August 9, 2020

State Rep. Carney Names Two Old Lyme Residents ‘Local Heroes;’ Datum, Seidner to Receive Official Citations

Old Lyme’s Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Datum

OLD LYME — When State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) put out a call for nominations of local heroes who have gone and continue to go above and beyond for others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle Noehren submitted the names of Old Lyme’s Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Datum and Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) Executive Director Mary Seidner.

Carney has now selected both women as Local Heroes, saying by email, “In the 23rd District, there is a wonderful sense of community and volunteerism. We see it all around us every day and it has been amplified over the past month and a half.”

He continued, “Thank you to both Jennifer and Mary for supporting those in need and for all of your work during this crisis – you are 23rd District Heroes.”

Datum and Seidner will be highlighted on State Rep. Carney’s Facebook page and receive official citations once the Legislature is back in session.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Executive Director Mary Seidner

According to Noehren’s nomination, Datum has helped many people in Old Lyme weather the storm this crisis has created. She interacts daily with people in need and helps them in a variety of ways, whether it be through financial assistance, an errand, help with groceries, or obtaining a mask. 

Datum has also developed a Lyme/Old Lyme Resource Guide that includes information about food banks and soup kitchens, local churches, Meals on Wheels, and so much more.

Noehren noted that Seidner has worked tirelessly to assist Lyme and Old Lyme residents and families with their needs and helped launch the LYSB Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was recently featured on NBC.

She and LYSB also created a mask program where people can drop off handmade mask donations to be given to community members who request them.

Editor’s Note: Michelle Noehren is the Senior Manager of Administration in the Old Lyme First Selectman’s Office.

 

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Free Lunches Available for Pick-up Behind LYSB, Tuesdays & Thursdays

LYME/OLD LYME — The Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) is launching the community’s first Summer Lunch Program for families who have been negatively impacted financially by COVID-19, or qualify for the SNAP or Free/Reduced Lunch Programs.

Funded by private donations, the Summer Lunch Program is organized by LYSB in partnership with the Social Services Departments from the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.

Free and nutritious lunches will be distributed curbside between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. behind LYSB on the middle school driveway, starting Thursday, July 16, and continuing every Tuesday and Thursday through Aug. 20.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Director Mary Seidner explained, “The school lunch program ended in June and we wanted to fill the gap to help feed children whose families are struggling to afford their basic needs.  Our community is so generous when neighbors need help.”

Seidner adds, “We are working with local restaurants to provide much of the food, and the lunches will be delicious!”
Lunches will be provided to any child 18 and under.

To learn more about LYSB’s Summer Lunch Program, contact LYSB at 860-434-7208 or visit www.lysb.org

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Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center to Reopen Aug. 3, Reservations Open Now for Short-term or Full Year

The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center on Lyme Street will reopen on Monday, Aug. 3.

OLD LYME — “I am thrilled it’s opening its doors again,” says Marie Ryan in a recent email to LymeLine referring to the reopening of the Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center (OLCLC) on Monday, Aug. 3.

An OLCLC Board member for more than 10 years, Ryan noted that the Center at 57 Lyme St. in Old Lyme is now accepting applications in all programs now for the 2020-2021 school year. There are also some spots still open for August if families need short-term care.

Kristen St. Germain, OLCLC Board President, notes that the issue on which most parents and caregivers are seeking reassurance is whether, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center is a safe place for young children.

She explains reassuringly, “The directors and staff of the OLCLC, with the help of our nurse, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control], Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood, Ledge Light Health District and our OLCLC Board of Directors, have been committed to opening safely and have created a thorough, comprehensive COVID safety plan for our reopening.”

St. Germain adds, “They have also done a deep professional cleaning of the entire center and established protocols that will allow our patrons to feel confident that their children are in capable, safe and loving hands.”

Stressing just how much work has been done to add COVID-19 safety standards and procedures to their operational procedures, St. Germain points out, “We have a nurse who was working very closely with us to help us create an environment where parents can trust we take their child’s safety very seriously. She has been amazing to work with as she is in the ER at L + M [Hospital] and knows what we need to do to keep our staff and families safe.”

The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center has been caring for young children since its founding more than 30 years ago by the late Connie Pike.

Ryan, who has been an OLCLC Board Member for over 10 years, comments, “I truly love the Center’s belief in children and am elated that we can continue Connie’s [the late Connie Pike was the founder of the OLCLC] vision.”

