January 28, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition Responds to Hartford Fetanyl Tragedy, Encourages Community Approach to Substance Abuse Issues Locally

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Lyme-Old Lyme Community

I’m sure many of you have heard the tragic news about two recent drug exposure incidents in two Connecticut middle schools. Tragically, a young 13-year-old boy died after being exposed to fentanyl at his middle school in Hartford. The following day, five students were hospitalized after ingesting THC edibles (candy) at their New Haven middle school.
As we process these tragic incidents, the Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition is sharing resources and support to our community’s youth and families.
We strongly encourage you to join us and embrace a community approach to supporting youth and families around substance abuse prevention. Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) staff is working to schedule community Narcan trainings.
To receive prevention updates, visit this link to join our mailing list.
To find upcoming events and links to useful resources about current drug trends, conversation starters, and data, visit our website.
Our Coalition depends on input, expertise, and energy from community members, and we welcome you to our meetings. We are available to answer questions about substance abuse prevention, personal concerns, and be a resource to any youth, parent, or community member needing support, referrals, and/or guidance. Please let us know if we can be of help to you or your family. You can reach me at 860-434-7208 or by email at abehnke@lysb.org.
Sincerely,
Allison Behnke, MSW,
Old Lyme.
Editor’s Note: The author is the Prevention Coordinator at LYSB.

Ledge Light Health District Offers Free COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in New London, Tomorrow

Photo by CDC on Unsplash.

GROTON/LYME/OLD LYME — Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 29, from 12 to 4 p.m. at McDonald’s, 406 Colman Street, New London.

The Moderna vaccine and a limited supply of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be available for anyone who is 18 years or older and needs a first or second dose or is eligible for a booster dose. The Pfizer vaccine will be available to anyone who is 5 years or older.

No appointment, insurance, or ID is needed.

The current booster recommendations are:

For individuals who received the Moderna vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Severely immunocompromised at 1 month or more after their initial series.
  • Everyone 18+ at 5 months or more after their initial series.

For individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Severely immunocompromised at 1 month or more after their initial series.
  • Everyone 12+ at 5 months or more after their initial series.

For individuals who received the J&J vaccine, booster shots are recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Mixing & Matching (heterologous series): Both the FDA and CDC support individuals to receive a booster dose that is a different vaccine type than they originally received for their primary series if they choose. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Visit www.LLHD.org or follow LLHD on social media for additional clinic announcements!

Ledge Light Health District serves as the local health department for East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington and Waterford, Connecticut. As a health district, formed under Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-241, LLHD is a special unit of government, allowing member municipalities to provide comprehensive public health services to residents in a more efficient manner by consolidating the services within one organization.

LLHD’s mission statement – to prevent disease, illness and injury; to protect and nurture our environment; and to promote improved health and prosperity for all residents – describes in more detail their slogan of “promoting healthy communities.”

Old Lyme Basketball: Girls Soundly Defeat Saybrook; Girls, Boys Both Fall to Cromwell

Old Lyme freshman Kate Walsh, who was the top scorer for the Wildcats, dribbles the ball away from an opponent during the Cromwell game. All photos by Andrea Fenton.

OLD SAYBROOK: Last Saturday, Jan. 22, the Old Lyme girls, playing away, soundly defeated Old Saybrook in a solid 36-18 victory.

Freshman Kate Walsh led the Wildcat scoring with 13 points and two steals, while senior Ali Kyle added eight points with  seven steals. Senior Melanie Warren contributed seven points and fellow senior Megan Loflin notched three points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.

A delighted coach Don Bugbee commented after the game, “The girls played really hard throughout the game, especially on the defensive end of the court, and came away with a nice team effort and win.”

Kanon Oharu shoots for Old Lyme.

On Wednesday, Jan.25,  both the girls and boys’ teams were defeated by their respective Cromwell opponents. The boys, playing at home, lost 48-62 and the girls, playing away, fell by 35 points to 58.
Top scorers for the Old Lyme boys were Jacob Ritchie with 11 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals while Caden Monte added 10 points, three rebounds and one block.
Cromwell’s Jake Salafia not only scored 17 points but also made five three-pointers.

Old Lyme senior Megan Loflin and junior Alexis Fenton successfully block a shot in the Cromwell game.

Top scorer for the girls was freshman Kate Walsh with nine points.
The girls’ record is now 5-5 for the season and 3-5 in the Shoreline Conference.

