February 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Specifically:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on black bears, visit this link.

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NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Needleman For State Senate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lyme Resident Simmons Join Boston Law Firm

Courtney A. Simmons

The Boston law firm of Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C. has announced that Ccourtney A. Simmons, a lifelong resident of Lyme, Conn., has joined the firm’s Litigation practice. Ms. Simmons assists clients in commercial litigation and real estate disputes.

Prior to joining Davis Malm, Simmons served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Mark V. Green, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Honorable Robert B. Foster and the Honorable Howard P. Speicher, both of the Massachusetts Land Court. Ms. Simmons received a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.S. from the University of Delaware.

Davis Malm President Amy L. Fracassini, said, “We are focused on growing the firm by recruiting talented up-and-coming attorneys who share our goal to provide excellent client service. We are delighted to have Courtney on the Davis Malm team.”

Simmons commented, “I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues and using my prior experience to assist clients in their legal matters.”

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1979, Davis Malm is a premier mid-sized, full-service New England firm. The firm provides sophisticated legal representation to local, national, and international public and private businesses, institutions, and individuals in a wide spectrum of industries. The attorneys at the firm practice at the top level of the profession and deliver successful results to clients through direct partner involvement, responsive client service, and practical and creative problem solving. Davis Malm is the member firm for the International Lawyers Network representing Massachusetts and northern New England.

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University of New Haven to Stop Granting Degrees at Lyme Academy in 2019

The sign at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts prior to its take-over by the University of New Haven.

A meeting is being held this afternoon at Lyme Academy at 4:30 p.m. to which all “alumni and friends of the college” are invited to discuss the future of the college.  The meeting is hosted by University of New Haven President Steven Kaplan and Lyme Academy Dean Todd Jokl.

It is being held in response to the UNH Board of Governor’s announcement last Monday afternoon that it, “has decided, effective at the end of the academic year in May 2019, to discontinue the University’s degree-granting academic offerings on the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts campus in Old Lyme.”

In a letter to alumni and friends of the college, UNH President Steve Kaplan and Lyme Academy Campus Dean Todd Jokl say, ” We realize that this decision may come as a shock, and we know that there is little we can say that will allay any disappointment you have.” They continue, “All students accepted to begin this fall and those currently enrolled in B.F.A. programs at Lyme will be able to finish the 2018-19 academic year on the Lyme campus, with all programs fully operational and with no changes to residential or student-life services.”

After the end of the 2018-19 academic year, the BFA Illustration program at Lyme Academy will relocate to the main UNH campus at West Haven.  It is unclear at this point what will happen to the other three majors that the Academy offers, namely painting, drawing and sculpture.  The letter mentions the possibility of “continuing in those disciplines through an articulation agreement that we are in the process of establishing with the University of Hartford.”

The letter states, “Candidly, with the benefit of hindsight, this decision was made more with our hearts than with our heads, and the challenges we have faced at Lyme over the past four years have been greater than anticipated.”

Reaction to the news, which was given to current students, staff, faculty and alumni on Monday, was swift and numerous posts on Facebook expressed both sadness and anger.  Questions were raised about the future of the buildings at the Lyme campus, the timing of the announcement on the heels of the previous day’s major fundraiser at Ocean House, RI, and the use of the $1.1 million bequest to the college by Diana Atwood-Johnson.  There was also universal dismay in relation to the incoming freshmen who are due to start what they believed was a four-year BFA program later this month — one person commented on Facebook that their situation resembled a “bait and switch.”

Campus Dean Jokl said in an email to the publisher of LymeLine.com that, “The future of Lyme Academy will be determined in the months to come but I am hopeful it will be a vibrant arts education institution.”

The press release from UNH states that a Lyme Transition Task Force will be formed, “to consider future pathways for Lyme Academy College students,” adding that this Task Force will, “examine options for students in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Two potential options for students enrolled when current programs cease in May, 2019 have been identified: switching to a different art or design major offered at the West Haven campus, or continuing in those disciplines, through an articulation agreement with the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford.”

In the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the Lyme Academy section of the UNH website, it says in answer to the question, “What will happen to Lyme’s facilities?” that, “The Lyme Board will determine future plans for the campus.”  LymeLine.com has received many comments regarding the future of the campus and so, to serve our readers, we raised some initial questions with UNH.  We were referred to Lyn Chamberlin, UNH Vice President for Marketing and Communications, and her responses to our questions are detailed below:

Q: Can students who are enrolled as freshmen or transfer students starting this month receive a full refund? 

A: Of course. Questions may be directed to the Lyme Transition Team at 860.598.5067 or lymetransition@newhaven.edu or on the website:newhaven.edu/Lyme.

Q: What is the plan for the Southwick Commons? 

A: Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is in a multi-year contract with the developer, and as of now, there is no change.

