February 15, 2019

Movement to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags in CT Gathers Momentum, Petition Started

When we published a piece about Connecticut towns banning single-use plastic bags, we received an overwhelming response on our Facebook post about the article from our readers that they supported the idea of Old Lyme enacting this policy.

We’ve just learned that today two legislators, long-time environmental advocate Rep. Jonathan Steinberg and newcomer Sen. Will Haskell, will stand together at Compo Beach in Westport at 1 p.m. to announce a statewide effort to ban single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. (Attendees will congregate near the cannons)

Connecticut uses more than 400 million single-use plastic bags each year, and many of them wind up in Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River, and waterways across the state. They can have devastating effects on our wildlife and environment, and it’s time to put a stop to their menace.

Rep. Steinberg and Sen. Haskell are working hard to eliminate single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. Join them today so we can show the entire General Assembly that the movement is gaining momentum.

You can also sign a petition to ban single-use plastic bags in our state.

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Chester Gallery Hosts Exhibition of New Work by Locally Based, Nationally Acclaimed Artist, Gilbert Boro

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

When our souls become heavy with life’s burdens, art has the potential to soothe and solace.  Indeed, Pablo Picasso wrote, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” That theme will be explored in an exhibit of new works by nationally and internationally renowned sculptor Gilbert Boro at the Main Street Gallery of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester, Conn.

The exhibition titled, Coming Together, features works created by Boro, which were spawned during the period of intense grief that he experienced subsequent to the passing in 2013 of his beloved wife of 48 years, Emily Seward Boro.  An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free. 

Detail of a sculpture from “The Knot” series.

The exhibition is a prequel to the opening of the synagogue’s “Meditation Garden,” scheduled for 2020, which will include a large-scale sculpture loaned by Boro, who subsequently plans to donate the original model of the loaned garden sculpture to CBSRZ.  Boro lives and works at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, where, together with his late wife, he has created an outdoor, park-like setting to exhibit more than 100 sculptures.

The show has special significance for Boro because the synagogue is the repository of a Memorial Light celebrating Emily’s life.  The period of sadness and depression that followed her passing acted as a catalyst for creativity, Boro believes, sparking multiple new ideas in his mind that culminated in his “Musical Master Works” and “What’s Knot to Like” series. Ten to 15 works of aluminum, steel, and copper from these series, plus some larger pieces, will be on public display for the first time. 

The Master Works and Knot series are Boro’s most recent works, incorporating original design concepts with a touch of playfulness. The “Musical Master Works” series transpired after attending a number of musical performances, which, in turn, inspired him to consider the tangible forms and shapes that the music might create. The “What’s Knot to Like” series reflects the many years Boro was deeply committed to offshore sailboat racing and cruising with his wife and family.

Boro credits his interaction with CBSRZ’s designer, the celebrated artist Sol LeWitt, with stirring his creative imagination at a young age. “I found LeWitt’s extensive range of artistic expression extremely stimulating,” Boro explains, noting, “He inspired and challenged me to broaden my vision, which resulted in the application of my fine arts education to architecture. Having my sculptures exhibited here therefore has special meaning for me.”

Photography by Christina Block Goldberg will also be part of the show. Goldberg’s captivating images give viewers a unique insight to Boro’s sculptures by offering intimate, close-up inspection of the joints and details. The images will be printed on thin sheets of aluminum using a dye sublimation process. 


“This exhibit is rather novel,” notes gallery curator, Linda Pinn, continuing, “in that to a large degree the works to be exhibited will be scale models of those he [Boro] anticipates placing in the garden.”  She explains that the “Meditation Garden” is envisioned to draw on the therapeutic power of nature and inspiring capacity of art since many studies now conclude that exposure to creative works is an elixir for our emotions when struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, and pain.

Pinn points out that Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, said, “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery.”  Combining the two in a meditation garden, says Pinn, is an idea that “goes beyond any specific artist or garden,” adding that the intent is to bring, “art and nature together to create a peaceful, contemplative environment where people can walk, relax, and be calm.” 

The Coming Together exhibition will be on display until April 30. 

The Main Street Gallery at CBSRZ focuses on art works with themes relating to issues of concern in our society and the world at large. It is always open to the public free of charge, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays when Sunday school is in session. It is located just off Rte. 154 at 55 East Kings Hwy, Chester, CT. 