She emphasizes, “I really feel we have done the right things to open safely,” noting, “We have implemented mask wearing, social distancing, modified drop-off and pick-up times, new sick and health policy procedures as well as done a massive deep cleaning of the Center by a professional outside source. We have procured automatic hand-sanitizers, PPE and now even have a Greeter at the entrance!”

Meanwhile, St. Germain expands on how challenging the COVID-19 forced closure has been, saying, “Small businesses such as ours have really been hit hard but we are ready to open on Aug. 3 and we are hoping that our parents will return their children to our care so we can begin making revenue again.”

She also notes, “We are also hoping for new registrants as the new [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] preschool program, which is free, hurt us [financially] this last year as well.”

But on a positive note, she concludes, “We employee a large number of high school students each year and have kept a staff with little turnover, which is always nice. We have been in business well over 30 years and want to be able to continue providing excellent childcare for the people of shoreline Connecticut.”
Editor’s Note: For more information, to request a registration packet or reserve your child’s spot, contact Alison Zanardi at 860-434-1768 or email her at alison_baasp@comcast.net.
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Six Sculptures by Old Lyme Sculptor Gil Boro Featured in Stamford Downtown Outdoor Art Exhibit

Gilbert Boro’s ‘Helix Bench’ is on display in the Stamford Downtown Art Collective Exhibition.

STAMFORD, CT – Stamford Downtown is currently adorned with unique abstract art this summer as 34 sculptures, which are offered for free public viewing and enjoyment. These striking works of art line the streets and parks of the Downtown area and six sculptures by Old Lyme-based artist Gilbert Boro are featured in this major exhibit.

‘Turning Point’ is another of Boro’s six works on display in the outdoor exhibition.

Art Collective in Stamford Downtown is produced by Stamford Downtown and, apart from Boro’s works, feature sculptures on loan from five additional regional artists; Barry Gunderson, Lorann Jacobs, David Millen, Morris Norvin and Emily Teall.

The exhibition runs through August.

The organizers are offering Otocast, a free audio tour with an interactive map, sculpture photos, artist narratives, and information about many Downtown restaurants. This software application allows visitors to take a tour from home or in person. Download “Otocast” from the Apple App or Google Play Stores and choose Stamford, CT to access the tour.

All in-person visitors are requested to practice social distancing and wear a mask while enjoying this art exhibition.

Exhibition sponsors include The Cingari Family, Reckson, RXR Realty & LRC Construction, Andrew and Michael Whittingham & Families, First County Bank, NBCUniversal, One Stamford Realty, The Campus, 1937 West Main Street, True North Stamford, Highgrove, United Realty, Inc., The Palace, 95.9 The Fox, Star 99.9, WEBE 108, Stamford Advocate and Happyhaha.com.

For more information on the exhibit and to view a map of the sculpture locations, visit http://stamford-downtown.com/events/art-collective-art-in-public-places/

‘Sirocco’ certainly makes a splash in Downtown Stamford.

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Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

  • The 2020-21 school calendar has been changed so that all six teacher development days are at the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1.
  • Face coverings will be required by all persons in all school buildings. There will only be exceptions for verified medical reasons.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented by various means throughout all five schools. Neviaser noted they are now using the term ‘physical’ rather than ‘social’ since it is felt that students benefit from social engagement.
  • Cohorting will be introduced for students, in Neviaser’s words, “as best we can … to limit the number of interactions students have with larger groups.”

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

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No New COVID Cases in Lyme, Old Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine in a phone call yesterday, Thursday, July 16, that no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Old Lyme since our last report.

There remain 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme plus two fatalities. Eight of these surviving cases are male and the remaining 13 are female. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old male.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are now as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 48
  11. Female, age 85
  12. Female, age 95
  13. Female, age 20
  14. Female, age 43
  15. Female, age 48
  16. Male, age 70
  17. Male, age 67
  18. Female, age 68
  19. Male, age 73
  20. Male, age 21
  21. Female, age 48

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that Ledge Light Health District must report her as an Old Lyme resident.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case is a 34-year-old male.

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Letter to the Editor: Parks & Rec. Leaders Challenged Over Use of Old Lyme Ballfields by Private Entity That Brought in Hundreds of Out-of-Towners

To the Editor:

Old Lyme Parks and Rec. Commission has dedicated much of their energy over the last few years, and particularly the last few months, to limiting the activities in Hains Park. Most recently, this has been executed under three guiding principles: limit the use of public property by private entities, limit the use of Old Lyme property by out-of-town people, namely residents of Lyme, CT and control the spread of COVID-19.