Q: Can you comment on the timing of this announcement in light of Lyme holding a major fundraiser yesterday (Sunday)? 

A: We felt that it was in the best interest of new and returning students and their families to give them this news as soon as we could. This event had been scheduled for some time, and any money raised will be used to support our students this academic year.

 Q: Similarly, can you comment on the timing of this announcement in light of Lyme not holding its traditional major fundraiser, the ArtsBall, in June? 

A:There is no connection between these two events.

We asked SECoast, the independent not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the historic coastline communities of Connecticut and Rhode Island, for their reaction to the news. Their Executive Director Greg Stroud said, “Lyme Academy has provided outstanding classical art education for students in an irreplaceable setting that is home to American Impressionism. The future of the campus is of enormous importance to the very vital arts community of the region, and to the character of the surrounding historic district in Old Lyme. Obviously, moving forward, this will be a top priority for our organization.”

More to follow on this story.

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HOPE Partnership Receives $3.93 Million DOH Grant for Essex Affordable Housing

HOPE Partnership has been selected as a recipient of the Department of Housing (DOH) High Opportunity Area Housing grant.  This award, in the amount of $3.93 million, will provide for the conversion of commercial condominium offices into 17 affordable housing apartments in the Village of Centerbrook, Town of Essex.

In 2015, a HOPE Board member first suggested the idea that vacant and underutilized office space at Spencer’s Corner might be an ideal location for much-needed affordable housing.  A three story, commercial condo complex in the village of Centerbrook, Spencer’s Corner has had many vacancies, which provided an opportunity for HOPE to explore opportunities with the unit owners.

Over the past three years, HOPE has worked closely with town leaders, zoning officials, engineers, architects and other stakeholders to ensure a well thought out plan that would provide safe, affordable and stable housing to members of the community.  This project will be known as The Lofts at Spencer’s Corner with one-, two-, and three-bedroom units on the second and third floors with affordable rents based upon the sliding scale set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  HOPE has applied for the remaining financing needed through the Federal Home Loan Bank with Essex Savings Bank.

HOPE expresses gratitude to all those who have assisted in making this project a reality.  Working in partnership with their volunteer board of directors, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Essex Town leaders, Spencer’s Corner’s Association, their development team and with the support of State Senator Art Linares and State Representative Bob Siegrist  and Connecticut State Leadership, HOPE is advancing its mission of making affordable homes a reality for families in the community.

 Founded in April 2004, HOPE Partnership is a non-profit organization committed to advocating and developing affordable housing opportunities to support families living and working in southern Middlesex County and surrounding towns.  In 2015, HOPE merged with Old Lyme Affordable Housing and is committed to serving the needs of residents in the community.  HOPE’s purpose is to advocate for and create high-quality rental housing targeted to people earning between 50 and 80 percent of the local median income.

For more information, visit this link

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Mirroring CT Results, Lyme/Old Lyme Voters Choose Lamont, Stefanowski to Run for Governor; Linares Wins Locally But Loses at State Level

Democratic candidate for CT Governor Ned Lamont

Republican candidate for CT Governor Bob Stefanowski.

Democratic voters in Lyme and Old Lyme mirrored the state’s Primary results in choosing Ned Lamont to run as Governor over Joe Ganim by an overwhelming majority. Similarly, on the Republican side, both towns’ voters followed the state trend and created an upset by selecting Bob Stefanowski as their candidate for Governor over endorsed candidate Mark Boughton from a field of five.

In contrast, local State Senator Art Linares, (R- 33rd), who was running to be the Republican candidate for State Treasurer in November and whose District includes Lyme, won by a significant margin in both Lyme and Old Lyme.  He was, however, defeated at the state level by Thad Gray, who polled 73,673 votes compared to Linares’s 58,162.

Detailed results from our two towns are as follows:

LYME DEMOCRATS

Governor:
Ned Lamont*: 258

Joseph Ganim   16

Lieutenant Governor:
Susan Bysiewicz*: 156
Eva Bermudez Zimmerman:  116

Treasurer:
Shawn Wooden*:  182

Dita Bhargava:   85

Attorney General
William Tong*:  197
Paul Doyle:  24
Chris Mattei:  47

LYME REPUBLICANS

Governor:
Mark Boughton*:  22
Timothy Herbst:  39
Steve Obsitnik:  34
Bob Stefanowski:  70
David Stemerman:  41

