Barrie Hackett, along time friend and the true love of her life. They had only 3 years together but they were very happy years, mostly spent in Gray Maine, with one winter together in Englewood Florida. He sadly predeceased her in 2009. 

Patricia was an active member of her church most of her life. She was a lifelong volunteer and on the board of various charities, including Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids Michigan and Old Lyme Congregational Church as part of the white elephant committee and the LBS. She was an incredible flower arranger and avid gardener, which led her to be involved in the Garden Club in Old Lyme. Sailing was also a great joy and she was a member of both North Cove Yacht Club and Baldwin Yacht Club. She was closely connected with Camp Newaygo in Michigan, first as a camper then as a counselor. Several of her closest friends were from her early camp days. The skills, love of music and values she learned at Camp Newaygo were in integral part of who she was her whole life. 

She is survived by her daughter Wendy of Seattle WA and her son in law Sean Logan of Seattle WA, her grandsons Phillip Logan (Jillian) of Snoqualmie WA and Andrew Logan of Shoreline WA.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Patricia’s name to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371. To share a memory of Patricia or send a condolence to Wendy and her family please visit www.rwwfh.com . Arrangements are in the care of the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.

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Winners of Inaugural Old Lyme Holiday Home Decorating Contest Announced

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Kindness Committee held their first Holiday Home Decorating Contest during the month of December. The idea was brought to the committee by a resident as a way to spread joy in a socially-distanced way during a difficult holiday season.

“We were excited to have 21 homes sign up to participate,” said Michelle Noehren, chair of the committee. “We heard very positive feedback that residents enjoyed driving around town to see the displays, and then voting for their favorites.”

The winners of the contest were announced to day and are:

1st: Stephanie and Nicolas Evankow (26 Whippoorwill Road)

2nd: Gloria Dimon & Scott Courtemanche (4 Berberis Drive)

3rd: Mary Ellen Jewett (9 Grassy Hill Road) 

 “As a first responder Respiratory Therapist, I wanted to spread joy and create that inner child feeling of Christmas magic and hope, not only for myself, but for the community,” said Stephanie Evankow, first place winner.

“Words cannot express how thrilled we are to have won the first Holiday Home Decorating Contest in Old Lyme. A big thank you to those who visited our home and voted for us. I would like to thank my partner, Nicholas, who is a talented electrician and is the person responsible for making this year’s display possible and to continue to shine on without a glitch.”

Each winner will receive a certificate and a gift card from either The Hangry Goose, The Chocolate Shell, or The Bowerbird.

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Dan and Gail Stevens Receive Old Lyme’s December 2020 Kindness Award

Dan and Gail Stevens have been named as the recipients of December’s Old Lyme Kindness Award. Dan is pictured above with the award.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Kindness Committee has awarded this month’s Kindness Award to Dan and Gail Stevens, owners of Nightingale’s Acoustic Café on Lyme Street in Old Lyme.

Dan and Gail were nominated by a resident in recognition of everything they do to provide opportunities for young  people to express themselves through music. Their café, which is similar to an Open Mic coffee shop, empowers young people to develop the self-confidence they need to perform. 

Both Dan and Gail are constantly nurturing, encouraging, complimenting, and congratulating everyone who enjoys making music. They are consistently spreading kindness by providing a safe place for musically-inclined residents to be seen, heard, and supported.

“Gail and I are passionate about bringing live music to our local community and building a strong, local music scene that contributes to the spirit of this special place,” said Stevens. “Nothing gives us more pleasure than to provide opportunities for our talented young people to grow and experience the joy that music brings.”

If you would like to nominate someone for a Kindness Award, complete the form at this link.

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