December 15, 2018

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration, Jan 28 &29

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Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2018 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School

Children who will be five-years-old on or before Jan. 1, 2020 are eligible to register for Kindergarten for September 2019.

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones.

Please bring to registration your child’s

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization/Health Records
  • Three forms of proof of residency

If you cannot register on these days or would like additional information, call either school at these numbers to place your child’s name on the Kindergarten list and/or have your questions answered:

  • Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233
  • Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools look forward to welcoming your child.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Essays After Eighty’ & ‘A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety’ by Donald Hall

“I teeter when I walk, I no longer drive, I look out the windows … My circles narrow. Each season my balance gets worse, and I sometimes fall. My fingers are clumsy and slow with buttons. I have problems with memory, sure, but it’s short-term memory … My summer nights are NESN and the Boston Red Sox. I enjoy multiple naps.”  So did the New Hampshire poet Donald Hall define life after 80!

I know, I know … I’m about the same age.  I too enjoyed Sidney Bechet when I was younger (a famous New Orleans jazz hero for you younger lads and lasses).  I too listened to Robert Frost in person (he “said” his lines at my high school in 1950 and 1951).  And I too have tried my hand at poetry (the haiku).

Some years ago, I was advised that one should not read a book until one is the same age as when the author wrote it. I let that pass, but now, after becoming immersed in Hall’s two last books, I suspect the advice may be sanguine. But that doesn’t mean that my younger readers should avoid these two volumes. No, not al all …

In these brief, enjoyable, humorous, and always challenging essays (Hall writes that he decided at eighty to dispense with his renowned poetry, after he served as the United States Poet Laureate, shifting to the essay). He describes poems as “ . . . image-bursts from the brain-depths, words flavored by battery-long vowels” that challenge our brains and imaginations, “ . . . delicate rhythms with forceful enjambments and an assonance of dipthongs.” These essays, fortunately, are less poetic!

I enjoyed especially his warnings on writing: “Don’t begin paragraphs with ‘I’” (I failed that one!). “Avoid ‘me’ and ‘my’ when you can. . . . Avoid the personal pronoun when you can. . . . “ and “don’t be afraid of contradiction: it is the cellular structure of life. . . . The emotional intricacy and urgency of human life expresses itself most fiercely in contradiction”.

Death, of course, is on his mind. “There is only one road” and “Of course all of us will be forgotten” but these essays demonstrate a life lived to the fullest, with humor and good feeling for his years in New Hampshire.

Donald Hall died quietly in Wilmot, NH on June 23, 2018. Do read these brief, succinct and poetic essays: perfect for the aging mind, as well as for those advancing inexorably to old age. Enjoy every moment!

Editor’s Note: ‘Essays After Eighty,’ 2014, and ‘A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety,’ both by Donald Hall were published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New  York, respectively in 2014 and 2018.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His late wife, Ann, was also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visited every summer.

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A la Carte: From Lee With Love — Thanksgiving Recipes Galore!

Editor’s Note: We are running three of Lee White’s wonderful columns together today to give readers a chance to savor a selection of her wonderful Thanksgiving recipes in one place.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

For more years than I can remember, I have been writing about turkey at Thanksgiving. I get every food magazine every month and every single month, in October, a turkey is on the covers.

My mother never cooked a turkey. We had Thanksgiving at an aunt and uncle’s home in Kinderhook, New York. There was no gravy and no stuffing and the sweet potatoes were stuffed into oranges, which made the sweet potatoes taste like oranges. The first Thanksgiving with my husband and daughter was in Houston, and I ordered turkey and sides from a restaurant. The gravy was white. In following years I made turkey and sides it myself, sometimes on 20 or more friends and family. The first few times, I called the Butterball Hot Line for help.

Some years later I stopped using the throwaway aluminum pans and bought a $200 roasting pan, which I still use for every kind of roast I have ever made. It was one terrific buy. Over the years I brined turkey in a huge cooler. I bought organic turkeys. Last year I went to a friend who made a heritage turkey. I made all kinds of stuffing and once placed slices of bacon on top of the fowl. A few times I put buttered cheesecloth on the turkey. But these days I buy the least expensive turkey I can get and I buy it frozen. I make my stuffing the night before and put it in the refrigerator in an enormous plastic bag. The next morning I stuff as much dressing as possible into the thawed (but cold) turkey’s cavity. I put the rest in a casserole and when the roasted turkey come out of the oven, I add some juice to the casserole and bake it.