For more information, visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Halls Rd. Improvement Committee Offers ‘Frequently Asked Questions’

We received the following Frequently Asked Questions from BJ Bernblum, the Halls Rd. Improvements Committee Chairman. He asked that we publish them since, in his words, “At the Old Lyme public meeting held on Dec. 6, 2018, and in emailed comments received by the Halls Road Improvements Committee afterwards, a number of questions were raised that need to be answered.”

Bernblum states that this document of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the committee, dated Jan. 28, and published below, “… attempts to do this.”

A view of Halls Rd. today looking north. Photo courtesy of the Yale Urban Design Workshop.

We thank the Halls Rd. Improvement Committee for sending us these FAQ’s and, as always, we look forward to hearing reader’s thoughts on them.

Question 1:  Why should the town get into the development business?  Isn’t that better left to private developers?

Answer:  It shouldn’t and yes.  We are not suggesting that the town take charge of development on Halls Road but, rather, that we take steps to encourage private parties to develop the neighborhood in a manner and direction that will comply with current requirements (safety, complete streets, ADA accessibility, etc.) and best serve the needs of the community.  These steps would include adopting a “master plan” and guidelines for future development, investing limited funds in infrastructure and public spaces, and making appropriate changes to the town’s zoning code and Plan of Conservation and Development, all intended to allow for and encourage private developers to invest in upgrading existing structures and undertaking new construction. 

Question 2:  Halls Road is fine the way it is—why is the town considering changes? 

Answer:   Halls Road, our central commercial center, has developed haphazardly over many years.  It is inhospitable to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, portions of it are esthetically unattractive or looking tired, and residents currently have to leave town to seek products or services they cannot obtain locally. 

If nothing is done, we are concerned that the business environment will deteriorate, businesses will close, and even fewer goods and services will be available.  With thoughtful planning and inducements, we should be able to:

i.  improve the business environment, thereby assisting existing businesses, attracting new ones, and growing and diversifying the tax base;

ii.  create a physically-attractive neighborhood, safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists;

iii. stimulate the development of housing that is inviting to down-sizing residents and to young folks wanting to move to town; and

iv. provide public spaces for civic events and recreation.

The ultimate objective is to create a vibrant town center that has more to offer the citizens of Old Lyme and is one we can be proud of. 

Question 3:  What is the new plan for Halls Road?

Answer:  The plan does not yet exist; it is still developing and is flexible. The goal is to reach majority agreement on what the Halls Road neighborhood might ideally look like.  Initially, we held a public meeting to obtain feedback regarding those elements residents would like to see included.  The meeting produced many ideas, including the ability to park once and walk the entire road, creation of green space with a community gathering area, development of mixed-use facilities (or a mix of uses), and esthetic enhancements.  

We recently held a second public meeting to gain further input, and will hold more meetings in the future.  The Yale Urban Design Workshop is assisting us in developing a master plan, but we need substantial input from town residents and stakeholders in order to come up with sound ideas that enjoy widespread support.

Question 4:  What is the process for developing a master plan?

Answer:  Once we have enough public input to begin to see the outlines of a plan, we will present these ideas to local and state governmental authorities for input and necessary approvals.  At the town level, the plan will likely need buy-in from the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Zoning Commission and the Planning Commission, as well as amendments to the zoning regulations and the Plan of Conservation and Development. 

At the state level, we will need approval from the Department of Transportation, which owns Halls Road.  A master plan can be finalized only when it enjoys broad public support and satisfies governmental requirements.

Question 5:  What is the anticipated time-frame for implementing the plan?

Answer:  The Committee intends to develop a master plan and set of guidelines for the future development of Halls Road.  The plan would consist of several phases to be pursued in an orderly sequence over time, so that work done in one phase supports, or at least does not interfere with, improvements to be made in a subsequent phase.  Each phase will also be expected to “stand on its own,” in the sense that its completion will add value to the town even if subsequent phases are not pursued. 

For example, an initial phase might consist of improving access, such as by adding sidewalks, a bike path, improved signage, and a pedestrian bridge over the Lieutenant River.  The timing and exact nature of subsequent phases, and the changes that will be implemented, will of course depend on future events, including available funding and the decisions made by private developers and property-owners. 

