April 5, 2020

Lymes’ Senior Center Offers Free, Temporary Membership to ALL Lyme, Old Lyme Residents: Membership Includes Virtual Exercise Classes

Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould. (File photo)

LYME/OLD LYME — In a welcome and positive response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould, has announced today that the Center is now offering free, temporary membership to all residents of Lyme and Old Lyme — not just those 55 and over.

She explains, “This membership would allow you to participate in all of our virtual programs. Currently, we are offering many yoga classes and other exercise classes on Zoom and Youtube, and we will be adding beginner and intermediate country line dancing classes and a Pilates class next week as well.”

Gould notes, “Coronavirus has changed our regular life quite significantly and many of the daily activities that we took for granted can no longer happen for the time being,” adding, “To that end, the Center has begun virtual exercise classes and group get-togethers to help us cope with the isolation we all feel.”

This offer of temporary, free membership to all residents will extend through the duration of the self-isolation period effort and in Gould’s words, is an attempt “to make a difference to all of our neighbors.”  As a member, you will also receive a weekly email with information about the Center’s virtual programs, boredom busters, and the Corona Virus.

If you are interested in a free membership, email seniorcenter@oldlyme-ct.gov with your details.

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Old Lyme Board of Finance Denies Lyme Academy’s $15K Budget Request, Seeks More Info

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center, which comprises part of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The France Foundation now rents 40,000 s.f in the buidling.

OLD LYME — At its regular meeting this past Tuesday (March 24), Old Lyme’s Board of Finance considered a budget request for $15,000 from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The meeting was held in the town hall but most board members called into the meeting, along with member of the press and public, to avoid the dangers of convening in person and spreading the coronavirus.

It soon became clear that board members were facing a problem in determining whether to approve the request because there was minimal supporting information explaining why the Academy needed the funds and how they were going to use them.

Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell noted that the only documents received by the board were a Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statement for the Academy, each for a nine-month period. He mentioned that these showed total assets and endowments at $8.6 million with $1.8 million potentially owed to the University of New Haven (UNH).

Finance Director Nicole Stajduhar noted the Academy’s endowment was listed at $7.4 million of which only $1 milion is unrestricted and that, “The $1.8 million note [to UNH] is still there.” although Russell had commented, “There is an idea it may be forgiven if the property is sold outright.” Stajduhar also highlighted that it appeared the Academy’s $800,000 mortgage had been paid off, though it was not clear by whom.

Board member Bennett (BJ) Bernblum opened discussion of the request saying, “There are lots of questions in my view. These numbers don’t show an entity in dire trouble,” and concluding, “I personally am reluctant to make an award at this point.” He added, however, that he would be willing “to reserve the right” to allocate some monies to the Academy at a later date if more information were presented.

Alternate member Judith Read agreed with Bernblum, saying, “There’s not enough information to justify handing out a $15,000 grant to them.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold was more conciliatory towards the Academy reminding the board the institution was no longer a college and its revenue would consequently be impacted by that situation. He noted the Academy was engaged in an ongoing process of developing a strategic plan, which was,”really a road map going forward,” and commented, “The burn rate through their funds must be extensive.”

Griswold mentioned that the Academy had leased part of its property to The France Foundation, but the Academy’s ability to enter into any further leases was restricted by Old Lyme’s Zoning Regulations, which require the Academy only to lease to educational institutions. He also pointed out that the Academy, like other non-profits, “May need an indication of our support,” in order to apply successfully for grants and other funds, but he conceded, “I guess we need to await something more concrete,” from the Academy in terms of supporting information for the request.

Board member Janet Sturges said she had met with Lyme Academy Interim Director Frank Burns and in the interview, he had conveyed, “Lots of promise … lots of hope,” causing Russell to remind the board, “They’re asking for $15,000. We could give them less.”

Bernblum followed up, saying, “One of the concerns is whether they’re staying in business,” but added, “I think it’s politically wrong to deny them. I would rather postpone.”

That compromise was well received but Stajduhar pointed out the board needed to award something at this point to be what Russell later described as “a placeholder.” Member David Kelsey proposed the board should award $1,000 to the Academy for the 2020-21 financial year and Russell emphasized, “There could be an additional amount,” if more information about the request were presented.

The motion was passed unanimously.

 

 

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New List of Take-Out Options in Lyme, Old Lyme Now Available

LYME-OLD LYME — The staff of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) have prepared a list of take-out options in Lyme and Old Lyme.  Many of these are new and have been created in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many thanks to the LYSB staff for their efforts inpreparing this and we hope our readers will support these local establishments during these challenging times.

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Death Announced of Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year, Captain Roderick M. White

This photo was taken Jan. 22, 2018, on the night that the late Captain Roderick M. White was named Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. From left to right standing are Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Selectman Chris Kerr, Judy White, and then First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who presented the award. Captain White, whose death was announced yesterday, is seated.

OLD LYME — The death of Captain Roderick M. White on March 11, 2020, has been announced. He was 91. A service for White will be held at the United States Coast Guard Chapel with an inurnment in the Columbarium at the Academy. Services will be scheduled when the Academy re-opens.