Lieutenant Governor:
Joe Markley*: 61
Jayme Stevenson:  52
Erin Stewart:  81

U.S. Senator
Matthew Corey*:  149

Dominic Rapini:  37

State Treasurer:
Thad Gray*:  54
Art Linares:  143

Comptroller:
Kurt Miller*:  109
Mark Greenberg:  79

Attorney General:
Sue Hatfield*:  158
John Shaban:  34

OLD LYME DEMOCRATS

Governor:
Ned Lamont*: 575

Joseph Ganim   54

Lieutenant Governor:
Susan Bysiewicz*: 459
Eva Bermudez Zimmerman:  162

Treasurer:
Shawn Wooden*:  375

Dita Bhargava:   231

Attorney General
William Tong*:  325
Paul Doyle:  69
Chris Mattei:  227

OLD LYME REPUBLICANS

Governor:
Mark Boughton*:  115
Timothy Herbst:  94
Steve Obsitnik:  89
Bob Stefanowski:  181
David Stemerman:  108

Lieutenant Governor:
Joe Markley*: 211
Jayme Stevenson:  109
Erin Stewart:  235

U.S. Senator
Matthew Corey*:  407

Dominic Rapini:  116

State Treasurer:
Thad Gray*:  43
Art Linares:  365

Comptroller:
Kurt Miller*:  299
Mark Greenberg:  231

Attorney General:
Sue Hatfield*:  446
John Shaban:  100

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Lyme Library Offers Streaming Services from Hoopla, RB Digital

The Lyme Public Library is now offering streaming services from Hoopla and RB Digital.  Hoopla offers downloadable books and audio books, graphic novels, comic books, music, TV shows and movies. RB Digital offers British TV and movies from the Acorn Library, Indie Flix (independent films), The Great Courses Library, and Stingray Qello, the world’s largest collection of concert films and music documentaries.

Content from both Hoopla and RB Digital can be streamed to computers, portable devices and phones.

The services join the library’s other digital resources which include Overdrive downloadable books, audio books and magazines, Mango Languages, an online language learning tool offering over 70 languages, and FindIT CT and ResearchIT CT available from the Connecticut State Library.

Users must have a valid library card from the Lyme Public Library and can access the resources through the Library’s web site www.lymepl.org.

Patrons are encouraged to call the library at 860-434-2272 or stop in the Library if they have questions or need assistance.

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Jeannine Lewis Sworn In as Judge of Probate for Saybrook District, Includes Town of Lyme

Atty. Jeannine Lewis is sworn in as Judge of Probate for Saybrook Probate District by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

On Monday, July 23, Essex Attorney Jeannine Lewis was sworn in as the next judge of probate for the Saybrook Probate District in a ceremony held on the town green in Old Saybrook. The swearing-in was performed by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr.

Attorney Lewis was elected in November to fill the remaining term of Hon. Terrence B. Lomme, who retired the same week after eight years in service to the district. The Saybrook Probate District encompasses the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Attorney Lewis has focused her legal career on the types of cases typically handled by the probate court. She is particularly concerned with ensuring that the rights of the most vulnerable individuals who appear before the court are respected and upheld including the rights of the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and minor children. She has been actively involved in educating other attorneys regarding elder law and estate planning as immediate past chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Continuing Legal Education Committee. 

In addition, she is a contributing author of the manual used online by Connecticut’s Probate Court Administration to help train attorneys on how to properly represent clients in probate court. As a result of these accomplishments she was appointed to the Probate Court Administration’s Conservatorship Guidelines Committee, which developed standards of practice for Connecticut conservators that were published on July 1 of this year.

As a 17-year-resident of Essex, Lewis is also an active community member. She is a board member for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries and has been a meal site server for the organization for more than 10 years. In addition she is a community lecturer on end-of-life issues and the pro bono attorney for Sister Cities Essex Haiti.

Judge Lewis is running unopposed in the upcoming November election for a full four-year term as probate judge for the Saybrook Probate District.

For more information about Lewis and her qualifications, visit www.lewisforprobate.com.

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‘Greenhouse Beauty’ Opens in Old Lyme With Emphasis on Non-Toxic Skincare Products, Self-Love

Rachel Postovoit

Rachel Postovoit, owner of the newly-opened Greenhouse Beauty store in Old Lyme, never pictured herself owning a business.

Having studied music at the University of Connecticut with the intention of pursuing music education, Postovoit was devastated when she was rejected from the education program and could no longer become a teacher. “It shattered my perception of myself,” she says with unabashed honesty, “But it shaped my life in a very different path because I was like, ‘Well, what am I going to do? What am I good at?’”

Soon thereafter, Postovoit began working for Reliance House, a non-profit mental health organization based out of Norwich, and took a part-time job at Lush, a cosmetics retailer. Having loved make-up her whole life, she decided to pursue a career in cosmetics becoming first the store manager for Bare Minerals at Mohegan Sun, then opening her own store in Trumbull, and ultimately becoming a “color specialist” for Sephora.

She explains her lifelong passion for make-up this way, “As a kid, every friend, my mom, my sister, every person I could get my hands on, I would do their make-up. But I didn’t really get into skin care until my own skin became more of a struggle.”