Hence the timing is unpredictable, but this is surely a multi-year process over which the master plan will evolve, perhaps substantially but consistent with the guidelines, to address changes over time in the town’s commercial and residential needs.

Question 6:  Will the plan result in unfettered growth and additional traffic?

Answer:  We view this project as a rehabilitation of the Halls Road neighborhood, and any potential growth must be managed to fit the needs and the character of the town.  For example, we would encourage architectural design in keeping with the small New England town flavor of Old Lyme. 

There is no intent or appetite to change our “town business center” into a dense retail environment but, instead, to attract a limited number of businesses that our neighbors would like to enjoy locally (e.g., a restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, jewelry store), and enhance the patronage for existing businesses.  These changes would increase auto traffic somewhat. 

However, we intend to limit congestion through a design that encourages folks to park once and then walk the neighborhood, rather than drive from place to place.

Question 7:  How can this plan survive the overflow traffic from tie-ups on I-95?

Answer:  These tie-ups will not be materially exacerbated by a normal increase in Halls Road traffic, and they occur infrequently enough so that they should not discourage business development along the road, which is currently a pass-through. 

The plan might call for locating parking behind the main shopping and business buildings and creating tertiary access roads and walkways, which would mitigate the Halls Road bottleneck.  For example, we might explore the construction of a local access road south of the current Old Lyme Marketplace buildings (the Big Y plaza).  

Question 8:  Will private property owners be required to make changes or invest money?

Answer:  No one will be required to do anything.  Other than the state right-of-way along Halls Road, the real estate in question is privately owned and changes must be voluntary.

The expectation is that property owners will see the advantages of making changes to their property in order to increase profitability.  Alternatively, they may discover that they can sell their property at an attractive price to a motivated developer who is ready to invest in a significant project consistent with the town’s guidelines. 

Question 9  How will the plan be financed and how much will it raise property taxes?

Answer:  The objective is to have this project be tax neutral or result in a tax rate decrease because of an increase in the tax base.  The public infrastructure would hopefully be financed, at least in part, through state and federal grants, and from new tax revenue generated by the new construction, although this might initially require town bonding.  The private development will be financed by developers and property owners, who may also help pay for common amenities such as wastewater management, sidewalks and landscaping. 

The town might consider creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District like the one just approved in Old Saybrook, under which new tax revenue generated by new construction may be allocated, in whole or in part, to improvements in the district and to financial inducements to developers.  In all events, any material town expenditures will have to be approved at a town meeting.

Question 10:  What happens if I-95 is widened in the future or the exit or entrance ramps are reconfigured?

Answer:  That question is impossible to answer, not knowing what properties the government might want to seize by eminent domain.  However, given the current economic condition of the state and the absence of any such plans, we do not think it prudent to forego changes benefitting the town because of a remote, future risk.

Question 11:  What do you mean by residential housing on Halls Road and why is it needed?

Answer:  We would seek to enable the construction of reasonably-priced rental properties and condominiums.  Many concerns have been expressed about young people who want to move to town (perhaps after college) or out of their parents’ homes, and older folks who are retiring or downsizing and would like to remain in Old Lyme, but cannot do so because of the lack of appropriate housing. 

The Halls Road neighborhood, as envisioned with expanded resources, offers an ideal location for this housing, since both groups prefer to live in areas where they can walk to stores, restaurants, banks, recreational facilities and other amenities.  Furthermore, the retailers in the neighborhood would surely benefit from the presence of these residents.

Question 12:  How do you intend to address increased wastewater?

Answer:  A good question that must be addressed, but there are solutions other than municipal sewers.  For example, it might be feasible to construct a community treatment facility that would process the wastewater to a condition where it can safely be discharged.  

Question 13:  How can the town validate what types of improvements would be the most successful for the town, its businesses and the tax base?

Answer:  One way would be to retain a professional consultant such as CERC (the Connecticut Economic Resource Center) to perform an economic review of Old Lyme and the region, and recommend what improvements would likely be most viable.  Such a study would give our residents and businesses guidance on the development possibilities and the impact on taxes.  It would also serve as an attraction to serious investors, both for its content and as an indication of the town’s seriousness about supporting the project.

Question 14:  How can I have input to the plan or keep updated on the progress?