The Country School Hosts On-Campus Open House, Sunday

The Country School at Madison hosts an in-person Open House, Jan. 30, 2022.

MADISON, CTThe Country School is hosting an on-campus Open House on Sunday, Jan. 30, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Join the event and meet engaged, inspired students and dynamic, passionate teachers. Hear about the school’s rigorous academic program and commitment to honoring the creativity, sense of wonder, and exuberance of childhood.

Learn about 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarships, available to students to applying for admission to grades 4 through 8 in the fall of 2022. The recipients of the merit scholarships will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving over 225 students in PreSchool through Grade 8.

To learn more and register for Open House, visit https://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/visit-us.

For information about our 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8, visit https://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/merit-scholarships.

Jan. 25 Daily COVID-19 Update: One New Case in Old Lyme Takes Cumulative Total to 930, Lyme’s Total Rises to 230 with Two New Cases

Photo by CDC on Unsplash,

LYME-OLD LYME — The Daily Data Report issued Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, around 4 p.m. by the Connecticut Department of Health(CT DPH) shows one new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme taking the town’s total of cumulative cases from 929 to 930. The last time Old Lyme recorded only one case was Nov. 29, 2021 and the most recent time zero cases were reported was Dec. 12, 2021.

Two new cases were reported in Lyme, taking that town’s cumulative total from 228 to 230. 

The next Daily Data Report will be issued by the state Wednesday, Jan. 26, around 4 p.m.

Statewide Data

On Jan. 24, in an article published in the Hartford Courant, Alex Putterman stated, “Connecticut continues to see significant improvement in its COVID-19 metrics, state numbers show, signaling an approaching end to its latest coronavirus surge. The state on Monday [Jan. 4] reported an 11.4% test positivity rate, lowest since late December, and a decrease of more than 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate on Tuesday, Jan. 25 was up from 11.36% on Jan. 24 to 13.74% but COVID-related hospitalizations decreased again by 31 to 1,446.

Of those hospitalized, 802 (representing 55.5%) are not fully vaccinated.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Connecticut rose to 9,773. (Source: NYTimes.com)

As we reported in our Thursday, Jan. 20 Daily COVID-19 Update, the COVID-19 Average Daily Case Rate Report issued by the state on that day showed that the total number of towns in the Red (highest) Zone for COVID-19 Case Rates remained constant at 168, leaving only one town in the state — Canaan — not in the Red Zone. This number of 168 is equivalent to 99.4 percent of towns in the state.

The CT DPH will issue an updated map of the zones Thursday, Jan. 27 — the map is updated weekly on Thursdays.

Extracts from the Jan. 13, 2022 CT DPH report

As of Jan. 19, 2022: (the number in parentheses is from Jan. 12, 2022)

  • Number of cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated persons in Connecticut: 115,021 (83,147)
  • Number of fully vaccinated persons in Connecticut: 2,540,829 (2,526,891)
  • Percent of fully vaccinated persons, who have contracted COVID-19: 4.53% (3.29%)

For the week beginning Jan. 09, 2022: (the number in parentheses is from Dec. 26, 2021)

  • Risk of unvaccinated persons testing positive for COVID-19 as compared to fully vaccinated persons: 3.4x greater (3.3x greater)
  • Risk of unvaccinated persons dying from COVID-19 as compared to fully vaccinated persons: 18.6x greater (17.2x greater)

Increase in Cases in Lyme & Old Lyme Since August 2021

The cumulative total of confirmed cases for Old Lyme has now increased by 487 since Wednesday, Nov. 10, when the total stood at 443 — that number had stood unchanged for a week since the previous Thursday, Nov. 4.

On Aug. 26 — which was the day Lyme-Old Lyme Schools started the new academic year — Old Lyme’s cumulative case total stood at 372, meaning there have now been 558 new cases there since that date. Meanwhile, Lyme’s cumulative total on Aug. 26 was 114 indicating 116 new cases have also been confirmed there during the same period.

Ledge Light Health District Update

All the towns in the Ledge Light Health District (LLHD), of which both Lyme and Old Lyme are members, are in the Red Zone.

In an email sent Friday, Jan. 21, regarding the latest COVID-19 data, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) Deputy Director of Health Jennifer Muggeo states, “Although there is a decrease in the number of new cases reflected in this report, we are still experiencing high average daily case rates and a continued focus on preventing transmission is important.”