Forget all those other “new” ways to make turkey for Thanksgiving. Here is my favorite recipe. 

Turkey

1 14- to 16-pound turkey
salt
1 stick butter
½ (one-half) cup good white wine

Gravy

¼ (one-quarter) cup all-purpose flour
cold water
Gravy Master (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove giblets from turkey (I don’t use them; instead, I boiled them for the kitties, less bones). Rinse and dry turkey inside and out. Rub salt inside cavity of bird. Fill cavity with cold stuffing made the night before or early morning. Place bird in a rack (or upside glass pie pan) atop a large, heavy-duty roasting pan. Place in a 350-degree oven.

Add butter and wine in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Open oven, pour wine-butter over turkey and close oven. Every half hour baste liquid over turkey. Bake until turkey is done (when the thermometer plunged into the thickest part of the thigh registered 175 to 180 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes per pound if not stuffed or 12 to 15 minutes stuffed).

Turn off the oven, remove turkey from the oven, Place the turkey on a platter and spooned the Stuffing into a bowl; cover each with aluminum foil and return both to still-warm oven. (Extra stuffing can be heated in a casserole dish; it is not as tasty but if you spoon some juice on the dish before heating, it’s pretty good.)

Remove grease from roasting pan. and place the pan on the stove. Turn heat to medium. In a large jar, add all-purpose flour and about 2 cups of water. Screw jar cover and shake. When the brown bits are hot, add flour-water mixture and, over medium-high heat, whisk constantly. If you need more water, add some. Once the gravy is ready, add and stir in Gravy Master to taste (optional). Add salt and pepper to taste.

STUFFING AND SAUCE

Cranberry, grape and apple sauce.

This was a very busy but very pleasant week.

First was a lovely party for the retirement of Betty Anne Reiter at the Mystic Museum of Art. Betty Anne and I have worked together for quite a few years, she as librarian at the Groton Public Library, creating a couple of food series at the library. She and her staff made the series such fun that I hope we will do it every May.

Then there was cookbook time. Rose Levy Birnbaum, food writer extraordinaire, was on a book tour with her newest ???????? and we had a nice lunch at Olio before she and her assistant, Woody, went to their next signing and demo in Paramus, New Jersey. A few days later,, I went to RJ Julia in Madison to listen to Dorie Greenspan (who has a house on our shoreline), talk about her newest book, Everyday Dorie. I think this may be the best of her many best cookbooks and one of the best I have read by anyone in the last five years.

I had dinner that night with Madison friends at Elizabeth’s, a new one for me. The food was delicious, the service very professional and , service just  lovely.  If the chef will share a recipe with me, I will share the  house made gnocchi in a Gorgonzola cream sauce  topped with frizzled onions. Four of us shared that appetizers, and then we ordered another.

But I digress. I will have Thanksgiving with family in Newburyport and then drive back to Connecticut have another turkey dinner the next day in Durham. For the one with my family, I will make the turkey stuffing and a new side, so here is an old and a new; none is blue but one is borrowed.

Roasted Grape, Apple and Cranberry Sauce

From Cooking Light, November 2018
Serves 12

Cooking spray
2 cups seedless black grapes (about 10 ounces)
1 and three-quarter cups chopped Honeycrisp apple (or Gala or ????)
2 tablespoons chopped scallop
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 and one half tablespoons unsalted butter
3 and one-half teaspoons pure maple syrup
One-eighth teaspoon kosher salt
One-quarter teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with spray. Place grapes, apple and shallot on prepared baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add cranberries to baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees until cranberries burst, apple is tender and grape skins are beginning to burst, about 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in butter, maple syrup and salt. Cool completely, about one hour. Sprinkle with thyme, if desired.

Stuffing

I make the stuffing at least the day ahead,, because it should be cold when you put it in the turkey, which is also cold. This is probably more stuffing you will use. You can put the rest in a casserole and bake for Thanksgiving, or freeze it for another turkey or chicken dinner.

I large Pepperidge Farms herb-seasoned stuffing mix
6 to 8 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, minced
1 cup celery, minced
1 small can of diced mushrooms
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I chop it with my hands because I don’t want it chopped fine)
salt and pepper, to taste
Bell’s seasoning, to taste

Make Pepperidge Farms stuffing according to package instructions.

In a skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onions, celery, mushrooms and walnuts. Saute for about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and Bell’s seasoning to taste. Add to stuffing mix and stir. Refrigerate until cold (I often put the stuffing in a large plastic bag and put it in the porch, since I rarely have much space in my refrigerator.)