Captain White was Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year and the proclamation announcing that read, “Over the course of his 50+ years in Old Lyme, Rod White has set a high standard for community service. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Rod graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1950. He spent the next quarter of a century making his mark in the Coast Guard. A faculty member from 1969 to 1974, he served as Dean of Academics from 1974 to 1983. In 1969, he was named the outstanding Naval Engineer of the year, receiving the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Society of Naval Engineers.”

Commenting in more detail on White’s Gold Medal citation, the Proclamation said it, “refers to “his exceptional analytical skills and technical competence… [and] significant contributions in the advancement of icebreaker design …” It was Rod’s “White Bow” design that made it possible for the SS Manhattan to make the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage by a commercial vessel.”

Another photo from the 2017 Citizen of the Year celebrations shows Captain White (seated) being congratulated by previous Old Lyme Citizens of the Year, Jeff Sturges (left) and Lynn Fairfield-Sonn (right.) See more photos of that night at this link.

The Proclamation continued, “Rod White has used his exceptional skills in our community in so many ways. A founding member of the Harbor Management Commission, he served as Chair from 1988 to 1994, and was elected Registrar of Voters from 1993 to 2004. An active member of the Republican Town Committee, serving as both secretary and vice-chair, he was elected for two terms to the Regional District 18 Board of Education, serving from 1997 to 2005.  Rod was our Town’s representative to the Southeastern Tourism District for many years, and currently serves on the Board of Assessment Appeals, a position to which he was first elected in 2007.”

Adding, “Despite his obviously busy schedule, Rod willingly shared his talents with a larger community, as well,”  the Proclamation listed that Captain White served as Executive Director for the Eastern CT Foundation for Public Giving, Executive Director of the Coast Guard Foundation, Chair of the Boy Scouts Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of both the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Board and Connecticut’s Olympic Committee. He was also a loyal and active member of Rotary International since 1975.

Read Captain White’s obituary at this link.

Editor’s Note: We extend our deepest sympathies to Captain White’s family on his passing. We knew him as a kind and gracious gentleman, always ready to help anyone at any time, and a pillar of public service .

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Mattson Issues Update on Town of Lyme’s Public Health Responses

Lyme First Selectman Steven Mattson.

LYME — Earlier this evening, Lyme First Selectman Steve Mattson issued the following update on the Town of Lyme’s Public Health responses to the Governor’s declaration of a public health emergency. He stated that the Town has taken the following actions:

  • Meetings and conference calls with Ledge Light Health District, the State Department of Public Health and the Governor’s office have been held and the Town is receiving multiple updates each day.
  • All Town Boards and Commissions and most private organizations have been advised to limit the size of events and give special protection to the at-risk population above 60 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions. Most events are being cancelled.
  • The Town website has been reorganized around the public health response. The emergency-notification ability has been activated and it is hoped everyone is checking for updates and has signed up for emergency notifications. The website will not be used for the moment-by-moment news available through many other outlets, but will communicate the Lyme-specific information as it changes.
  • A new email address is provided for contacting the Board of Selectmen for answers to resident’s questions: AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com
  • The CEO issued an Executive Order closing all town buildings to the public while maintaining our staff on-site to assist residents by phone or email (see website for contact information of the departments). Meetings of Town Boards and Commissions have been cancelled.
  • The First Selectman formed a COVID-19 Response Team based on the Emergency Operations Plan previously adopted and updated. Individual assignments are being made and all included organizations and departments have their planning activities underway.
  • First responder organizations (Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Management) have been mobilized and entered their planning phases. Inventories of available materials and equipment have been made and efforts to acquire additional supplies are being sought. Volunteers to assist these groups will be needed.
  • The Response Team is forming a “high-risk resident outreach” and a “volunteer coordination” effort led by the Lyme Social Services Director and Lyme Town Clerk, supported by the Emergency Management Department and the Lyme Second Selectman. Email the townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help. The need to phone and check on residents and to transport or distribute food and supplies if things get really bad is anticipated. Any other expertise should be mentioned should other needs arise.
  • A list of isolated residents will hopefully become available and should residents want to be included on that list for follow-up, they can also contact the board of selectmen for inclusion.

Mattson added, “At present, there has not been a positive case of COVID-19 in New London County, but it will happen, including here in Lyme. Lyme faces an unimaginable period that has never happened before.”

He stressed, “We will survive it. If all of us employ social distancing and look out for each other – which is one of the values that makes Lyme special – we can minimize the damage to our residents and our way of life,” concluding, “Please protect yourselves and your families and volunteer where you can and don’t panic.”

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Estuary Regional Senior Center Closed, But Still Providing Critical Meals on Wheels Service

estuary councilOLD SAYBROOK/LYME/OLD LYME — Following the State of Connecticut guidelines, the Estuary Council’s Senior Center building will be closed until March 31, but will continue providing Meals on Wheels uninterrupted. Staff will also be available, by phone only, to help answer questions. The Estuary Council’s phone message, website, and Facebook page will be updated as they continue to monitor this unprecedented situation.

Stan Mingione, Executive Director, says “We find ourselves in an unprecedented time in regards to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 virus. We respect the seriousness of the situation and have decided to close our Senior Center beginning March 17, until the end of the month. Our concern is for those in our organization, our staff, volunteers, clients and the communities in which they live. Our vital Meals on Wheels service will continue uninterrupted.”