The area in the store where facials and make-up are given is low-stress and inviting by design.

As Postovoit pursued different options to improve her skin, she quickly realized that there were many ingredients in products that she did not recognize. She began to research home remedies and started to make her own skincare products to ensure that there were no toxins in them that could jeopardize her health.

Postovoit carefully examines the ingredients of the products she sells to ensure there are no toxins included.

Postovoit decided to open Greenhouse Beauty to give people an opportunity to try new products that are safe and all-natural. Tucked in a little corner next to The Hideaway in the Old Lyme Shopping Center, the store feels comfortable and welcoming to all. “All of this is foreign to me,” she laughs. “I did 10 years in the retail world, but I’ve never owned my own business. I’m hoping that the community views it as their store. If you want your space, you can have it. If you want me pamper you, you can have that, too.”

Greenhouse Beauty offers a comfortable, relaxed setting to discuss personal skincare and make-up.

Greenhouse Beauty offers a relaxed, carefree environment with products that range from natural face cleansers to sweetly scented candles. A photo gallery hangs on the wall above a pale, blue couch, and various plants adorn the space. Postovoit wants get a piano as well, with hopes that people will feel more at-home and comfortable.

Shelves of products line the walls and Postovoit will discuss each customer’s needs individually to help make the optimum choice..

She explains,“I want people to feel like you can really just relax and be yourself,” she says. “I hid under my make-up for years, and it’s not a good feeling. I hope people are able to find themselves and fall in love with themselves, even just a little bit. Everyone’s trying to change themselves, but there’s only one you. You are a gift, and I want people to know that when they come here.”

Greenhouse Beauty is located at 19 Halls Rd. in Old Lyme and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.greenhousebeautyct.com

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$1.75M Funding for Old Lyme Library Renovations Passes Easily in Packed Meeting

There was standing room only for some residents attending Monday night’s Special Town Meeting in Old Lyme.

UPDATED 7/24: FULL STORY NOW ADDED — More than 140 people packed into the Meeting Hall at Old Lyme Town Hall Monday evening to cast their votes on whether the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library should receive $1.75 million from the town coffers to fund its planned renovations.

Library Director Katie Huffman explained the library needs in part to be renovated due to the dramatic changes that have occurred in the way people gather information in the past 25 years, when the last renovation took place.  The advent of social media and smartphones, the decreasing cost of technology, and a dramatic increase in publishing and the availability of information have changed people’s information needs.

She said, “More and more people are coming in with their devices … more people are studying remotely.” adding, “people need space for Skype interviews and to take exams.”  She pointed out these changes have resulted in a 70 percent increase in reference questions since the new building opened in 1996, a 90 percent increase in library programs, and a 140 percent increase in attendance at those programs.

Library Building Committee Chairman Ken Biega addresses the audience.

Drayton Fair, a principal architect from LLB Architects in Pawtucket, R.I. opened by saying,”Public libraries are reasserting themselves,” noting, “They should be the best place in town, where everyone is welcome.”  He agreed with Huffman that the increase in programming has been exponential and then went on to describe the proposed changes to the library under the renovation, summing them up as “We kept the best and improved the rest.”

He noted the staff would be moved up to the second floor, there would be “areas for tutoring, private study and Skype,” and a new Young Adult Area, which would be “acoustically separate.”  Fair added the plans also called for “opening up the Children’s Room … consolidating the Reference and Circulation functions at a central desk … and the creation of an outdoor reading terrace.”  He concluded enthusiastically, “I hope you’re all as excited about this as we are.”

Library Building Committee Chairman Ken Biega explained the costs of the project saying the total project cost will be $3.05 million.  This cost will include both construction and soft costs, such as furnishings, technology, and shelving.  It also includes a built-in construction contingency fund.

Significantly, the library has secured a $1.0 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library, thus dramatically reducing the impact of the funding required for the project on Old Lyme taxpayers.  Moreover, the library has committed to raising $300,000 through its own efforts and is requesting $1.75 million from the Town of Old Lyme. Biega raised a ripple of laughter in the audience when he commented, “Everyone has a little bit of skin in this game.”

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder discussed the impact of the project on homeowners in Old Lyme.  She said the owner of a house appraised at $347, 200 would pay conservatively an additional $24 per tax year for the next 15 years.  The respective number for a house appraised at $540,200 would be $38.  Reemsnyder cautioned that the Town was “not definitely borrowing the full amount,” and that, if that were the case, Old Lyme taxpayers would pay less.

Library Board Chairman Lynn Fairfield-Sonn answers questions from the audience..

After a couple of quick questions from the audience answered by Library Board Chairman Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, residents voted first in a hand vote that McGarry called in favor of the Ayes.  One resident, however, wanted to know the exact count and so the vote was repeated with residents holding up cards denoting they had been approved as legitimate Old Lyme taxpayers.  When the hand votes had been counted, McGarry announced to loud applause that the motion had passed by 104 votes to 30.