SPICE CAKE

Old-fashioned spice cake

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Pittsburgh to see my brother. Now, for those of you readers who are men, don’t send me letters and say I am not correct when I say that widows learn how to take care of themselves, but widowers are often reattached in weeks or months.

My sister-in-law died in March of 2018, the memorial service was in April and a few months ago my brother mentioned that he wanted me to meet Lois. As I walked down the Pittsburgh airline’s escalator, I saw them holding hands. And I am here to tell you that my brother has found, very simply, the nicest person I have ever met. In addition, she is around his age (he is 83) and they met playing duplicate bridge.

(There is that story, possibly apocryphal, about the fact that one of two duplicate bridge partners shot the other after a bad bid. My brother does take bridge that seriously, nor does Lois, but neither has a gun)

Anyway, I had a wonderful few days. One evening we had dinner at an inn where we shared oil-truffled French fries with a ramekin of srirachi. My entree was a small pork tenderloin with mashed potato side so delicious I had to ask what was in it: the sous chef said it was maple syrup and chipotle.

The second night, Lois’s three daughters and their husbands brought pot-luck to my brother’s house and called it a party. Lois’s daughters are as nice as she is, as are their husbands, although one of them showed me a picture of a 10-point buck he’d killed that afternoon.

Now I am home and the holidays have begun. For the past two columns, I gave you my recipes for turkey, gravy, stuffing and a new cranberry sauce. Although pies are de rigueur, why not make a lovely autumn cake and, if you have some extra, make a trifle? I will be driving to Newburyport, Mass., for the day, but feel free to e-mail me if you run into problems.

And my next column will include recipes for turkey leftovers.

Old Fashioned Spice Cake

Adapted from Linnea Rufo of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Yield: serves 10 to 12 people
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.

1 cup sugar
one-half cup (1 stick) butter
one-half cup currants or raisins or dried cherries (optional)
one-half cup candied ginger, chopped
2 eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
one-quarter teaspoon cloves
one-half teaspoon ginger
one-teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan, set on a rack, for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and spread on icing at once, while cake is still warm.

Espresso Icing

1 and one-half cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon of espresso (use a teaspoon or so of cold coffee)
1 tablespoon milk

Whisk icing ingredients together.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.

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OLD LYME DEFEAT IMMACULATE 2-1! State Soccer Champs for 4th Year in a Row

STATE CHAMPIONS 2018!  Photo by B. Butler Danes.

Things weren’t looking good for Old Lyme five minutes into their championship game against Immaculate when their opponent scored off a penalty.  But (Paul) Gleason’s girls aren’t ones for getting despondent or worse still, giving up. No, Mya Johnson went on to score her 100th and 101st girls to lead the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over their arch nemesis.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GIRLS, COACHES AND PARENTS!

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After Thursday’s Snow, Opening Reception for Cooley Gallery’s ‘Holiday Sale of Art in All Sizes’ Continues Today

Editor’s Note: We hear from our friends at The Cooley Gallery that they will be staying open tomorrow (Saturday) until 7 p.m. to welcome all the folk who were unable to attend their Opening Reception Thursday due to the inclement weather.

‘Winter Afternoon’ by Alfred T. Bricher (1837-1908) is featured in The Cooley Gallery Annual Holiday Sale opening Thursday.

The Cooley Gallery ‘s annual holiday sale featuring historic and contemporary art in all sizes opens with a celebration of the season on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., at 25 Lyme Street in Old Lyme. All are welcome.

In this holiday sale The Cooley Gallery will exhibit newly discovered paintings by Old Lyme colony artists Louis Cohen (1857-1915), William S. Robinson (1861-1945), Wilson Irvine (1869-1936), and Charles Ebert (1873-1959) and Connecticut artist Charles Foster (1850-1931) as well as exquisite watercolors and drawings by numerous Connecticut artists.

“The prices will be commensurate with the spirit of the season,” says Jeff Cooley, owner of the gallery. Also featured are colored woodcuts – as seen on the invitation, by Gertrude Nason (1890-1969), an accomplished painter and printmaker who lived in Greenwich Village and summered in Lyme.

A select group of contemporary artists will be included in the show.

Curly Lieber’s delicate and exquisite botanical drawings are among the highlights of The Cooley Gallery’s Holiday Show opening Thursday.

Botanical artist Curly Lieber has works in the exhibition, which also includes paintings of New York City by Michael Budden and Walter Rane, intimate still-lifes by realist Barbara Kacicek, abstract works by Helen Cantrell, and landscapes by Al Barker.