On June 27, lifeguards and parking attendants were stationed at Hains Park to control the influx of out of towners, and ensure social distancing, at taxpayer expense. On that particular Saturday, 3 out of town visitors were identified and barred entry, out of a total of 8 park users. Meanwhile, across town, at Cross Lane, chaos reigned. A private entity had commandeered our ball fields and brought in hundreds of ball-players from as far as the COVID epicenter of Westchester County.

Inquiries have not yet revealed a completed Parks Usage Form, as required by Parks and Recreation posted rules. No social distancing practices were detectable. The Emergency Management Director had not been notified, as has been required in May at Hains Park. Parking was so renegade as to impede the egress of Old Lyme emergency vehicles, stationed at that facility. When the situation was brought to the attention of a Park and Rec employee on Saturday, alternative parking was recommended, but the event was allowed to continue on Sunday without any mitigations.

This inconsistency brings into question the integrity of Parks and Recreation leadership. It is time that Old Lyme taxpayers are served by leadership who actually cares about parks and recreation.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.

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Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools during the Board of Education meeting held virtually July 1.

LYME/OLD LYME — At its regular monthly meeting held virtually July 1 via Zoom, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education discussed the Connecticut State Department of Education’s plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which had been received the previous week.

The plan gives guidelines for reopening all schools in the state in fall 2020 and requires all Connecticut towns and regional school districts to submit their own specific plans for reopening, which incorporate the state’s guidelines, by July 24.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted that the 50-page document from the state, “Covers the major areas the state expects us to focus on,” which he said LOL Schools have broken down into five main sections.

The first is ‘Priorities,’ which gives “a general focus on a reopening model, in which every single student will have the opportunity to return in the fall,” adding that it does however, “have an allowance for students not to participate.” There are also requirements to appoint a School Liaison point-person, who will be available for any questions on the reopening of LOL Schools, and to create both a Communications Plan and a Data Collection Plan for the district.

The second section is ‘Operations,’ which includes the areas of facilities, cohorting, child nutrition (school lunches) and transportation. Neviaser commented that there was considerable work to be done to determine how lunches would be handled, but they “Won’t look the same.” He also mentioned that transportation is “the only area where they [the state] have identified a detailed description of what it will look like,” noting that all students will be required to wear masks on buses.

The third area of ‘Health Practices and Protocols’ focuses on training for staff regarding COVID-19 on, for example, how to sneeze and/or cough, and identifying symptoms of the virus. It also describes a Health Monitoring Plan, which must be maintained to record the numbers of COVID-19 cases reported, and also shared with the local health department.

A fourth area titled, ‘Family Support and Communication’ relates to the issues of social and emotional support with, “a strong focus on reconnecting students and families with school.”

The final section of ‘Staffing and Personnel’ relates to matters including teacher certification and professional development.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Chairman Diane Linderman listens as the Superintendent discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools.

Neviaser explained that two LOL Schools’ Committees — namely ‘Operations’ and ‘Distance Learning,’ (which Neviaser mentioned should now be called ‘Remote Learning’ to be consistent with the state’s terminology) — have been working intensively since the schools were closed in March.  The latter is planning models for both ‘blended’ (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and ‘at home’ programs since, in Neviaser’s word, “We need to be prepared for both of those.”

The superintendent had prepared a draft calendar for LOL Schools for the 2020-21 school year in which all six teacher development days are moved to the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1. The idea behind this proposal is that “a lot of educating for our staff” needs to take place before students can return, adding, “There is much more to open school this year than any other year.”

He stressed that the draft calendar is very tentative at this stage and still a topic of active discussion. Similarly, Neviaser noted that although a reopening plan has to be submitted to the state by July 24, things may still change after that, “on a day to day basis,” and emphasized the need for staff, students and parents to be flexible with adapting to the reopening procedures.  

Nevaiser stated the reopening plan, “will continue to evolve — even after school has started … What we say today could very well change two months from now … We fully anticipate that there will be changes and we recognize that we need to adapt to those changes.”

Questions from board members ranged from how the plan is going to be communicated to parents and how attendance will be recorded — especially in light of the ‘opt-out’ possibilities for students — to how the type of masks used by students will be regulated and what the provisions will be for teachers and/or students who are unable to wear masks.  There were also questions about whether additional staff would be required to implement the reopening plan and how the requirement for students to wear masks all day would be handled.