Harbor Commission Chairman Steve Ross proposes the new ordinance, with First Selectwoman Reemsnyder and Attorney McGarry standing behind him.

The second motion established a new ordinance to amend the Town’s Harbor Management Plan.  Harbor Commission Chairman Steve Ross explained the Town “needed a variance if there is a hardship” and this ordinance will create a procedure for the Harbor Management Commission to recommend variances from the Harbor Use Zone Standards of the Plan to a state or local permitting authority in Old Lyme waters.

After Ross had made a motion to approve the ordinance, McGarry called for a show of hands. There was no call for vote count this time and the motion was carried by a convincing margin.

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Affordable Housing Public Hearing Deadline Extended Again, This Time to Sept. 10


UPDATED 7/20, FULL REPORT NOW ADDED: Around 270 people showed up at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Tuesday evening for the third Public Hearing held by the Old Lyme Zoning Commission on the 37-unit Affordable Housing development on Neck Rd. proposed by HOPE and the Women’s Institute.  At the end of the almost three-hour sometimes contentious, sometimes rambling meeting, the commission voted at the applicant’s request to continue the Public Hearing to their next regular meeting on Sept. 10.

The meeting opened with commission member Jane Marsh reading from a letter submitted by Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was unable to attend the meeting. Reemsnyder had requested the letter be read into the zoning commission’s record.

In her letter, Reemsnyder explained the reason she had felt it necessary to write was because, “There are a range of accusations I feel must be directly addressed.”  She said the first was, “A conflict of interest,” and after explaining her position on the Advisory Council of HOPE was non-voting, she stated, “I have no personal stake in this development nor do I serve on any of the boards that must approve this application. By any standard, this does not even qualify as a perceived conflict of interest.”

The second accusation she cited was,“I brought this to our town.”  In answer to that, Reemsnyder wrote, “I support affordable housing for Old Lyme because it is a serious need and statutory mandates. Hence I have supported the mission of HOPE for years, never being secretive about it.”   She elaborated on the process that has been followed and clarified, “It is my longstanding and consistent policy to maintain the independence of our boards and commissions and to refrain from attempting directly to influence their decisions … I provided no comments, discussions or requests to any land use commission members.”

Finally, Reemsnyder noted she had seen an email stating, “The fix is in” suggesting this proposal is “… not going through the proper process.”  She responded in the letter, saying, “I have no idea what this refers to but if it is an allegation that someone is applying pressure to the zoning commission that would surely be news to me.”  Reemsnyder added, “The rumor that there has been an effort by me to “speed things along” with the town is “categorically untrue,” noting, “It is disturbing to see the misinformation going around about the application and the applicants.”

Reemsnyder concluded, “In the end it is you, the commission members, who have to abide by the rules for approving or denying affordable housing … I support each one of you.”

David Royston, who serves as attorney for HOPE and the Women’s Institute, makes a point during his preamble to a request being made by the Women’s Institute for an extension to the Public Hearing through Sept. 10.

Attorney David Royston, who represents the applicant, namely HOPE and the Women’s Institute, then took close to an hour to explain why he would be requesting an extension to the Public Hearing, primarily because several reports, which required responses from the applicants, had only been received in the last few days.  These included reports from the Old Lyme Fire Marshal David Roberge and the Town Engineer, Tom Metcalf.  Royston added he had also hoped to receive comments regarding the septic approval prior to the meeting, but that had not occurred.

Royston emphasized that “the position of the applicant” is not to “object in any fashion to scrutiny regarding health and safety issues” but rather that, “We understand fully the concerns of the community regarding the access driveway and the safety issues regarding emergency vehicles.” He stressed, “We want to assure you [Zoning Commission members] that every item raised will be addressed.”

Noting that an important concern of Metcalf was the entry driveway, Royston explained the applicant needed more time, “to allow these matters to be fully and professionally addressed.”

Kristen Anderson of the Women’s Institute made the official request for the extension on behalf of the applicant noting that continuing the Public Hearing to the zoning commission’s next regular meeting on Sept. 10 retained the application within the required legal timeline.  The Hearing would have to be closed on that date and a decision then given by the commission within 65 days after the meeting.

Land Use Coordinator Keith Rosenfeld (extreme left) listens intently as Zoning Commission Chairwoman Jane Cable (third from left) solicits input from other members of the commission during Tuesday’s Public Hearing.