Answer:  There are several ways for you to stay informed and be heard, and we hope you will utilize them.  We will hold more public meetings and focus groups, and intend to develop a page on the town’s website where we can provide updates and receive input.  You can also send an email to the Halls Road Improvements Committee at hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov, or ask to speak personally with any of us.

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Meehan’s Presidential Memorabilia on Display Through February at Old Lyme Library


The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library will be hosting a display of James Meehan’s presidential memorabilia, which offers a fascinating history of the United States.  The collection by Meehan, who is an Old Lyme resident, will be on display from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28.

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Murphy, Wyden Reintroduce Bill Requiring President Trump to Publicly Release his Tax Returns

Measure supports House efforts to use congressional authority to obtain tax returns in closed session

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) on Friday in reintroducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act to require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns to the public. Murphy and Wyden first introduced this legislation in May 2016 after then-presidential candidate Trump broke his promise to release his tax returns.

“Presidents have a lot of power—they can unilaterally change federal contracts, influence foreign governments, and impose sanctions. Americans deserve to know if the foreign policy decisions presidents make are based on the best interests of the country or made to benefit the president’s pocketbook. President Trump’s bizarre history of nonsensical foreign policy decisions could easily be explained by his or the Trump Organization’s financial ties to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. This legislation would ensure Americans know the truth about President Trump and every other presidential candidate, and will prevent the Trump administration from stonewalling congressional oversight efforts,” said Murphy.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires sitting presidents to release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).  It also requires that, within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees must release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Should the sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the Treasury Secretary will be required to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC respectively for public release.

Section 6103 of the U.S. tax code grants the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee authority to obtain the president’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. According to reports, House Democrats plan to use this authority to demand Trump’s tax returns, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has not said whether he would comply.

Joining Murphy and Wyden in introducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act are U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

A one-page summary of the legislative proposal can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

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Kyle Zrenda Joins Suisman Shapiro as Firm’s Newest Associate

Kyle J. Zrenda has joined Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law as an associate on the firm’s civil litigation team, practicing in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and insurance health care law.

Attorney Kyle J. Zrenda

Prior to joining Suisman Shapiro, Attorney Zrenda was an associate at Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols and Porter, LLP in New York where he focused his practice on construction site accidents, premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and health care law. Attorney Zrenda represented physicians, nurses, medical groups, hospitals, property owners, general contractors, and subcontractors throughout New York and Connecticut.

“We are pleased to welcome Kyle Zrenda to Suisman Shapiro,” said Managing Director John A. Collins, III. “Kyle just obtained an outstanding result in Bridgeport Superior Court and we know that his trial experience will further enhance our litigation team’s approach to aggressively representing our clients.”

Kyle Zrenda is Connecticut native who graduated from East Lyme High School. He received his B.A. from Boston College in 2010 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2013, where he was an Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac Law Review.

Attorney Zrenda was admitted to the New York Bar in 2013, the Connecticut Bar in 2014, and is also admitted to practice in the Federal District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York. In 2017 and 2018, Attorney Zrenda was listed by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro “Rising Star” in the area of personal injury.

Suisman Shapiro is the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut, serving the community for over 75 years with a wide range of legal services.

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Red Cross Offers Incentives to Blood Donors During January

The American Red Cross is offering a special incentive to increase blood and platelet donations in January, a historically challenging time. All donors who present at Red Cross blood drives in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island) and New York will receive a $5 Dunkin’ Gift Card by email *. 

Also, all those who come to donate between Jan. 1 and Jan. 6 will receive a free long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt**. 

“January is a time we tend to see a dip in the blood supply,” said Patricia Sablitz, director of donor recruitment, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Donors may not have had time to come in during the holidays, and the threat of severe weather is always looming here in the northeast. This incentive is one way to remind donors the need for blood doesn’t take a winter break.” 

In order to receive the gift card, all donors must have a valid email on file with the Red Cross at the time of donation. In addition to the emailed gift card, donors who give blood or platelets from Jan. 1-6, 2019 will receive a free long-sleeved T-shirt**. 

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states  (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App. About the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.  