Neviaser responded that, in many cases, “We don’t have all the answers yet,” but said “mask-breaks” were being planned when students could remove their masks under certain specified circumstances.  He noted schools will be required to have isolation rooms for students and teachers who may have contracted COVID and emphasized that, “This is going to look slightly different at each school building … school principals will develop plans for their building.”

Regarding communication of the plan, Neviaser said he anticipated “providing information to parents” in late July or early August and would follow that with a parent survey seeking responses on whether their children would be returning to school, whether they would be using school buses (Neviaser noted use of buses will be discouraged where possible) and whether the student(s) would be using the school lunch service.

Neviaser summed up the whole reopening situation saying, “This is new to everyone. Schools have never run like this; we will adapt and improve, and work towards getting better at this every day.”

Editor’s Note: Olwen Logan contributed to this article.

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Pre-College Academy for HS Art Students Continues at Lyme Academy

Kimberly Monson will teach a week-long Drawing course for Pre-College students starting July 6. A few openings are still available.

OLD LYME — This summer Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is hosting a Pre-College Academy for high school students and a Middle School Academy for ages 11 -13.

High school students aged 14 to 18 with beginning to advanced level art training can enroll in an exciting series of week-long, daytime courses starting July 6 that further explore and expand their technical skill and abilities. Each week of classes costs $375.00 per student and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  All the courses will be taught by talented college faculty and aim to foster creativity, build artistic skill, and mentor personal vision in young artists.

The courses on offer include:

Drawing
Instructor: Kimberly Monson
July 6-10
$375.00

Illustration Essentials
Instructor: David Wenzel
July 13-17

World Building
Instructor: Jon Sideriadis
July 20-24

Oil Painting
Instructor: Michael Viera
July 27-31

Animation
Instructor: Roland Beccerra
Aug. 3 – 7

Sculpture
Instructor: Bruce Wallace
Aug. 10-14

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A la Carte: Not Your Normal Nachos … a Dipping Party with a Difference

Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash.

Last week, on Facebook, a friend sent me a terrific party idea that had me dreaming how much fun it would be. 

In a dining room (my friend says it is not her dining room table), someone plastic-wrapped an entire top of a dining room table, then dumped many big packages of tortilla chips around all the edges of the table.

In the center, there were big bowls of chopped onions, tomatoes, lettuces and chopped cilantro, along with sour cream and guacamole.

Just before the party began, they added pots of warm refried beans (black or pinto beans) and warmed queso (if it were me, it would be Velveeta).

Probably after a few Margaritas, the party would begin as the guests made their own nachos. 

Now, I would have done that on a big picnic table in the yard or on a deck or patio. Unfortunately, in the middle of a pandemic, big parties aren’t happening these days.

Maybe next summer, wouldn’t it be fun to do this?

Then again, with your own shelter-in-place family, you can do it this year. But this summer, consider dips with chips and fresh vegetables, outside, with no double-dipping. You can dip with toasted pita chips, tortilla chips or, best of all, sliced fresh vegetables.

My new Food Network magazine suggested five dips a bit more exciting than onion or warm artichoke. Here are three from the magazine’s July/August 2020.

Roasted Pepper Skordalia

Broil 2 large red bell peppers, turning, until charred, 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let steam 20 minutes. Remove skin, stems and seeds. Puree the peppers in a blender with ¼ cup each blanched almonds and lemon juice and 6 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook 2 russet potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks) and 6 smashed garlic cloves in salted simmering water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until dry, about 2 minutes; remove from the heat and mash. Fold in the pepper puree. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and top with chives.

Beet Cashew Butter Dip

Put three medium beets on a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil; wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes; let cool. Rub off the skins. Puree beets in a food processor with ¾ cup cashew butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ of one jalapeno, 1 small chopped garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon each chopped ginger and ground cumin; season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup fresh mint and puree until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil and top with more mint.

Tomatillo Guacamole

Cut 3 avocados, remove the pit and scoop out of the fruit. Smash the avocado and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 3 diced tomatillo (husked and rinsed). ½  cup diced cucumber, 2 chopped scallions, 3 tablespoons each chopped cilantro and pickled jalapeños and the juice of 1 lime; season with salt and to with more cilantro.

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 also for the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.