She continues, “Ledge Light Health District advises all businesses and community members take direct steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in your business, home, and place of work. We encourage all businesses within our communities to adopt masking policies for employees and customers, regardless of vaccination status.”

Finally, she states, “LLHD continues to focus our vaccination efforts on homebound populations and providing initial vaccinations and boosters to individuals who were vaccinated previously. There are a number of community-based vaccination clinics scheduled for next week (beginning tomorrow); information about vaccination opportunities can be found at https://llhd.org/coronavirus-covid-19-situation/covid-19-vaccine/.”

COVID testing opportunities can be found at COVID-19 Testing | Ledge Light Health District (llhd.org)

The following link provides centralized access to Connecticut COVID data: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/COVID-19-data/wa3g-tfvc/

The next Ledge Light update is due Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Update

Under new state protocols for schools, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools are no longer required to carry out contact tracing , but LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser said in a Jan. 4 email to the school community that he, “… will continue to notify the school community of any positive cases of COVID-19 that impact the schools.”

A full listing of all LOL Schools-related cases during 2022 is given below. On Tuesday, Jan. 25, four cases were reported in LOL Schools.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools closed Dec. 23, 2021 and reopened Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 after the winter break meaning no new cases were reported by the schools during that period. We are no longer including positive cases impacting LOL schools between Aug 26, 2021 (the first day of the 2021-22 academic school year) and Dec. 23, 2021 (the last day of school before winter break began), in this report. During that period contact tracing was still required.

View the full listing of cases during that period (8/26/21 – 12/23/21) at this link.

The listing below is the latest information that we have with the most recent cases first — there may have been further updates, however, which we have not yet received.

The following abbreviations are used in the list below: LOLHS: Lyme-Old Lyme High School, LOLMS: Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, CS: Center School Pre-Kindergarten, MC: Mile Creek School.

Tuesday, Jan. 25
Total: 4
LOLMS: 2
Mile Creek: 2

Monday, Jan. 24
Total: 9
LOLHS: 2, LOLMS: 1, Lyme: 1, Mile Creek: 4, CS: 1

Sunday, Jan. 23
Total: 3:
LOLMS: 1, Lyme: 2

Friday, Jan. 21
Total: 8
LOLHS: 4, LOLMS: 2, MC: 2

Thursday, Jan. 20
Total: 5
LOLMS: 1, MC: 1, Lyme: 3

Wednesday, Jan.19
Total: 7
LOLHS: 2, LOLMS: 4, CS: 1

Tuesday, Jan. 18
Total: 7
LOLHS: 3, LOLMS: 2, MC: 2

Monday, Jan. 17
Total: 6
Lyme: 4, MC: 2

Friday, Jan. 14
Total: 3
MC: 2, LOLHS: 1

Wednesday, Jan. 12
Total: 3
MC: 2, LOLMS: 1

Monday, Jan. 10
Total: 3
CS: 1, Lyme: 2

Sunday, Jan. 9
Total: 2
MC: 1, Lyme: 1

Friday, Jan. 7
Total: 1
MC: 1

Thursday, Jan. 6
Total: 7
LOLHS: 5, Lyme: 1, CS: 1

Wednesday, Jan. 5
Total: 14
LOLHS: 6, MC: 1, Lyme: 3, CS: 4

Tuesday, Jan. 4
Total: 5
LOLHS: 4, CS: 1

Fatalities Due to COVID-19 in Lyme, Old Lyme

There has been one COVID-related fatality of a Lyme resident: a 57-year-old male passed away Nov. 16, 2021. On Nov. 30, the state finally included this fatality in its data

Three COVID-related fatalities have been reported in Old Lyme. The first two fatalities from Old Lyme, which were reported in 2020, were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

Details of the third, which was reported in 2021, have not been made available.

Letter to the Editor: State Sen. Formica Announces Decision Not to Seek Reelection in Nov. 2022

To the Editor:

State Sen. Paul Formica (R – 20th)

A New Season

As I have grown older, I’ve come to believe that there are seasons in a person’s life. There are experiences, opportunities, relationships and a number of other circumstances, some wonderful; some tragic, that can define these seasons, but they come and go all the same.

In recent months I have been sensing a pull toward a new season. It has been a thought-provoking process because I have been deeply blessed, grateful and proud of the season I am currently in. I have decided to embrace this new season and therefore I will not be seeking reelection to the State Senate in November of 2022.