Small works by trompe l’oeil painter extraordinaire Michael Theise will be exhibited near the watercolor abstractions by Pat Smith among so many more.

The Cooley Gallery is proud to introduce the works of three new artists for the gallery: Jac Lahav, a figurative painter who will have a solo exhibition at The Florence Griswold Museum in 2019, Jeanine Pennell, a ceramic artist whose sympathetic characters are sure to delight, and Ed Bishop, whose hyper-realist paintings will please the most discerning art lover.

Don’t miss the The Cooley Gallery’s opening reception, Thursday, November 15th, from 5-7 p.m.; a great gathering to launch the holiday season. This exhibition runs through Jan. 6, 2019.

Located in the beautiful little village of Old Lyme, The Cooley Gallery is an ideal spot to enjoy among the best of American art while celebrating the season with a great New England tradition. 

Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists.

Gallery hours: Thursday through Saturday 12 – 5 and Sunday 12 – 4 or online anytime at www.cooleygallery.com

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Lyme, Old Lyme Town Halls Hosts Holiday Art Exhibit by Local Seniors

‘Dream Lilies’ by Jeri Baker is one of the featured works in the Lymes’ Senior Center Art Show at Old Lyme Town Hall.

Art groups from the Lymes’ Senior Center will hold their third annual exhibit of their work for sale in the Old Lyme Town Hall during
November and December. The participating artists have been taking art classes with Sharon Schmiedel. Paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces will be on display.

Additionally, two members of the Center’s community, Janet Cody and Peg Sheehan, will add a “Touch of Craft” with their work in traditional punch needle pieces and handmade jewelry of silver, gold and semi-precious and precious stones respectively.

Another member, Norma DeGrafft, will also display her scenic watercolors in the Lyme Town Hall.

A portion of any sale will be donated to the Lymes’ Senior Center. An opening reception for this show will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Old Lyme Town Hall. Light refreshments will be served.

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Letter to the Editor: Carney Consistently Demonstrates Commitment to Constituents

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Diane Mallory,
Old Lyme.

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

John Kiker,
Lyme.

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

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,

East Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently the State Representative for the 34th District and is now the endorsed Republican candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District.
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Old Lyme Zoning Approves Controversial HOPE Housing Project on Neck Rd. by 3-2 Vote

Zoning Commission members discuss the upcoming vote at Tuesday night’s meeting. Photos by Debra Joy.

By a vote of 3–2, the Old Lyme Zoning Commission Tuesday night approved the Neck Road affordable housing project known as River Oak Commons I and II.  Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Cable and commission members Gil Soucie and Alan Todd voted in favor of the proposal while commission members Jane Marsh and Paul Orzel voted against.

From left to right, Zoning Commission members Paul Orzel and Alan Todd discuss HOPE’s zoning application while Zoning Commission Alternate Harvey Gemme listens carefully.

Citing previous affordable-housing legal decisions as precedent, commission chair Jane Cable said that unless there is “hard evidence” that a proposed project is going to lead to a health and safety problem, the commission “cannot use opinion to bolster denial” of the project. “My feeling is the law requires us to approve [the project] unless there is hard evidence to deny.”

HOPE Executive Director Lauren Ashe (left) watches the proceedings at the meeting while HOPE board member Tom Ortoleva (right) and HOPE project attorney David Royston (second from right) check their phones.

Attorney for the Zoning Commission Matt Willis drafted two motions for this meeting:  one approving the project, and one denying it.  The motion to approve, which includes 17 conditions that must be met before construction may begin, was read aloud. Brief discussion followed, followed by the vote. The denying motion was not read aloud, Cable said, because the motion to approve passed.

Zoning Commission member Jane Marsh carefully studies a document during the hearing.

During the discussion, commission member Jane Marsh said, “I don’t think it’s the intention of the state legislature that we should rubber stamp” affordable housing projects. If that is the case, she asked, ‘Why are we even sitting here?’” Asked later whether public safety concerns voiced by citizens at numerous public hearings should have had some influence on the commission’s decision, Marsh said, “I believe we have a responsibility to consider the opinions” of the public. 