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Old Lyme’s Whippoorwill Rd. Parking Lot Closed Resulting in Changes to Open Space Access

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission has announced in a statement that the parking lot on Whippoorwill Rd. used by visitors to the Ames Open Space and McCulloch Family Open Space properties was closed July 1, 2020.

The owner of the parking lot has graciously allowed the town use his private property for many years for parking, but recently rescinded permission in anticipation of a possible land sale.

In response, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is actively exploring the feasibility of a new parking area on town land along the pentway (driveway) leading to the McCulloch property, adjacent to the former parking area.  As this may involve an archaeological assessment, survey and engineering work, land clearing and lot construction, it will likely become a future property amenity.

In the meantime, the Open Space Commission has announced the following access changes to trails:

Ames Open Space

  • The Whippoorwill Rd. access to the Ames Open Space will be closed until further notice.  This trail connector has been periodically flooded, rendering it unusable for periods of time in the past. Closure will resolve this issue and also allow beavers to occupy open space property without disturbance.
  • Ames Open Space trails may be accessed from the existing Evergreen Rd. entrance.

McCulloch Family Open Space

  • The yellow trailhead in the McCulloch Family Open Space will be accessible only by pedestrian and bicycle access.  Vehicle parking on the pentway leading to this trailhead is prohibited.
  • The yellow trail remains fully accessible for visitors and hikers, but without a parking area. This trail may also be accessed via either the property’s Tree in the Gap or Flat Rock Hill Rd. entrances, both of which remain fully open.
  • Maps showing the alternate open space entrances are available on the town website.
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Florence Griswold Museum Reopens to Public with 24-Hour Advance Tickets Only; New ‘Fresh Fields’ Exhibition on View

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum and Café Flo have reopened to the public.  Admission to the Museum is limited and by 24-hour advance online ticketing only. Check the Museum website for admission requirements and details of how to purchase tickets. Café Flo is open by reservation only.

Childe Hassam, Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme, 1904. 25 x 30 in., Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of the Vincent Dowling Family Foundation in Honor of Director Emeritus Jeffrey Andersen.

Visitors to the Museum will be greeted with a new exhibition, Fresh Fields, which is a celebration of the Museum’s most beloved landscape paintings created by Impressionist artists who visited Old Lyme. The exhibition opens July 7 and runs through Nov. 1.

The selection highlights major recent acquisitions, such as Childe Hassam’s Apple Trees in BloomOld Lyme (1904), and emphasizes ongoing research about the local landscape that informed development of the Artists’ Trail.

Paintings, drawings, archival materials, and photographs will shed light on the history and ecology of Old Lyme, which caused it to become a gathering place for artists.

The exhibition also calls upon the knowledge and viewpoints of outside experts to build an interdisciplinary understanding. In addition to the Museum’s own curators and art history scholars, contributors will include an ecologist, members of the local Native American community, and experts on women’s history and African-American history.

Fresh Fields relies on those with expertise in these areas to help create a more complete understanding of the human history, culture, and values that shaped these Impressionist landscapes.

Editor’s Note: Remember that the Museum grounds are open and in bloom now — no need to wait for the reopening of the Museum to enjoy them!

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A New Independence Day Parade Tradition Starts on Rogers Lake

In the spirit of Independence Day, Lady Liberty stood tall on board one of the boats.

OLD LYME — Undoubtedly disappointed that both the Sound View and Lyme Independence Day parades were cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, Rogers Lake residents took matters into their own hands and came up with an inspired solution to the social distancing issue associated with parades.

Rogers Lake West Shores Association President Dave Evers (standing center) waved cheerfully to the lakeside onlookers.

They organized at very short notice the “1st Annual Rogers Lake 4th of July Boat Parade,” which was held Saturday morning. It lasted over and hour and was in the words of the Rogers Lake West Shores Association (RLWSA) Facebook page author, “a complete success.”

Appropriately-decorated boats of all shapes and sizes joined the cheerful parade, which Maureen Plumleigh described succinctly to LymeLine as, “Colorful, noisy and just plain fun.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) took the opportunity to enjoy the day out on the water … and do a little campaigning for the upcoming election!

We are very grateful to the RLWSA for sharing their great photos with us of this wonderful new tradition so that our readers can now enjoy the event too!

Flags … and fun!