He stresses, “Our phones will be open for anyone seeking information or a friendly voice. We appreciate your patience and we will keep you updated as to when we will be resuming operations. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. I will be available by phone or email during this time so do not hesitate to reach out. Keep yourselves healthy and continue to be positive. We will get through this.”

The following changes in services have been announced:

Meals on Wheels
Meals are still being delivered to homebound clients. Be patient as the usual time of your delivery may change.

Café Lunches
A take-out option is being tried for café lunches. All lunch reservations made for dates after March 16 have been cancelled. Call 860-388-1611 and dial 216 to listen to take-out options and make new reservations.

Medical Transportation
Medical transportation service has been suspended at this time. No new medical reservations will be taken until it has been determined when this service will resume.

Thrift Shop
The Estuary Thrift Shop is closed at this time and donations are NOT being accepted until further notice. Please do not leave items outside the building.

Programs/Activities
All Estuary programs, activities, and clubs – including the gym and AARP Tax services, are suspended at this time. No appointments are being taken until it has been determined when these services will resume.

Call 860-388-1611 and listen closely to the message for updates as these services may continue to change daily.

Check the Estuary website and Facebook Page @ Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. for posted updates.

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Lymes’ Senior Center Cancels All Groups, Programs from Monday

LYME/OLD LYME — All groups, programs, and activities at the Lymes’ Senior Center are canceled starting Monday, March 16, until further notice.

At this time Meals on Wheels and Congregate meals will be served at the Center unless The Estuary (who provides the meals) cancels their services. In addition, the nurse will hold her regular 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday to Friday schedule to address senior needs.

During this time, the Center will continue to coordinate with Lyme and Old Lyme Emergency Management, town officials, Health Departments, etc., and will be in contact with other Senior Centers to determine the best time to go back to “business as usual.”

If you have any questions, call the Senior Center at (860) 434-1605 ext. 240.

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First Congregational of Old Lyme Cancels Sunday Services

Steven Jungkeit, Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme has cancelled its Sunday worship services with immediate effect.

After an initial announcement yesterday saying services would be held this coming Sunday, March 15, Senior Pastor Steve Jungkeit has sent out a further e-communication this morning saying, “Given everything we’ve learned throughout the day, we believe it’s [cancelling Sunday’s services] the best and most appropriate action for us to take in order to minimize potential exposure to or spread of the virus, and to care for our most vulnerable members.”

Jungkeit continues, “We will be taping and then posting a service online on Sunday morning, disseminated through our website, Facebook page and email. We believe in times like these it’s important that we remain connected to one another. And we believe it’s necessary to continue our pattern of spirituality and services, even if in a virtual form.”

He concludes, “It’ll be a grand experiment, and you can let us know how it comes off. In the meantime, we will continue to update you on our efforts to care for, protect, encourage, help, and love one another – not just within our congregation, but within the entire Old Lyme community.”

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Griswold Releases Statement on Old Lyme’s Response to COVID-19, Action Plan Going Forward

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold.

OLD LYME — Earlier this evening, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold released the following statement to the citizens of Old Lyme. It is also posted on the town’s website.

The Town of Old Lyme is taking an active role in overseeing the local response to COVID-19. To date we have:

  • Participated in regular conference calls with other municipalities and public health organizations organized by the Office of Governor Ned Lamont.
  • Been in constant communication with the Ledge Light Health District and communicated their guidance through our networks, including on our Facebook page.
  • Had meetings with our Facilities Manager and implemented new protocols to keep the Town Hall sanitized including the addition of hand sanitizer on the counters of all offices accessible to the public and expanding our cleaning services to ensure that all public surfaces are being sanitized daily. Additionally, all groups using a meeting room are being asked to wipe down tables with provided cleaning supplies before the start of their meetings.
  • Signage has been posted in all the bathrooms within Town Hall about proper hand-washing practices.

We continue to closely monitor the situation with guidance from the Ledge Light Health District and the Office of Governor Lamont and we will use our website and Facebook page to communicate important information.

School Closings

Decisions about school closures fall within the purview of the Superintendent of Schools. For his latest communication, please click here.

Other Closings

At this time, the Town Hall is operating normally. Any changes to Town Hall operations will be posted to our website. For other closures follow The Day’s Coronavirus Closures & Cancellations page.

Prevention

The following preventative steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraged to help protect the health of the Old Lyme community:

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid crowds and close contact with other people

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Stay home if you’re sick

Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

Cover coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Additional Resources

For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, please visit the following link: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus. Individuals who have questions not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The information line is available 24 hours a day.

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Coronavirus FAQs: https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/infectious-diseases/coronavirus-faqs/?fbclid=IwAR3u1IaCjWQ8tc035UmY2PYsb3YUZLgXv8ckJPghVsRIeLXWkttku6H8NoI

Ledge Light Health District: https://llhd.org/

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CANCELLED: Musical Masterworks to Present Complete Cycle of Beethoven’s String Quartets; Opening Concerts in Old Lyme This Weekend

The Ehnes Quartet will perform all 18 of Beethoven’s String Quartets over six concerts starting with three this weekend and three more in early May.