Old Lyme Zoning Commission Alternate Member Stacey Winchell (right) enjoys a lighter moment during the meeting.  Harvey Gemme sits to her left.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who attended the meeting, said she hopes that the town “can heal” now, after what has been a contentious time for the zoning commission and town leadership. She added that it’s been “hard to watch the process, but I appreciate the focus that the zoning commission has given this application.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Consider Pre-K Program Expansion, Offer Parent Survey to Facilitate Program Planning

Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools are considering an expansion of their current Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program to allow all age-eligible students in the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme to attend.  In an effort to prepare all students for Kindergarten, their tentative plan is to expand the current Pre-K offerings to all students in Lyme and Old Lyme and establish a universal Pre-K program based on Connecticut’s Early Learning and Developmental Standards. 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools also hope to entice non-residents to move to the district, or enroll their students on a tuition basis, to enjoy this added benefit.  This tentative plan would begin in the 2019-2020 school year. 

To assist in the planning process, LOL Schools are seeking reader’s input.  If you have a child that will be three- or four-years-old by Sept. 1, 2019, and are interested in your child being considered for this program, you are invited to complete this survey before Nov. 15, 2018.  Survey results will be used in both the Pre-K planning process, and to secure spots in this exciting new program.  

For more information, contact Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, at neviaseri@region18.org or 860-434-7238.

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RTP Estuary Center Presents Lecture on Environmental Protection in a ‘Climate of Change,’ Oct. 18

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is hosting a 2018 Fall Lecture Series, which opens this evening with a lecture on songbird migration. These lectures are free but seating is limited.

Details of the lectures and their locations are as follows:

North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring
Thursday, Oct. 4, 5 p.m.
Essex Meadows, Essex

Bruce Beehler, a research associate in the Division of Birds of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History will recount his 100-day journey in 2015 following the spring songbird migration from the coast of Texas, up the Mississippi, and then into the North American wood warblers’ breeding grounds in northern Ontario and the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  His presentation touches on wildlife, nature conservation, migration research, American history, and rural culture.
RSVP Here

Protecting Our Environment in a Climate of Change
Thursday, Oct. 18, 5 p.m.
Old Lyme Town Hall, Old Lyme

Connecticut and its residents have a strong history of support for protection and conservation of the environment. Our coastal and estuarine communities have a particular interest in policies and strategies to mitigate sea level rise, storm surge and protect wildlife habitats. Yet, budget constraints at the local level, state deficits, and rapidly changing federal policies with respect to standards, regulation, and enforcement, present challenges. Some states have chosen to maintain their own strict standards. What can a small state like Connecticut do? Our speaker, Commissioner Rob Klee of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will address the challenges that policy makers face and how we can be effective advocates.
RSVP Here

Journeys: Osprey and an Author, Rob Bierregaard
Thursday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.
Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme

Between 2000 and 2017 Rob Bierregaard and his colleagues placed GPS satellite transmitters on 47 adult and 61 juvenile Ospreys from South Carolina to the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland.  In 2013 a friend suggested that Rob write a book for children about his favorite Osprey. Five years later, Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight, a middle-school book, was published. Rob Bierregaard will highlight his findings from satellite tracking studies of Osprey migrations and describe his own journey as a first-time children’s book author.
Note: This is a family friendly lecture. We urge you to bring your children and grandchildren.
RSVP Here

To learn more about the lecture speakers, click here

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Op-Ed: HOPE Believes They Have Satisfied Questions Raised by Zoning Commission, Public

Editor’s Note: This op-ed was submitted by Lauren Ashe, Executive Director of the HOPE Partnership, Kristin Anderson, Development Manager of the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development, Inc., and Loni Willey, Executive Director of the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development, Inc.

As you are aware, HOPE Partnership and Women’s Institute are nonprofit organizations committed to providing affordable housing options, and have a combined 50 years of experience providing high quality housing in urban, rural, and suburban communities across the state. Our experience has taught us how to create housing that meets the diverse needs of the communities we serve and the best practices for management that ensures our developments contribute to the overall fabric of the community for decades to come.

As nonprofits, our bottom line is our mission. Our volunteer boards do not personally profit from the success of our developments, and we are held accountable to our public and private donors to ensure that we have the best interests of the community in mind.  As such, the River Oak Commons development was brought to our organizations by concerned Old Lyme residents who saw the opportunity in this site to provide much needed housing to the town.  We have explored the feasibility for this site and have put forward a strong proposal to the commission for a development that will meet the community’s needs.

We believe that we have successfully satisfied the questions raised by the commission and public, and have taken extra measures to ensure that concerns by the community are addressed.