*Red Cross donors in CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT who receive this offer and come in to donate during promotional time frame are eligible (Jan. 1-31, 2019). Limit one (1) per donor. This offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Offer is subject to change at any time in the promotional time frame. Instructions on how to redeem the gift certificate voucher will be emailed to the address listed in your American Red Cross donor profile approximately 30 days after an attempted donation. The gift certificate voucher can be redeemed at GiftCertificates.com. © 2019, DD IP Holder LLC. The Dunkin’ trademarks, logos and designs are registered trademarks of DD IP Holder LLC and used under license. Dunkin’ Donuts is not a sponsor of this promotion. The Dunkin’ Gift Card is subject to complete terms and conditions, which can be found at https://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/help/terms.html#ddcard

**While supplies last. All items are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash.

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Update on Halls Rd. Improvement Project

We felt an update on the Halls Road Improvements project would be timely since several related things have occurred since our last post on the subject.

Firstly, we have received quite a number of thoughtful and constructive comments from readers on the topic, some of which we have already published and others that were sent to directly to us and anonymity requested. We are now publishing  them all in their entirety below.

We still welcome further comments and will continue to respect people’s anonymity if requested.

Halls Road today. Photo from Yale Urban design Workshop presentation given on Dec. 6, 2018..

Secondly, the Halls Road Improvements Committee has now published the Dec. 6 Yale Urban Design Workshop presentation on the Town of Old Lyme website at this link.  There is also an opportunity to comment on the proposed plans at this link.

Thirdly, the folk at SECoast.org have published their report of the Dec. 6 meeting at this link.  They are also soliciting comments on the proposal on their Facebook page at this link.

Finally, there is an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the town hall meeting room, which includes an update on the project on its agenda.

Comments on the proposal received to date from readers are as follows:

Author; John Stratton:

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Anonymous

I think the Town’s effort is great.  It is for plans such as these that we have Town committees and staff in the first place.  They are doing their job, and thinking long term about what kind of Old Lyme we want to have.  As said by one of the representatives (and I paraphrase), when we let the developers lead, we end up with an ugly mishmash of structures … just like we have on Halls Road now.

What the Town is proposing is reasonable.  Over the next 30 years, there will be development one way or the other.  The town is just saying, hey let’s all have a say in defining what we want to wind up with at the end of the day.  The Town is not saying let’s spend a whole lot of tax money up front, or even in the long term.  They are just saying let’s all agree on what we want, and let private developers fill in the blanks as they see future economic opportunities.  The Town might provide a few dollars, but it sounds like it is more intent on offering zoning benefits, and seeking to access State grant money.

At the end of the day, this is a 30 year plan.  We have 30 years to monitor it, and to make revisions if necessary.  Give it a try.  Otherwise Halls Road will remain a blight.

Author: Thomas D. Gotowka

Christina and I attended both public meetings hosted by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee, and conducted by members of the Yale Urban Design Workshop. Yale presented the Committee’s vision statement and several conceptual renderings of what fully realizing that vision might yield. The article in the New London Day accurately summarized the vision.

The audience was skeptical of the immense breadth and scope of that vision; – requiring twenty- five or more years to complete.  Several concerns were raised about cost and the impact on taxes.

We left with a few thoughts and concerns. It was not apparent to us that current Halls Road business owners and the professionals occupying office space had participated to any extent in developing that vision. It is absolutely important to get their buy-in. Essex Bank did state that any of their future development would take Old Lyme’s plan into consideration.

We found Alan Plattus’ presentation to be a bit glib. This is important stuff, and some of the vision could be lost in presenter style. Also, know the names of our local landmarks, especially if they factor into the plan. (i.e. it’s the “Bow Bridge” that used to cross the Lieutenant River). But, after all; they’re Yale, not Harvard.

Our suggestion: parse the plan into achievable shorter- range projects that will yield some early successes. Start with the hiking/biking paths along the Lieutenant River, rebuild the foot bridge, and create the new Halls Road village green.

Author: J. David Kelsey

I strongly believe a municipality’s best service for economic development is to create a flexible crucible allowing for creative use of people’s property and to support it with reasonable infrastructure. A good starting point is indeed a big picture vision of what could be – the work of the Yale is a helpful guide to figure out what zoning flexibility might be added and to identify infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, rational street signs, crosswalks) that might be undertaken.