OLD LYME  — We have just learned from Musical Masterworks that out of an abundance of caution and concern for the wellbeing of their patrons, volunteers and staff, the board has made the difficult decision to postpone their Beethoven concerts originally scheduled for March 13, 14 and 15.

The board is in the process of scheduling postponement dates. Tickets for the March concerts will be valid for the new concert dates — to be determined and announced soon.

2020 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of  the remarkable, influential and prolific German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. 

To celebrate this major milestone, Musical Masterworks will present the complete cycle of Beethoven’s String Quartets in six concerts over two extended weekends in March and May at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The first weekend will feature performances this coming Friday, March 13, Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, while the second weekend of performances will take place on Friday, May 1, Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3. Each of the six concerts will include three of the 18 quartets that Beethoven composed meaning that every concert will have a different program.

Asked in an exclusive telephone interview with LymeLine.com why he had chosen these works to honor Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Musical Masterworks Artistic Director and acclaimed cellist Edward Arron responds, “These string quartets — 18 in all — are considered by many to be one of the most pivotal and profound body of work in the history of western art.” Describing them as, “a deeply rich body of work,” Arron explains that composition of the quartets spans Beethoven’s musical career, “dating back to when he was a young, robust composer in his late twenties to some of the very last pieces he wrote,” prior to his death at the age of 56 in 1827.

Arron notes that the complete cycle of quartets represents, “The arc of Beethoven’s storied life — both compositionally and personally — with each quartet being a marvel in its own right.” adding, “Each quartet takes on a life of its own,” while at the same time, “… revealing something about Beethoven’s life.”

The Musical Masterworks’ concert series celebrates the 250th anniverary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, pictured above.

Arron explains that the quartets divide into three different periods with the early group composed when Beethoven could hear clearly, the middle segment being the pieces written when the composer had suffered significant hearing loss and the late works comprising those composed when Beethoven was effectively completely deaf. It is believed he could only hear, in Arron’s words, “certain very loud noises and some [musical] notes.”

Emhasizing that these late works were “the group that changed the course of musical history,” Arron states emphatically, “Given what he was doing” combined with his physical challenges, Beethoven’s achievement with these quartets was, “an almost impossible feat.”

Asked to elaborate on the significance of these later compositions, Arron notes that, in many ways, they represent the critical transition between the classical and romantic eras of music. In this late period, he points out that Beethoven “abandoned the formal structures of Haydn, Mozart” and became “unconcerned with the conventions of harmony and phrase length,” creating “surprises” throughout the quartets.

Variously describing the works from Beethoven’s late period as “utterly sublime,” “compositionally marvellous,” and “filled with incredible components,” Arron went on to say he felt they were composed out of Beethoven’s “stream of consciousness” rather than any sort of “formulaic measure.” The composer added movements to the traditional four movements and created “purely masterful” music ranging from the “whimsical to the absolutely profound.”

How is Arron feeling about the challenge of presenting all of Beethoven’s String Quartets? He answers animatedly, “I’m incredibly excited about just living inside these pieces with an audience that I know and have a relationship with,” adding that he is fulfilling, “A long-time dream to do the complete cycle.”

Arron also comments that the First Congregational Church is “one of his favorite places to make music,” since its acoustics are “so warm, so precise,” and “Every detail we put across can be heard by the audience.” He says the stage fits a string quartet “perfectly” and due the intimacy of the space, “There is a palpable interaction between the musicians and the audience … an electricity.”

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron says that playing the complete cycle of Beethoven’s String Quartets is “a long-time dream.”

The cycle will be performed by the renowned Ehnes Quartet, which is comprised of Arron, and his internationally acclaimed colleagues, violinist James Ehnes (a two-time GRAMMY winner), violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, and violist Richard O’Neill.  Arron describes the group as “the string quartet of my dreams,” noting, “We all share a deep passion for the [Beethoven] quartets.” The Ehnes Quartet is also performing the cycle at the Seattle Chamber Music Society: the first group of three concerts was performed in January and the second will be given in July.

In a departure from Musical Masterworks usual Saturday (5 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.) performances, Arron has added a Friday (7 p.m.) performance to both the March and May concert weekends.  The six concerts will not be presented in strict order of composition, but rather in a manner that, as far as possible, includes a quartet from each period in every concert.

When he took over as Artistic Director 11 years ago, Arron inherited a tradition of “Talking from the stage [immediately prior to a concert],” by way of giving an introduction to the upcoming music to the audience. He plans to do that before each quartet in these six concerts, but says, “My real goal is to create a bit of context,” adding with a chuckle, “I promise I’ll be a concise tour guide!”

Editor’s Note: To purchase a mini subscription ($100 each), a subscription to the Beethoven concerts or individual tickets ($40 adult; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Using Named Shoreline Conference Player of the Year, Sheffield, Doll, Ritchie Also All Honored

Aedan Using, who has been named Shoreline Conference Player of the Year, gives his mom, Carina Using, a hug on Senior Night at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

LYME-OLD LYME — Yesterday Lyme-Old Lyme’s lead scorer and “Big Man” (6 ft. 5 in.) senior Aedan Using was unanimously selected as the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year.

Last season he was named to the CIAC Division V All-State First Team and next fall will play basketball at Brandeis University.