 

 

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Letter to the Editor: Sen. Formica Clarifies His Support of Expanding CT’s Absentee Ballot Rules

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see David Collins write columns in The Day, (“Can Connecticut GOP block safe voting,” June 11 and “The two sides of Sen. Formica’s mouth on early voting,” June 26), which ignore many facts and try to paint all Connecticut Republicans as wanting to risk people’s lives in a public health emergency as a way of suppressing votes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Contrary to what is stated in Collins’ columns, I absolutely believe that in the current environment there is a need for vulnerable populations and those with preexisting conditions to vote by absentee ballot, and if Collins had called me before writing columns attacking me, I would have explained my perspective in detail. In this unique situation, I support no-excuse absentee ballots for all people, with proper safeguards in place to ensure every legal vote is counted.

As much as I would like to see every person be able to vote by absentee ballot, there is also a state constitutional question as to whether any legislature or governor has the ability to change the laws on absentee ballots because of the restrictions contained in the Connecticut Constitution. That document can only be changed by Connecticut voters through a ballot question, not by the legislature, governor or any state official.

The Connecticut Constitution does not allow for no-excuse absentee ballots, and states that the legislature may define laws for voting absentee only if a person is, “unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity.”

The question of what the legislature can do within these limits is currently being discussed amongst legislators and being looked at by the courts. We are awaiting an answer.

Collins wrongly jumps to conclusions about me based on a vote that took place last year long before the COVID-19 pandemic on a proposal to allow for early in-person voting, a different issue. I voted against a referendum on early in-person voting because there was no provision for a safe and secure method for which the early voting was to occur. Instead, the bill asked for a modification to the Constitution and left the safety and security provisions to be defined later. I thought it would have been fairly simple to outline the way early voting would occur with proper protections — in a town clerk’s office during a preset time period for example — and thought that was an important piece missing from the legislation.

While Collins’ intent seems to be designed to lump me and my Republican colleagues in with the division of Washington D.C., I have always worked with people on both sides of the aisle to reach solutions that help Connecticut residents. This issue is no different.

Our job as lawmakers is to make sure we have policies that protect everyone’s rights, including access to voting, the integrity of their vote and upholding the Constitution. If we can address the constitutional question and get clarity from the court as to what the legislature can legally do in regard to absentee ballots, I would vote for no-excuse absentee ballots for all, with proper safeguards during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

State Sen. Paul Formica,
Hartford & East Lyme.

Editor’s Note: State 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. He serves as Deputy Senate Republican Leader, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and the Energy and Technology Committee, and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tourism Caucus. 

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Police Investigating Knife and Shovel Attack in Old Lyme That Sent Three to Hospital (from ‘The Day’)

OLD LYME — UPDATED 7:43pm

Two people were stabbed and another was struck in the head with a shovel during a Saturday night fight in front of a home at 80 Rogers Lake Trail.

State police are investigating and said Sunday they expect to file charges.

Police said they received multiple 911 calls around …

Visit this link to read the full article by Erica Moser and published July 5 on TheDay.com.

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Old Lyme BOS Votes to Hold Summer Fireworks, July 25, Despite No Midsummer Festival This Year

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display traditionally rounds off Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival. The festival is not being held this year but the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted June 30 to hold the fireworks display July 25 regardless.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday afternoon (June 30) at a Special Meeting to hold the annual fireworks celebration that normally takes place in the evening following the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival.  This is a significant decision since the Midsummer Festival itself, scheduled for Saturday, July 25, will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selectmen’s plan is to hold the fireworks on the evening of Saturday, July 25, with a raindate of Sunday, July 26.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold, however, clarified to LymeLine in a text this morning that the event is still subject to a number of caveats, stating the fireworks will be held, “… subject, of course, to state and local requirements.” and also that, “We have verbal permission from the school but we must be sure the new solar panels are not harmed.”

Griswold confirmed that, assuming the fireworks go ahead, there will be no shuttle bus service this year due to social distancing constraints.

He added that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, ” … believes the fireworks will be a welcome family event for the people of Old Lyme!”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read our earlier story published June 22, titled, “Will There Be Fireworks in Old Lyme This Year?”

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Offers Small Group Eco-adventures in Lyme, Old Lyme for Ages 10-15

“Ponding” with RTPEC instructors is always an educational and fun experience. Photo from RTPEC.

LYME-OLD LYME — What lies beneath the water? How can you find your way in the woods? Can you use cabbage to create art?

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) is offering small group, in-person programming to explore these questions and more beginning July 13 and following all current COVID-19 safety procedures. The RTPEC building on Halls Rd. will, however, remain closed.