What is not clear is the level of involvement of the town in changing the nature of existing buildings – are we talking about the town purchasing certain parcels and eminent domain strategies so that the town (instead of existing private owners) determines what might happen? I would advocate for a clear statement soon of how the town proposes to be involved, and I would hope it would be a light touch of reducing setbacks, requiring rear parking, introducing mixed-use zoning and working with DOT early to see what actual changes could be made for street parking (it is a unique stretch of US-1 with unusually high volume during frequent detours), sidewalks and hardscape improvements. Private owners could then determine what makes sense economically for changes to existing buildings and for new construction.

If the goal is for the town to control actively in some manner the types of use and nature of construction, that is a very large role to undertake, since this part of town is economically vibrant already with buildings that are close to full already with businesses, despite being less aesthetically desirable in the case of some buildings. I hope we get a clear picture that is public of the long-term town plan, rough ideas of costs to the town and a timetable once the community feedback for Yale’s draft plan is complete. A great start at very low cost and quickly achieved would be consolidating or eliminating street and traffic signs and at least having them stand up straight.

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Ron Breault

I attended the Dec 6 meeting. My comments

1) When asked about the planning assumption regarding possible DOT changes to I-95, the Yale Urban Design response was that, despite recognition that traffic delays and congestion already exist, there would be no area changes in I-95 in the next 20 years.

Since this is already a significant thru traffic problem which can only get worse, changes envisioned by the ‘plan’ for Halls Rd that include on Halls Rd parallel and/or diagonal parking, increased commercial density and pedestrian use, increased recreational use and pedestrian crossing and stop signs will aggravate, perhaps dangerously, the Halls Rd environment.

2) There appeared to be no consideration given for a more limited, ‘modest’, less expensive improvement of Halls Rd, ie’, sidewalks, bike paths, a return of the pedestrian crossing bridge over the Lieutenant River, elimination of ‘leaning’ power line poles with unattractive heavy looping wires and electrical equipment. Maybe some street lighting, and buried wires?

3) One of the meeting attendees commented that she had lived in Nantucket for 25 years and, because of development, ‘Nantucket is no longer Nantucket’. Paraphrased, her concern was the extensive multi story commercial/residential development plan presented for Halls Rd would mean Old Lyme would no longer be Old Lyme. I think this was a shared feeling by many at the meeting.

Author: Ted Mundy

Unfortunately I did not attend the meeting. Nonetheless, the previous comments and SE Coast write-ups provide a good base of information.

Rule One for architects is to live in what they intend to design. Of course, this is impossible until built. However, they should visit at least twice during the calendar year. The first is a summer Friday night when I-95 gets jammed. The overflow of traffic makes 156 and Rt-1 very congested. If there is an accident southbound, Rt-1 after Exit 75 is backed up from Laysville south to the Hall’s Road traffic lights. Some traffic goes down Lyme Street, which is the heart of what makes Old Lyme great. Imagine shopping on Hall’s Road during these incidents. We avoid it.

The second time to visit is in early December. The town is relatively quiet especially the shore communities. One wonders how some of the Hall’s Road merchants make it at all. With the exception of the Big Y, foot traffic is slow in my judgment.

This gets to the final point. Do we want to change the character of Old Lyme? If the Mundys shop for goods other than necessities, we go on-line or visit Old Saybrook. Let’s leave Old Lyme the way it is and save government funds for infrastructure repair and reduce our tax burden.

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Residents Hear Initial Ideas on Halls Rd. Improvement from Yale Urban Design Team, Reactions Mixed: What do YOU Think?

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder addresses the audience in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School cafeteria during the Thursday evening meeting.

“Members of the Halls Road Improvements Committee and the Yale Urban Design Workshop met with the public Thursday evening to discuss the creation of a master development plan envisioning future improvements to Halls Road, the town’s main commercial district.

The committee, after holding a similar public discussion earlier this year, has been working …”

These are the opening sentences of an article by Mary Biekert titled Improvements to Old Lyme’s Halls Road discussed in public forum and published today on theday.com.  Read the full article at this link.

Editor’s Note: In pursuit of our mission of serving our community … let us know what YOU think of the Halls Rd. Improvement proposals?  Either post a comment with your thoughts here on LymeLine.com or send us an email with them to editor@lymeline.com

We’ll publish a summary of the comments we receive, but only naming the writer if you have given specific permission.

Thank you — we look forward to hearing from you!

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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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