Also, Using’s team mates and fellow Seniors Brady Sheffield and Ray Doll were named to the First and Second Conference teams respectively, while Senior Jared Ritchie received an Honorable Mention.

A delighted coach Kirk Kaczor commented to LymeLine, “It’s the first time we’ve ever had that many kids honored.”

This evening at 7:30 p.m. top seeds Old Lyme face Cromwell, seeded fifth, in a Shoreline Conference Championship semifinal to be playd in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School gym. The match-up is a repeat of last year’s hard-fought Conference final, which Old Lyme ultimately lost in overtime.

Asked for his thoughts on the upcoming game, Kaczor commented, “We’ve got a great opportunity Tuesday to play a very good Cromwell team.  It gives us a chance to get to the finals [this year] where we lost to them a year ago.”

The other semifinal is between second-seeded Valley and third seeds Morgan.

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‘After Alex’ by Boro of Old Lyme Selected for Inaugural ‘New Canaan Sculpture Trail’ Featuring Eight Outdoor Works

Gilbert Boro’s ‘After Alex 1/14’ has been selected from a large field of entries as one of the eight sculptures comprising the New Canaan Sculpture Trail.

OLD LYME — The New Canaan Land Trust (NCLT) and the Carriage Barn Arts Center recently announced the eight artists whose work has been selected for their ‘first of a kind’ outdoor public art exhibition, the New Canaan Sculpture Trail. One of those selected from the more than 70 submissions made is Gilbert Boro, whose residence and studio are both located on Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

Asked how he felt about his selection, Boro told LymeLine, “We are excited and, of course, honored to be participating in the New Canaan Sculpture Trail. Their goal is to connect audiences in a united call for creativity, innovation, and ambition as a way of recognizing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.” He added, “Considering the environmental, social and political disorder all about us, I believe that these public art displays bring some semblance of beauty to all of us who take the time to look.”

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his Old Lyme studio.

Boro’s work selected for the Sculpture Trail is After Alex I/14, which Boro describes as, “a hanging, kinetic sculpture made of welded stainless steel and highly-polished stainless steel spheres.”  He notes that the piece is inspired by the works of Alexander Calder and “is one of a series created during a surge of activity titled, “Balls, Beams, and Curves.”

Expanding further on the series, Boro explains that these sculptures were designed and fabricated in his studio over a period of nine to 10 years and can be installed indoors or outdoors.  He points out, “These kinetic sculptures are constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium – a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced,” adding, “The mirrored spheres have many meanings for me as an artist.”

A firm believer that “three-dimensional art should be handled, touched, and experienced in three dimensions,” Boro’s four-and-a-half-acre sculpture grounds adjacent to his studio at 80-1 Lyme Street, known as Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, offer free admission to the public year-round and offer the opportunity for all visitors, in Boro’s words, “to not only view my art, but touch and explore it.”  He says with passion, “It brings me great joy to watch people of all ages interacting with my sculptures.”

When asked to comment further on the specific piece chosen for the New Canaan Sculpture Trail, it is therefore no surprise in light of his personal philosophy that Boro says, “Most importantly, the viewers of the sculpture become part of the spheres, and thus, in turn, become a dynamic part of the space and subject material.”

The New Canaan Sculpture Trail will feature the selected outdoor sculptures at six New Canaan Land Trust preserves, the front lawn of the New Canaan Town Hall, and the courtyard of the Carriage Barn Arts Center. The four-month exhibit will run from April 1 through July 31, 2020, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which takes place on April 22. An Opening Celebration for the New Canaan Sculpture Trail will be held Saturday, April 25, at the Carriage Barn Arts Center.

The Exhibition Advisory Committee evaluated the submissions on their ability to respond to the scale, geography, and context of the properties and meet the criteria of being visually engaging, interactive, and distinctive. The committee included Hilary Wittmann, Executive Director of the Carriage Barn Arts Center, Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Thea Lanzisero, President of the Sculptors Guild, and Aaron Lefland, Executive Director of the New Canaan Land Trust.

“We are thrilled by the caliber and number of the submissions that we received,” commented Wittmann. “We believe the Sculpture Trail’s range of works and artists will draw both New Canaan residents and visitors alike to this inaugural exhibition.”

Artists throughout the New York metro area, New England, and as far as Illinois submitted the selected sculptures. The mediums of the planned sculptures range from a series of steel frames holding acrylic sheets, welded steel, wood, rocks, and even a fallen, “upcycled” tree harvested from one of the Land Trust’s preserves.  

Aaron Lefland elaborated: “Connecting audiences to art and nature on our preserves is a wonderful way to recognize the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We are overwhelmed by the number of submissions and the diversity of the sculptures.”

Apart from Boro, the artists selected to participate are Thomas S. Berntsen of Norwalk, CT; Joe Chirchirillo of North Bennington, VT; Carlos Davila of Bridgeport, CT; Christopher Kaczmarek of New York, NY; Elizabeth Knowles of New York, NY and William Thielesen of Illinois; Anthony Heinz May of Brooklyn, NY; and Matthius Neumann of Brooklyn, NY.