Join in hands-on activities while discovering local biodiversity, using scientific tools, and creating beautiful natural art pieces. Morgan Allen, a RTPEC teacher-naturalist, will lead participants in outdoor, experiential field programs focusing on different daily topics in different locations.

Pond Exploration at Jewett Preserve in Lyme 
Monday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Tuesday, July 21, 3 – 5 p.m.
Join Allen in exploring what plants and animals may live in the pond using nets, solar microscopes, and more. Discover the chemical characteristics of the pond by learning how to take temperature and pH samples. Test the water quality using our Creek Critter app to identify macroinvertebrates and learn how to become a citizen scientist. Bring close-toed water shoes, a towel, and wear clothing that can get wet.

Hiking Adventures at Beckett Hill State Park in Lyme
Wednesday, July 15, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Thursday, July, 23, 3 – 5 p.m. 
Take an adventure into the woods. Learn how to use binoculars, solar scopes, and field guides to identify plants and animals. Use a soil sieve to discover what’s hiding in the soil.  Not sure which way you are traveling? Learn how to use a compass to navigate your way. Wear sturdy hiking shoes.

Art in Nature at Ferry Landing State Park in Old Lyme
Friday, July 17, 10 a.m – 12 p.m. and Saturday, July 25, 3 – 5 pm 
Release the artist within! Over these two hours, Allen will teach participants how to create a variety of natural art pieces including designing a seascape with sand and shells, clay pressings using natural materials, and making your own natural tie-dye. Wear clothing that can get messy and something to tie-dye.

To register and for more information, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events/
Register for one, two, or three days. There is a 10-person maximum for each day.
The price is $30 RTPEC member/day, $35 non-member/day; $75 RTPEC member/three days, $90 non-member/three days.

Each child should bring a water bottle daily.

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

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Saint Ann’s Nearly New Shop in Old Lyme Reopens for Sales

The Nearly New Shop of Saint Ann’s Parish.

OLD LYME — The Nearly New Shop of Saint Ann’s Parish will start accepting consignments again Monday, June 22. The Shop will be open every day next week through Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Shop will reopen for sales starting Wednesday, July 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Henceforward, it will be open every Tuesdays through Saturdays at the same time.

Clothes for consignment should be clean, wrinkle free, and on hangers. Forms should be filled out with item detail or can be provided at the time of your visit.

All customers are reminded that properly worn face masks must be worn at all times while visiting the Nearly New Shop and similarly social distancing must be practiced at all times.

The Shop is located  at 70 Shore Rd. (corner of Shore and Mile Creek Rd’s.)

The Shop management says, “We are beyond excited to be opening our doors once again. Although you won’t be able to see our smiles when you walk in the door, know we’ll be grinning ear to ear under our masks!”

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Neviaser “Very Pleased” with Governor’s Plan to Reopen All CT Schools in Fall 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

OLD LYME — Asked his reaction to Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona’s announcement yesterday that all schools statewide should plan to reopen to all students in the fall of 2020, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine exclusively by phone this morning that he is “very pleased with the Governor’s plan.”

The plan calls for mandatory mask-wearing by students and staff with certain exceptions, cohorting so that teams function independently as much as possible, and social distancing combined with heightened health and safety protocols.

The full press release from the Governor’s office is published in its entirety below.

Neviaser said, “I’m especially glad to see that they’re giving local flexibility … one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to schools … schools are different sizes, have different populations … or to put it another way, we’re different from Old Saybrook and East Lyme … and Hartford.”

Regarding next steps, Neviaser explained, “We have two committees already in place that have been anxiously awaiting this guidance.” He said that apart from the full return to school option, they have been looking into “remote learning” and also “a hybrid model with students coming into school on alternate days.”

Now the committees will work intensively to determine the optimum ways to implement the Governor’s plans specifically for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Neviaser said, “Ideally, we’ll get everyone back [to school] in a way that follows all the guidelines to keeps students and staff safe.” He added that LOL Schools will be working with the local health departments to ensure they comply with all health and safety guidelines.

Asked whether he thought the fall sports program would take place, Neviaser responded, “We intend to [have it in place] … the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) does too [for all schools in the conference] — we just don’t have any details yet.”

Finally, Neviaser noted that he does not know yet whether LOL Schools will have to supply masks to students and faculty, if the state will supply them or if students and faculty will be required to supply their own. Indicating he awaits further direction on that, he said that in the meantime, “I just have no idea.”