Asking the audience to “Be kind” and “Don’t repeat,” Commission Chair Jane Cable then opened the floor to public comment.  Pamela Hamilton spoke first commenting initially on, “the bucolic and historic nature of Old Lyme,” and then noting that she had seen too many towns and villages, which had “frittered away their charm.” She stated firmly, “It is not elitist to treasure charm, history and beauty,” which drew spirited applause, adding, “The people of Old Lyme are a generous lot … they do not want to say,’We do not want affordable housing.’” She maintained their message was simply, “Build in some other location,” while adding in a questioning tone, “One wonders what the motivation is [for this site.]

Before calling the next speaker, Cable reminded the audience that the commission can only consider health and safety aspects of the proposal and urged speakers to restrict their comments to those matters.

An Old Lyme resident then went to the podium and questioned, “Have any of you stood on Sands Dr.? [the road almost opposite the Exit 70 exit ramp on Rte. 156/Neck Rd.] This is a public safety issue …  I just don’t see how this project has got this far.” He added, “You cannot do away with the safety problems it {the proposed development] will cause.  There is just no way.”

Old Lyme former First Selectman Tim Griswold, who noted he had served for 14 years, asked if the Zoning Commission had received a formal recommendation [regarding the proposed development] from the Old Lyme Selectmen’s Office or the State Police in Westbrook since the First Selectwoman and/or the Resident State Trooper “have jurisdiction over speeds, Stop signs.” Commission members indicated this was not case to which Griswold responded, “This is a deficiency that should be corrected.”

Hope’s Board of Directors President Tony Lyons, an Old Saybrook resident, said he wanted “to dispel” a couple of the points that were being communicated about the proposed development. First, he stated it is not “profit-motivated’ and second that HOPE” is looking to help people already here” rather than people from outside the area. He surmised, “Everyone in this room knows someone who has a housing issue … the millennial on your couch, the senior who has no senior housing.”

Lyons prompted jeers when he said, “This is not about traffic … traffic will be negligible.” He asked the audience where they have been for the past four years while HOPE has been looking for a site for affordable housing, saying, “We have been an open book.  We are a completely transparent organization.” Lyons also said the audience should think about the alternative if this project is not approved, speculating that “It will not be 37 units but 137 units,” built by a property developer.

In a more conciliatory tone, he said, “We are looking for help from everyone in this room to make this project the best we can.”

A resident of Wolcott Lane wondered whether additional police would be required for the increased town population resulting from the development.

Old Lyme resident Jill Pilgrim read the Fire Marshal’s letter, which had been submitted the previous day, into the record.  The letter raised nine comments, which required attention by the applicant, and its conclusion was, “Based upon its current submitted design(s) and our noted nonconformance to the Connecticut Fire Safety and Fire Prevention Codes, this Office cannot support this project at this time.”

One speaker noted it is possible to rent in Old Lyme and “you can find places to rent,” while a second commented, “There’s plenty of affordable housing in this own … that needs to be explored a little more.” He also suggested that the rents at River Oak Commons sounded high.

Speaker after speaker urged HOPE to reconsider the location of the development with possible sites proposed at the Ryefield Senior Housing and its environs and also on Hartford Ave. in Sound View. Concerns ranged from whether the end of a school bus picking up students would extend to the foot of the Exit 70 off-ramp, how children are going to cross Rte. 156 in order to reach Hall’s Rd., “a catastrophic accident,” and who will pay for the subsequently needed traffic lights and a rotary.  One resident described the locations “dangerous and absurd.”

Tom Ortoleva, a resident  of Old Lyme and a board member of HOPE, spoke passionately in support of the project noting he had never had difficulty turning right from the Exit 70 off-ramp and that, “Families that want to stay local [in Old Lyme] have to go to other towns … college students are moving away.” He surmised that Old Lyme would not be able to support volunteer Fire or Emergency Medical Technician Departments if this situation continued.

Ortoleva also stressed that concerns the development would turn into a “drug haven” were unfounded.  He had explored with the Old Saybrook Police Chief Mike Spera whether the Affordable Housing development at Ferry Crossing in that town had experienced higher crime rates than other parts of the town and the answer had been a definitive “No.”  Spera said there had been “no violent crimes or drug incidents at Ferry Crossing.”

Wes Swanson, another HOPE board member and pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook, urged the audience to consider the aspect of “health” in relation to River Oak Commons in the context of a “healthy community,” that is, one which is diverse and hospitable.  He submitted that “This proposal will enrich and enhance Old Lyme and contribute to the community’s well-being and growth.”

Dominic Pappa, an abutter of the proposed development, drew applause when he summed up many of the concerns of those objecting saying, “Affordable Housing is needed but it’s obvious to everyone in this room that this site has a health and safety issue.” He urged the commission not to extend the public hearing but rather to have a vote and, “make a decision.”

When evaluating the evidence before making their decision, Michael Fogliano recommended the commission should take care only to consider, “objective data.”

Finally, after more than two and a half hours of testimony and some confusion in the final minutes, the commission voted unanimously to extend the hearing to Sept. 10 as requested by the applicant.