The New Canaan Sculpture Trail has been made possible by the generous support of Harlan and Lois Anderson Foundation, who serve as the lead sponsor for the exhibition. Their sponsorship, along with three contributing sponsors — Stuart Higley Family Foundation, AP Construction, and the Town of New Canaan — will help cover the costs of artist stipends, property preparation, maintenance, and promotional expenses.

Editor’s Notes:
For more information about Gil Boro, visit www.gilbertboro.com  For more information about the New Canaan Land Trust, visit www.newcanaanlandtrust.org  For more information about the Carriage Barn Arts Center, visit https://carriagebarn.org

 

 

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Proposed 2020-21 Budget for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Shows First Ever Decrease Over Current Year

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

LYME-OLD LYME — In what Superintendent Ian Neviaser said is a first for the district, the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education approved a proposed 2020-21 budget that is less than the current budget but does not cut programming or staff.

The $35,066,107 million budget is $18,651, or 0.05 percent less than the current $35,084,758 spending plan.

Neviaser said the decrease in large part is due to ..

Read the full article by Mary Biekert and published Feb. 10 on TheDay.com at this link. 

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Sen. Formica Supports Proposals to Increase Transparency, Oversight of Quasi Agency Reform

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) speaks during Tuesday’s press conference at which recommendations to increase transparency and oversight of Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies were presented.

HARTFORD/OLD LYME – Senator Paul Formica (R-20th), whose District includes Old Lyme, joined Senate and House Republicans at a press conference Tuesday to put forward recommendations to increase transparency and oversight of Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies.

Sen. Formica said, “There is no question that Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies handle vital functions for the state.  It is time to make sure these functions are being performed properly.  I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and offer solutions – specific reforms to increase transparency and prevent further issues.  We have a responsibility as legislators to protect taxpayers and enforce trust and transparency with all agencies including the quasi-public agencies.”

“Reforms that mandate accountability and transparency from quasi-public agencies must be in place before they are issued any more authority, projects or funding,” added Sen. Formica.

Proposals from this Senate Republican plan include:

  1.  Require submission of quasi-public agency separation agreements and contracts with an annual cost of over $50,000 or a duration of five years or greater to the Attorney General for review and comment before entering into or renewing any such contracts.
  2. Eliminate the State Code of Ethics carve out for quasi-publics regarding contracts with immediate family members. This change will strengthen the code of ethics application in quasi publics to prevent family members of employees from inappropriately benefiting financially through employment or contracts awarded.
  3. If any appointment has not been filled for 3 months, the Board of any quasi-public must send notice to those responsible for making appointment. If an appointment is not filled for more than 6 months after that, allow the Board to fill any such open appointment.
  4. Require all quasi publics to submit all salaries to the Comptroller’s office, OFA and committee of cognizance annually.
  5. Require all quasi-publics to submit any salary proposed that will exceed more than $200,000 or higher or a 5% or higher salary increase to the committee of cognizance. If no committee of cognizance, require such information be sent to the Appropriations Committee. Committees will review prior to salary becoming effective.
  6. Require each quasi-public to report annually to the committee of cognizance and appear before such committee to answer questions regarding such report.  The form and substance required in the report shall be set forth by OPM.
  7. Require all quasi-public agencies to submit financials to the Comptroller for disclosure on CORE.
  8. Require an Office of Policy and Management (OPM) designee to be on any finance committee of the board of any quasi-public entity.
  9. Charge the Department of Administrative Services with developing off the shelf policies and procedures that can be used by all quasi-publics with little modification.
  10. Extend Attorney/Client Privilege to members of the General Assembly, and its staff, State Auditors and the office of the Attorney General so that privilege is not waived by sharing materials with any of the entities.
  11. Require each quasi-public to report specified information annually to the Governor, Auditors of Public Accounts and Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Editor’s Notes: (i) Visit this link for a related article titled Republicans Question Lamont Administration Over Quasi-Public Agencies by Christine Stuart and published Feb. 11 on CTNewsJunkie.com.

(ii) This article is based on a press release issued by Sen. Paul Formica’s office.

(ii) Senator Paul Formica represents the residents of the 20th Senatorial District, which includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.

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New ‘estuary’ Magazine Focused on Connecticut River Watershed Launches This Month

OLD LYME — There’s a new magazine in town!

Estuary Ventures Inc. has announced the launch of a new quarterly magazine, titled estuary, about the “Life of the Connecticut River.”  Publisher and Old Lyme resident Dick Shriver tells LymeLine.com that estuary is for those who live in, care about, and are interested in, the Connecticut River watershed.

The magazine, available both online and in print, features stories about the Connecticut River’s science and conservation efforts, history, people, fish and other wildlife, places for recreation, and challenges for the future.

“We want our readers to luxuriate in the stories, photographs and other images,” says Shriver, adding, “With regard to conservation, we believe the more people there are who know what’s happening in the watershed, the more people there will be who will volunteer or otherwise contribute to take better care of it.”

Estuary is the only magazine dedicated to the entire watershed of the Connecticut River, all 410 miles of it.  The source of the River is near the Canadian border in New Hampshire and it then flows down New Hampshire’s border with Vermont, passing through western Massachusetts, and ultimately past Hartford and Essex to its mouth in Connecticut bordered by Old Saybrook on the west and Old Lyme on the east.