The following is the full press release issued by Governor Ned Lamont’s office yesterday, June 25:  Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona announced details yesterday of the framework to allow all students – in all school districts statewide – the opportunity to have access to in-school, full-time instruction at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, as long as public health data continues to support this model.

While Connecticut has determined reopening schools for in-person instruction can be achieved based upon the state’s successful COVID-19 containment efforts, this model will be supported with more intensive mitigation strategies and specific monitoring, containment, and class cancellation plans.

“While we’ve made good strides to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the virus hasn’t gone away and we need to do what we can to keep students and staff safe while also doing our best to provide our young people with access to an education that prepares them for the future,” Governor Lamont said.

He continued, “Working with public health and medical experts, and with the support of our educators, we are preparing a number of steps that protect the health and safety of everyone who makes contact with our school system.”

In assessing the approach to a required operating model, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) considered input from school representatives, educators, families, students, educational stakeholders, advocacy organizations, and union representatives. The department conducted a review of nationally and globally published school reopening plans. The importance of access to in-person schooling rose as a priority related to educational opportunities, safety, wellbeing, and social-emotional learning.

“This pandemic represents more than a virus, it represents an historic disruption to our school communities and created barriers to how we best deliver academic and non-academic supports in a way that is accessible, equitable, and meaningful,” Commissioner Cardona said.

“Addressing the educational setbacks and the social-emotional toll caused by COVID-19 is best addressed by maximizing in-person instructional time,” noted Cardona, adding, “In developing this plan, we worked in close consultation with public health officials to prioritize the safety of our school communities and, just as intensively, engaged students, parents, and educators for their critical input. We stand with our districts, educators and families as we commit to making 2020-21 a year devoted to creativity, innovation, courage, and reimagining education together.”

In addition to the framework released today, SDE plans to release a more detailed guidance document next week that will provide more comprehensive information for school districts.

**DownloadExecutive summary of Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning
**DownloadPresentation on Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning

Framework for Connecticut Schools During the 2020-21 Academic Year
Guiding Principles

As Connecticut schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this framework are grounded in six guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
  2. Allowing all students the opportunity to return into the classrooms full time starting in the fall;
  3. Monitoring the school populations and, when necessary, potentially cancelling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption;
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff; and
  6. Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students when they are not in school.

These guiding principles require all districts to develop their plans with a certain level of consistency, however they retain wide discretion in implementing approaches to reopening given unique local considerations. School districts must balance their planning with contingency plans to provide robust, blended learning or remote learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or region has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions.

Main Operational Considerations

Cohorting

  • Districts should emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
  • Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.

Social Distancing and Facilities

  • Review building space and reconfigure available classroom space, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.

Transportation

  • Districts should plan for buses to operate close to capacity with heightened health and safety protocols, including requiring all students and operators wear face coverings.
  • Plans must be developed to activate increased social distancing protocols based upon community spread.

Face Coverings

  • All staff and students will be expected to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building, except for certain exceptions including when teachers are providing instruction.

Ensuring Equity and Access

  • Equitable access to education is a top priority that supports a full-time in-school model by mitigating any barriers to education or opportunity gaps that increased during the pandemic. Efforts to support equity, close the opportunity gap, and provide a wide range of support for students in the state is best achieved with in-person schooling opportunities for all ages.
  • Districts should identify gaps and develop action plans for reopening that specifically address inclusion, equity, and access for all learners with strategies and clearly defined action steps.
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Ivoryton Women Playwrights Festival Now Accepting Submissions for 2021; Positions as Directors, Readers Also Open

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse has announced their Fifth Annual Ivoryton Women Playwrights Festival (IWPF.) Submissions of one-act plays by women playwrights are sought.
The IWPF provides the four writers whose work is chosen paid travel to Ivoryton and housing while there, three days of intensive workshops with a director and actors for play development and participation in a staged reading festival in February/March 2021 (actual dates to be determined).
There is also a $500 stipend.
Ten-minute plays are acceptable, and all plays must run no more than one hour.
Completed manuscripts must be submitted by email only.  Closing date for submissions is Aug. 30, 2020.
Interested playwrights should email a completed manuscript, (for musicals include a script and music file), with name and contact information.
The IWPF also seeks resumes from directors (Connecticut residents only), and those interested in being readers, both men and women.

Play submissions, resumes from directors and interested readers should be emailed to Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director at jhubbard@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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