Specifically:

  • We have undertaken extensive traffic reviews to ensure that the development will not negatively impact existing traffic patterns nor cause dangerous or risky behavior on the part of drivers.  We heard the concerns from the public as to the reality of summer traffic, and intentionally conducted a follow up study on the most heavily trafficked weekend of the summer.  Per the recommendation by the town’s traffic engineer, we conducted additional reviews to understand the speed of exit on the off ramp and ensure that we could reasonably provide sufficient sight lines.   Both the traffic engineers retained by us, and that retained by the town, confirmed that there would be no significant impact on existing traffic in all these scenarios, and provided suggestions to ensure that safe sight lines are maintained.
  • We took seriously the claims from the public around potential contamination, despite original LEC reports concluding this was not probable. We provided additional studies, including soil tests and drinking water tests which confirmed that there were no contaminants that would risk the health of residents living in this future development
  • The development as proposed meets the various regulations and standards put forth by state agencies to ensure that plans of conservation and development are maintained. To date the proposed development has been reviewed by the Dept. of Housing, DEEP, Dept. of Public Health, CT Water Authority, State Historic Preservation Office, and Office of Policy and Management. The team has also worked cooperatively with the local  public works, the fire marshal, and public health departments to make significant accommodations. For example, we have designed to a public road standard, despite being a private road which will not receive the benefit of public services such as plowing services and trash removal. We have also worked with the school and bus company to identify a method of school pick up that will allow buses to come onto the site and off of the main road. We have reduced the size and capacity of our community room for residents to prioritize parking requirements dictated by occupancy.  We have worked every step of the way, and will continue to do so, to accommodate the professionals who are tasked with the responsibility of implementing codes and standards of the town beyond an approval of zoning.

River Oak Commons will be located in an already developed part of Old Lyme, and in close proximity to the Halls Road commercial district, transportation, and local amenities.  By constructing infill housing that does not require building on previously undeveloped land, we are adhering to best practices to concentrate development among the existing commercial and residential corridors. Our site plan mirrors the surrounding neighborhoods and our design considerations reflect the historic and cultural character of Old Lyme.   The reviews of the market, conversations with community members, and the extensive evaluation from experts as mentioned above confirms that this location offers many benefits to the future residents of River Oak Commons and does not create health or safety risks to the community.  The end result will be 37 brand new units, that meet the existing housing needs in your community, and are well managed by reputable organizations for decades to come.

While we have also heard from the community their concerns around what it will cost the taxpayers, we want to be clear that the town of Old Lyme has not offered any subsidy for this development. River Oak will contribute Real Estate taxes as a property owner in the town, and our taxes will be used to support the schools, police force, and other town amenities that the families living in River Oak Commons will benefit from. Old Lyme is losing out on the benefit of bringing public investment back into your own community, so that teachers, grocery store workers, town employees, or your grown children can live here. Because Old Lyme only has 1.5% of its housing stock restricted as affordable, we support the town’s interest in pursuing additional locations that have been raised during the public comment period for future affordable housing developments. River Oak Commons is just one part of the long term solution.

Development is a back and forth process with many checks and balances along the way to get from concept to completion. We’ve provided a road map that outlines how we will achieve the goals to provide 37 affordable housing units and have demonstrated that the project will be safe and healthy for the residents who will live there and the surrounding town. We look forward to continue working with the town of Old Lyme.

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Black Bear Kills Sheep in Lyme, Residents Warned to Take Precautions; DEEP Notes Black Bears Rarely Aggressive to Humans

Photo of the black bear seen Friday in Hadlyme. Photo by J. Bjornberg.

During the daytime hours on Friday, Emily Bjornberg, who lives on Brush Hill Rd. in Hadlyme, reports that her husband came upon a black bear attacking and subsequently killing a sheep on their property.  The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has been informed and is monitoring the situation.

The DEEP stresses that black bears only occasionally will prey on small mammals, deer, and livestock. DEEP notes on their website that black bears are omnivorous and, “they eat grasses, forbs, fruits, nuts, and berries. They also will seek insects (particularly ants and bees), scavenge carrion, and raid bird feeders and garbage cans.”

Additional important advice from the DEEP regarding black bears is as follows:

Never feed bears
-Remove bird feeders if a bear visits them
-Add a few capfuls of ammonia to your trash bags as the smell is a deterrent
-Thoroughly clean grills after use
-Do not leave pet food outside overnight
-Do not add meats or sweets to compost

If you see a bear:
View from a safe distance and leave an escape route for the bear – do not corner him
-Make noise and wave your arms
-Stand your ground and slowly back away – do not run or climb a tree – try to go into a car or building
Black Bears are rarely aggressive towards humans. They should be respected, not feared.