Dick Shriver

Sixty years ago, people who travelled along parts of the Connecticut River wore gas masks because of the malodorous and toxic surroundings along the way. Many, who now work on behalf of the River in a variety of ways, are thrilled that the River is once again, in Shriver’s words, “Clean, healthy and full of life,” though he quickly notes, “There is still so much more to improve.” The Connecticut River watershed is also home to many important tributaries such as the Deerfield, Farmington and Ottauquechee Rivers.

The first issue of estuary will be in subscribers’ mailboxes by Feb. 29. Online subscribers will be able to see the magazine sooner; the issues will be archived so that new subscribers will be able to access all back issues. 

Shriver explains the first issue focuses on, “Science and Conservation” and that the themes of the next three issues are respectively: Recreation; Birds, Migration and Wildlife; and History, Waterfowl and Ice. More than two dozen professional story tellers and photographers have contributed stories and visual essays for the first two issues.

It will be possible to obtain copies of back issues in print as long as supplies last. 

The online estuary magazine is available for $20 per year (four issues), and the print plus online combination for $40 per year.  Subscribe for either option at this link.

For more information about the magazine, visit estuarymagazine.com.  

For additional information and/or questions, contact Shriver at pubisher@estuarymagazine.com

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Hire East Haddam Op’s Director as Facilities Director, Succeeding 20-Year Incumbent John Rhodes

Ronald Turner is the newly-appointed Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Facilities Director.

LYME-OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools have announced that Ronald Turner has been hired to fill the position of Director of Facilities and Technology. Turner will replace John Rhodes, who is retiring after 20 years service to the district.

Turner is currently the Director of Operations for the Town of East Haddam, Conn., where he is responsible for 40 different properties including the entire school system. Prior to his work in East Haddam, Turner was employed by the Connecticut State Police for t22 years and brings a strong school safety background to the position.

He is a graduate of Skidmore College and stood out among a pool of over 50 candidates for the position.

He will begin his new position on March 2, 2020.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools to be Closed Nov. 3 to Serve as OL Polling Station for Presidential Election

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education voted at their last (Jan. 8) meeting  to approve a 2020-2021 School Calendar, which includes all schools being closed on Tuesday, Nov. 3, in order for the schools to serve as the Old Lyme Polling Station for the 2020 Presidential Election.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained to LymeLine that in light of the very high turnout anticipated for the election in November, Old Lyme Registrars Cathy Carter (R) and Marylin Clark (D) have asked to “shift voting to the schools.” This is because there is significantly more space available at the schools than exists at the current polling station location of  the Cross Lane Firehouse.

The LOL Schools Board of Education has now agreed to that request for November 2020, but a permanent change is still under discussion.

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Updates Shared at Community Connections on Lyme Academy, Old Lyme Economic Development

More than 40 community members attended the Community Connections Networking Luncheon held Wednesday at the Old Lyme Country Club. All photos by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Members of Lyme-Old Lyme non-profit, philanthropic and volunteer organizations heard first-hand updates Wednesday on two significant efforts that could shape the character and commerce of Old Lyme in coming years.

The Community Connections networking luncheon at the Old Lyme Country Club, attended by roughly 40 people, featured speakers from Lyme Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA) and the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission.

Lyme Academy Looks to the Future

Lyme Academy Executive Director Frank Burns and LAFA Board Member Sue Grey outlined the strategic planning process currently underway at the Academy. The 13-member volunteer Strategic Planning Committee made up of artists, educators and business leaders, has been meeting monthly to explore multiple short- and long-term collaborations with a broad range of arts, cultural and related organizations, businesses and enterprises.

“We’re trying to get back to where we were,” said Burns, who was appointed last summer to create a new business model for the institution, subsequent to the University of New Haven’s (UNH) decision to no longer include the academy as part of its institution. This includes seeking accreditation status again, something the academy had previously achieved when it became a college in 1996. When UNH took over Lyme Academy College in 2014, the College remained accredited under the UNH banner but with the announced withdrawl of UNH in 2018 (classes ended in 2019), that accreditation has been lost.

Burns said that while none of the 12 organizations, which were initially contacted to explore continuing the accreditation, expressed interest in 2018, there has been some new willingness at this time. Burns told LymeLine in a phone call Friday morning that the Strategic Planning Committee is in discussion with a number of institutions, which are reviewing the Academy’s courses and may enter into some form of joint programming arrangement with the Academy. He said if that were to happen, the Academy, “may be able to offer college credit under their [the partnering institution’s] name,” but stressed that discussions were ongoing and nothing was yet agreed.

Lyme Academy Executive Director Frank Burns stands behind Board Member Sue Grey as she addresses the audience. Community Connections Planning Committee member Jean Wilczynski is to the left.

“We are looking at all sorts of short-term and long-term collaborations with the arts world,” said Grey, who has an extensive background in strategic planning for non-profits and businesses, large and small, citing artists collaborations in other shoreline communities. She explained that the goal is to develop plans that respect and support the history, brand, mission and vision of the art academy so the emphasis is on longer-term sustainability and momentum. She noted the board is not immediately expecting to fill the academy’s 42,000 square feet of usable interior space.

Grey said she hopes to present workable recommendations to the board around May 1, although she welcomed any late-breaking ideas or proposals in the coming weeks.