Editor’s Note: Links to our stories on previous meetings regarding this Affordable Housing proposal are respectively at Boisterous Crowd Packs Middle School Auditorium to Listen to, Give Opinions on HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal published June 8, and At HOPE’s Request, Old Lyme Zoning Extends Affordable Housing Hearing Deadline to July 17 published June 13. There are also numerous Letters to the Editor on the subject in our Letters section and opinions in our Op-Ed’s section. The articles themselves also stimulated a wide variety of comments.

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Follow the ‘Vision Box’ Trail This Summer!


Through the balance of the summer, the public can follow the trail of Vision Boxes installed at four sites throughout Old Lyme. The boxes are up for three months — at the end of the project, the boxes will be auctioned. Resulting funds will be contributed to programs that bring urban youth to visit wilderness parks or refuges in the local area and give them the opportunity to draw in the field.

Working in collaboration with non-profit land trusts, the Open Space Commission, individual stewards and local artists, Ana Flores designed the Vision Box project.

Flores is the first Schumann Foundation Visiting Artist at the University of New Haven’s Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. She is an award-winning “ecological artist” probing the relationships between the human and natural history in different geographies. One of her goals as an artist is to encourage the public’s awareness of their local landscapes, deepening their connections to place because if we don’t care about something we will not help protect it.

This spring she has been teaching Environmental Art, introducing students to ecological artists and having them create projects that involve ecology, community engagement, and activism. She has also been exploring the unique environment of Old Lyme in preparation for a public art project. The Old Lyme landscape, with its conjunction of river, marshes, fields, and forests served as the inspiration for the American Impressionist movement in the early 20th century. For over three decades, well known painters traveled here to document the estuary landscape with its particular quality of light.

Flores believes there is a connection between the sustained gaze of these artists and the extraordinary efforts in conservation in the area. She says, “The artists gave the land value for its irreplaceable natural beauty and since the mid 1960’s Old Lyme citizens have been working hard to preserve some of the habitat that lured artists here. The Vision Box project reminds us that we cannot take for granted open space, mature trees, or a clean river – they exist only because of visionary stewardship and in the case of Old Lyme, inspiration from artists’ vision.”

There will be an Opening Reception for the Vision Box project Thursday, July 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, 84 Lyme Street, in Old Lyme.  All are welcome.

The Vision Boxes can be found at these locations:

  1. Ferry Landing Park:
    Walk to end of boardwalk, box on viewing platform.
  2. Watch Rock Preserve:
    Entrance at end of Joel Road, take Yellow trail 0.4 mile, box faces West over water.
  3. Lyme Art Association:
    Box faces stream, located near back parking area.
  4. Champlain North:
    Turn on Wyckford Road, go to end. Open space trails are not private. Take Red trail, bear right, 0.4 mile to Barbizon Oak and box.

The project is made possible with support and funding from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven.

Special thanks for their support of the project are given  to:

  • Patricia Shippee,
  • Deborah Quinn-Munson,
  • Sara Drought Nabel,
  • Rosamund Christison

Partners include:

  • Old Lyme Open Space Commission
  • Old Lyme Land Trust
  • CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental

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Courtney Joins Others in Cautioning President Trump Not to Undo 73 Years of European Stability

Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT Second Congressional District)

Yesterday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, joined 43 other members from the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees in releasing a joint statement regarding President Trump’s attendance at the NATO Summit and his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“As I have made clear over the last two years, our committees have been briefed by military and diplomatic personnel, as well as outside experts about the non-stop, focused efforts of the Russian government to disrupt the stable, democratic unity that has prevailed in Europe since the end of the Second World War,” said Courtney.“Whether it is election interference, the illegal annexation of Crimea, or the uncalled-for provocations at sea and in the air in the Baltics, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean, Russian military and intelligence forces are actively undermining the NATO alliance at every turn. My colleagues and I issued this statement to express our strong desire to the president that he should aggressively challenge President Putin on his government’s intentional violation of international law and norms.”

The 44 members said in their joint statement: “President Trump must not seek to undo the work that generations of American men and women have done to help defend and uphold democratic values throughout the transatlantic region. Europe returned from the devastation of the Second World War to prosperity largely due to the North Atlantic community’s commitments to its shared values and to collective defense. 

“The signals regarding potential outcomes that are coming from this administration in advance of the President’s upcoming trip to Europe are deeply concerning. Without question, in his upcoming meetings with NATO and President Putin, President Trump must continue to affirm America’s commitments to our allies, especially Article V of the Atlantic Treaty. He must not praise, condone, or abet any Russian efforts to undermine the sovereignty or democracy of any of our allies and partners. He must take a genuine stand against Russia’s cyber campaigns and its efforts to interfere in our elections. 