For more information on black bears, visit this link.

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NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Needleman For State Senate

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norm Needleman

NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the nation’s leading women’s health advocacy organizations, has announced its endorsement of Norm Needleman for the 33rd District State Senate seat in Connecticut.  The 33rd District includes the Town of Lyme.

The objective of NARAL Pro-Choice America candidate endorsements is to, “elect champions who don’t just pay lip service to values of reproductive freedom, but who truly fight for them…and help defeat those who want to roll back the clock on our rights.”

In accepting the endorsement, Needleman said: “We must continue our efforts to make certain that women have the right to choose how and when to raise a family, that paid family leave is assured, and that pregnancy discrimination is erased from the workplace. The endorsement by NARAL-Pro-Choice America is deeply gratifying. It strengthens my longstanding commitment to insure that basic reproductive rights are guaranteed to all women in or district, our state, and our nation.”

Needleman is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business to become a leader in its field, employing over 225 people.

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Old Lyme Selectmen Host Two Public Hearings on Proposed Leases; First Relates to Pump Station, Second to Solar Power

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen are conducting two public hearings Wednesday, Sept. 19, under Connecticut General Statutes section 7-163e. The first will commence at  7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium at 53 Lyme St., and relates to a proposed lease of a portion of the Town-owned property at 72 Portland Ave., in Old Lyme.

The lease includes access rights to the leased area and to the Miami Beach Association, the Old Lyme Shores Beach Association, and the Old Colony Beach Association, and to each of their respective Water Pollution Control Authorities (the “Tenants”), for an initial term of 40 years from its commencement date. The purpose of obtaining the lease is to allow the construction, operation, and maintenance of a sanitary sewage pump station, underground piping, and related facilities by the Tenants.

Members of the public can review related documents at Old Lyme Town Hall in the selectman’s or town clerk’s office, or on the Town website at this link.

The second Public Hearing will start at  7:30 p.m. tomorrow evening at the same location and relates to a proposal to authorize the board of selectmen to negotiate and the first selectman to execute an MOA and subsequent lease of some or all of the capped portion of the of the Town-owned property at 109 Four Mile River Rd. in Old Lyme. This land is to be used for the installation and operation of solar power generating facilities, to include rights to access the leased area via and to install equipment and facilities necessary to the operation of the solar power facilities on, through and under other portions of the property at 109 Four Mile River Rd.

For more on this story, read Kimberly Drelich’s article published Sept. 18 on theday.com at this link.

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Old Lyme Zoning Hears Final Comments on HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal, Decision Now Pending

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission listens to comments from a member of the public at Monday night’s meeting.

More than 250 people filled the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium Monday evening to hear another round of comments from both the applicants and their attorney, and members of the public regarding the proposed 37-unit Affordable Housing development at 18-1 Neck Rd. (formerly 16 Neck Road). The applicants have submitted two separate applications for 23 and 14 dwelling units respectively known as River Oak Commons I and II.

Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Cable  (second from left) consults with a fellow commission member during the hearing.  Photo by Debra Joy.

Public comment was closed around 10:30 p.m. (thus meeting the legal requirement in terms of how long it can be held open) and the meeting ended without the commission taking a vote on either application.

Project Engineer Joe Wren (left) of Indigo Land Design of Old Saybrook makes a point to the attorney for the applicants, David Royston, at the end of the meeting.  Photo by Debra Joy.

The commission now has 65 days from the closing of the public hearing to deliberate and vote.

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Op-Ed: ‘A Project Without Solutions’: SECoast Director Questions Possible Approval of HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal

Editor’s Note: The author is the executive director of SECoast.

If the ends justify the means – and supporters are willing to overlook a flawed planning process, a dubious subdivide and shell corporations designed to skirt environmental regulation – we ask simply that the public and Zoning Commission members consider carefully the true character of those ends.

Surely, it’s never been the case that a failure of ends can justify a failure of means. But failed—and at best uncertain ends—are exactly what Hope Partnership, Women’s Institute, and attorney David Royston asked members of the Commission to approve last night in an effort to establish an aura of inevitability and bureaucratic momentum for the project.

At the very least, we expected the applicants to resolve those issues directly acknowledged under health and safety rules as the basis for their request for a continuance on July 11, 2018. Pedestrian safety? Months later, still crickets. Really, how is it possible, that plans submitted last night included a crosswalk between residences and the community center within the development, but failed to address pedestrian safety and a crossing of Route 156 to the nearby shopping district?