Lyme Academy Board Member Sue Grey (seated in black) listens to Old Lyme EDC Co-Chair Howard Margules’s presentation.

“We’re trying to find partners that would be compatible with the academy and would fit with the town,” Burns said, noting that the academy does not own residential housing, and the board is not interested in getting into the housing market. While this poses challenges for artists-in-residence programs, he said the board recognizes the opportunities for continuing education programs that fit with the region’s aging demographics.

Burns reported that the Academy has been signed an agreement with The France Foundation, an Old Lyme-based continuing education provider for health care professionals, for the Foundation to lease just under 6,000 square feet of space in the Chandler Academic Center, which served as the former College’s administrative center. Burns mentioned in Friday’s phone conversaion that the Foundation is moving into the space this coming weekend.

“We want to be actively involved in the community,” he emphasized, citing the academy’s pumpkin painting venture with Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ students in October last year and how the Academy became a destination for families on Halloween. He also noted that the Academy was the site of Old Lyme’s annual tree-lighting ceremony in this past December and said more community arts activities, including ones based around Valentine’s Day and Easter themes, are in the works.

Next Steps for Old Lyme’s Economic Development

Musical Masterworks Administrative Director Rick Wyman checks the agenda while Old Lyme EDC Co-Chair Howard Margules speaks from the podium.

Economic development in Old Lyme is much more than pure economics, Howard Margules, co-chair of the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC), told the group. It embraces the values of the community and the town’s legacy. This includes arts and culture, maintaining a vibrant community that can continue to support these, and both an increased walkability and connectivity of discrete parts of town.

Margules outlined the effort undertaken by the EDC in past months. This includes a survey of residents and businesses and two SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis workshops conducted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) with community stakeholders, including business owners, non-profit organization leaders, clergy and interested residents.

Public participation in the online survey was record-breaking with 680 residents and 110 businesses responding, said Margules. Significantly, CERC staff said this was by far the highest response rate in town surveys since 150 responses would have been a more typical number, based on the postcard mailing and local outreach. He noted that 70 percent of responses were from people over 50-years-old.

An open Question & Answer session after the presentations drew active participation from the audience.

While data is still being analyzed before the full survey results and recommendations from CERC are made public, Margules said the EDC has given Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold a preliminary review.

Margules then went on to share highlights of the survey results with the Community Connections audience, noting first that most respondents said they wanted more shopping and dining in town, but that there also was a loud and consistent message to retain the character of Old Lyme.

“People overwhelmingly told us they want more development on Halls Road,” he said, pointing out that a majority responded positively while only 19 percent opposed any additional development there. Almost 75 percent of respondents said they wanted more green space in the Halls Road area. Meanwhile, businesses responded that they wanted more and better promotion, more of a town center, and to attract more younger people.

While there currently is no Halls Road plan, he mentioned that the next steps will be to come up with a master plan, which would require appropriate zoning changes. Development would be done primarily by the private property owners.

“The idea of ‘Let’s do nothing’ will not hold up,” Margules said firmly in respect of Halls Road and the town’s retail areas.

Commenting that,“Housing is a very muddled response,” he noted that respondents appear to support more affordable housing options for downsizing seniors and also college students, who wish to return to town but not be living in their parents’ basement.

Once completed, the CERC reports will be shared publicly. A final piece still to be undertaken is an extensive feasibility study. This will include specific recommendations of the kinds of retail and housing, based on survey responses and available areas in Old Lyme, and what has worked in other similar communities in the region and state.

Since the EDC operates without a budget and Old Lyme does not have a professional town planner, Margules said next steps include addressing how the recent surveys, SWOTs and recommendations will be utilized and incorporated into the town’s planning, zoning and economic development strategies.

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Needleman Appointed Senate Vice Chair of Planning & Development Committee

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

HARTFORD/LYME — State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), whose District includes the Town of Lyme, has been appointed Senate Vice Chair of the Planning & Development Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly by Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). As a condition of this appointment,  which as announced Tuesday, Sen. Needleman will step down from his position as Senate Vice Chair of the Banking Committee.

Sen. Needleman’s appointment to this committee is in addition to his existing roles as Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee and membership in the Commerce Committee, Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee and Transportation Committee.

“I look forward to starting work on the Planning & Development Committee, working to improve and streamline processes to assist our state’s municipalities and support further development in Connecticut,” said Sen. Needleman. “I would like to thank Senator Looney for his appointment and am excited to continue my work in the upcoming Legislative Session.”

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Judge Tells Miami Beach Association to Take Down Its Fence, Stop Charging Fees

OLD LYME — In perhaps the longest running dispute in Old Lyme, a judge gave a ruling in a 17-page Memorandum of Decision dated yesterday.

Karen Florin of The Day writes in today’s print edition of the paper, “New London Superior Court Judge Kimberly A. Knox, ruling in favor of residents of neighboring Sound View Beach, ordered the Miami Beach Association on Wednesday to take down a black chain-link fence it had erected at the end of the 2016 beach season and to stop charging people a “clean beach fee” to sit on the 800-foot stretch of sand.”

Read the full article titled “Judge: Old Lyme beach fence must come down” and published yesterday evening on theday.com at this link

 

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