“President Trump must recognize the importance that our forward military presence and joint exercises play in deterring Russia and ensuring military readiness. He must not weaken this posture or suspend or cancel these crucial activities, nor emulate Russian propaganda attempting to discredit them.

“He must stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and against the illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory and maintain sanctions until the conditions in the law are met. He must follow the law passed every year through the National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting military-to-military cooperation with President Putin. And he must continue to stand by NATO’s open-door policy on the admittance of new members. The substance and symbolism of these upcoming meetings will matter. The future of the Atlantic alliance and the international order, which has helped make the world safer and more prosperous is at stake.”

The other 43 members who signed the statement are:

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Rep. James R. Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-MA), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), Rep.Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA), Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX),Rep. Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Rep. Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL), Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA).

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Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce Hosts Annual Dinner, Presents Scholarships, Elects Board Members

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce presented Senior Business Leadership Scholarships to Mason Swaney (left) and Amanda Marsh while Brandon Lee (right) was the recipient of the Chamber’s Senior Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce (LOLCC) held its Annual Dinner at the Old Lyme Country Club Wednesday, June 20.  Fifty-six people were present including state legislators, representatives from the Town of Old Lyme, and scholarship winners from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS).  It was a memorable evening for all present.

The Senior Business Leadership Scholarship awardees share an amusing moment with  Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Russ Gomes (second from right) and State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th).

The business section of the meeting opened with the Treasurer’s report by Tim Griswold, followed by LOLCC President Olwen Logan giving a review of the 2017-18 Chamber year. She reported that the four main goals of the year had all been met or surpassed;

  1. Increase Chamber Membership – Logan was pleased to announce membership has  risen from 60 in June 2017 to over 110 one year later.
  2. Publish a new “Chamber Member Directory and Visitor’s Guide” – publication of the new full color, 44-page guide was completed in March.  Copies are available in the Old Lyme Town Hall.
  3. Secure space for the Chamber in Old Lyme Town Hall – achieved with assistance from First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and her Assistant Cathy Frank.  Logan expressed thanks to both on behalf of the Chamber.
  4. Restoration of  the Chamber sponsored sign at the foot of the Exit 70 off-ramp was skillfully and carefully completed by Chamber member Sophie Marsh, who was honored with a bouquet in appreciation of her excellent work.

Logan also highlighted the many events organized throughout the year by the Chamber including Dinner Meetings at local restaurants, Business After Hours at a variety of locations, and Business Breakfasts.  She also mentioned some of the upcoming happenings through the summer, including Business After Hours at Lyme Art Association on July 18 and at the Bee and Thistle Inn on Aug. 15.

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) reads from the State Citation to the Chamber’s Senior Business Leadership Scholarship recipients. From left to right, Mason Swaney, Amanda Marsh, Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Russ Gomes, State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) and Carney.

Chamber Scholarships were then presented by State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th).  These were introduced by the Co-Chairs of the Scholarship Committee Russ Gomes and Olwen Logan.

The scholarship winners and their parents gathered together for this photo.

The recipients of LOLCC 2018 Business Leadership Awards were Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Mason Swaney and Amanda Marsh. Senior Brandon Lee was awarded the 2018 Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts. 

The Chamber also honored their Business Students of the Month from the 2017-18 school year at their Annual Dinner. From left to right, State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd), Aoife Hufford, Ann Cote, Alex Montville, Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Russ Gomes, State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th) and Olwen Logan, Chamber President and Scholarship Committee Co-Chair. Missing from photo is Patrick Looney.

Also honored at the meeting were the Chamber’s four Lyme-Old Lyme High School Business Students of the Month:

  • Patrick Looney,
  • Alex Montville,
  • Ann Cote
  • Aoife Hufford. 

Brandon Lee, winner of the Chamber’s Senior Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts glances at this high school art teacher and mentor Will Allik. Others in the photo from left to right are State Rep. Devin Carney, Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Russ Gomes, State Senator Paul Formica, Lee, Allik, Old Lyme Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal

The Chamber was honored that the Co-Chair of the LOLHS Business Department Joanne Hedwall and the Chair of the LOLHS Art Department Will Allik were also able to attend the dinner.

Finally, a new slate of board members was presented and then voted into office unanimously.  The officers for the year starting July 1, 2018 are:
Rich Shriver, President
Joann Lishing, Secretary
Tim Griswold, Treasurer. 

The Board of Directors is:
Gene Chmiel
Heather Gagnon
Dan Henderson
Doug LoPresti
Suzanne Thompson
Jean Wilczynski . 

Incoming President Shriver thanked outgoing President Logan for her leadership and many accomplishments and also thanked Gail Stevens for her contributions during her term on the board of directors.

The Old Lyme Country Club served a delicious meal in the beautiful main dining room and an enjoyable evening was had by all.

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