In defense, attorney Royston leans heavily on the letter of the law, but what he does not explain is that a street design can be defective—and thus unsafe—even if the design is otherwise legal. Years ago, the design for I-95 between Exit 70 and Exit 74 met the letter of law, but as we understand now, the geometry of the roadway was fatally flawed. Oh the irony, that we might repeat a similar mistake in the very same location.

We understand that many of the numerous issues of health and safety considered separately may not rise to the high bar of outweighing the real public good of affordable housing, but to be clear as a matter of the law, these issues should not be considered separately – a practice called segmentation – but rather as a meaningful whole. As Ms. Marsh, and others have pointed out amply in questioning safe exit and entrance to the property, it’s possible that each sightline considered as a piece is sufficient, but considered together, lack commonsense and safety.

We believe that this project makes that same error of segmentation not once, but many times over, aided too often by fibs and later revisions along the way to secure the aid and approval of various boards, commissions, and bodies, including (but not limited to) misleading filed papers to secure the subdivide, the promised recusal of counsel and ‘completed’ water testing to secure approval of wetlands, the use of shell corporations and the subdivision to avoid DEEP oversight and regulatory standards for a project of this size, the steady growth of the project over the course of months from a dozen or 16 units to 37 units and 950 ft of retaining walls reaching to eight feet in height. You might ask yourself why these retaining walls were never a serious topic of conversation at the Inland Wetlands hearing earlier this year. Perhaps, it’s because they weren’t in the plan approved at the time.

Now the applicants ask that the commission members and the public put this all aside and approve a project without solutions in place even for automobile traffic, water or septic; without designs which comply with the 2018 Fire Code. If this constitutes sufficient planning, truly we wonder what an incomplete or inadequate plan for the applicant would be. Really, are we to believe that nonexistent or endlessly variable plans better meet the rules of health and safety, than mere bad plans? We remain unconvinced.

For months, the best defense this plan had was the apparent – we were repeatedly promised – lack of a better location. We fully understand those who might embrace the good of affordable housing when presented with such a solitary opportunity. But it appears that even this is untrue, as already last night Kristin Anderson of the Women’s Institute made clear that this project was the first of others already contemplated or in part planned in Old Lyme. We strongly advise the community, the Commission, and the applicants to leave aside the current project, and embrace these other alternatives.

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Lock Your Cars! Thefts of Cars, Cash in Cars Reported in Numerous Locations in Old Lyme, Neighboring Towns

The Old Lyme Police have advised residents to be vigilant in locking their cars, and removing valuables and cash from their cars.  This follows a series of break-ins into cars that in many cases, were unlocked. A car was stolen from Hefflon Farms and break-ins were reported on Duchess Drive, Johnnycake Hill Rd. and Hawthorne Rd.  Neighboring towns were affected as well.

The Chester Resident Trooper TFC Matthew Ward #815 from Connecticut State Police – Troop F Westbrook issued the following statement to Chester residents Sept. 4:

Early Monday morning 9/3/18 we had several vehicles gone through in various areas of Chester – Railroad Avenue, Denlar Drive, Goose Hill and others.  Approximately 10 or so vehicles were gone through that we know of with a few items stolen. One residence had video surveillance and it showed the suspects trying to gain entry into the residence from keys taken out of one of the cars. 
Essex, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook also had several vehicles gone through with one car stolen from Essex and one car stolen from Old Saybrook. Please lock your vehicles and lock your residences at night. This has been happening alot in the surrounding areas. The suspects are from the Hartford, New Britain and New Haven areas and are stealing cars mostly.  Please be vigilant and report any suspicious people or suspicious vehicles in the area.    
Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to contact old Lyme Police or the State Police at Westbrook.
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Celebrate Grand Re-opening of ‘The Chocolate Shell’ in New Premises, All Welcome Labor Day Afternoon

Barbara Crowley, owner of The Chocolate Shell on Lyme Street, has made a big move!

And the move is to … right next door to the previous premises of the store. which has proudly occupied the space in the northern corner of The Village Shops for 38 years.

The new space into which Crowley has moved The Chocolate Shell is larger, brighter and, as she describes it, results in, “no more crawling over each other, customers and employees.”

The Grand Re-opening will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Labor Day afternoon.  All are welcome to come and see inside the new store.  There will be refreshments and perhaps some singing — Crowley is an accomplished vocalist.

An official ribbon-cutting is planned for 3 p.m. at which Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber, town and regional dignitaries will be present.

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