My 31 years of elected public service have collectively been one of the greatest honors in my life and now I feel it’s time for me to retire and move into the next season. I believe that I live in the greatest town, in the greatest senate district, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world and it has been an immeasurable gift to have the opportunity to share my time, voice and talents as a public official.

As First Selectman of East Lyme, I was able to bring solid business practices and enhanced customer service to a growing shoreline town. I led a team to responsibly fund expanded services and create economic development including rejuvenating our main street district. We preserved hundreds of acres of open space including securing the town’s water supply for generations to come. The years I spent at town hall were some of the most fulfilling of my life. I was able to work with talented regional leaders and learn what other municipalities across the state were doing to successfully manage their own challenges.

As State Senator of the 20th district, I was able to serve not only East Lyme, but seven additional, beautiful and diverse communities. Here we truly have it all: farmland, coastal downtown areas, New England suburbs, fine arts destinations, historical landmarks, the great city of New London, the Niantic Bay Boardwalk only to name a few!  During my four terms in Harford, I was a leader in the fight to secure the next decade of Connecticut’s carbon-free baseload supply of energy at Millstone Station. I worked to support Connecticut’s renewable energy future helping the initial development of the emerging offshore wind industry while being a voice for generations of fishermen. As a co-chair of the appropriations committee, I had the opportunity to help develop a true bipartisan budget in 2017 that is, to this day, providing large surpluses for our rainy day fund while paying down on our pension debt due to the controls we established in that budget. I helped to increase funding for programs and opportunities that help those in Connecticut managing intellectual and developmental disabilities while serving as Co-Chair of the IDD caucus, and I have been able to witness the overwhelming benefits of working in partnership with our Native American Tribal Nations. I founded the bipartisan Arts, Culture and Tourism caucus, which is now helping Connecticut’s hospitality industry to recover and thrive again in our state. Further, I have been able to support and give back to those who are on the difficult road to recovery from substance abuse and addiction.

It has been an honor to work with my colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly and to be a leader on the great Senate Republican team.

The most rewarding aspect of my elected service has been the honor and pleasure of meeting and serving so many wonderful and passionate people from around the 20th District and across our great state.

Throughout this time, I have also continued running a successful restaurant in southeastern Connecticut and just this month I welcomed my first grandchild into the world.

I am particularly grateful to my business family, the incredible team on my town and state staffs and especially my family for bearing with me as I split my time and attention with my public service for over three decades. I would not trade a day of it.

I look forward to spending more time with my family, my businesses, perhaps some new hobbies, and to begin a new season with my special love.

There is a bright future ahead for this state and this district. I believed it 31 years ago and I believe it even more today. Thank you for the honor of serving the communities I hold so dear.

Sincerely,

Paul Formica,
East Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the State Senator for the 20th District, which includes Old Lyme.

Old Lyme Town Meeting Approves 2020-21 Town Report, Sale of 11 Alpha Ave., $50K Appropriation for Sound View Sidewalks; 2021 Citizen of the Year Announced

A murmuration of swallows is featured on the cover of the Old Lyme Annual Report for 2019-2020

OLD LYME  — The Old Lyme Annual Town Meeting was held Monday evening in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.  Atty. Tom McGarry was elected as the Moderator.

Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman David Kelsey presented the 2020-21 Annual Town Report and thanked Michelle Dickey for “another wonderful editing job.”  The cover features photos of Tree Swallows during their annual murmuration.

Next, those assembled in the auditorium approved the sale of 11 Alpha Ave. (within Rogers Lake West Shores) to Roger Davis at a sale price of $10,500. Alpha Ave is a “paper” street, meaning it is not a passable road. The lot is a 0.48 acre parcel that abuts the Davis home property. The closing will likely occur in February.

Moving to a new agenda item, Frank Pappalardo then explained the Sound View Sidewalk Committee’s request for an appropriation of $50,000 to complete the sidewalk and transportation hub project. Pappalardo pointed out that, while there is a State grant of $400,000 for the project (income), the original project budget (spending) was also $400,000.

There have been about $46,000 of expenses that are not eligible for grant funding, which were paid using the project budget. If the $50,000 appropriation were approved (which it was subsequently), the Town could complete the transportation hub and be reimbursed almost in full by the unused State grant funds.

Finally, to her great surprise, the Citizen of the Year for 2021 was announced as Cheryl Poirier.

The item concerning using $115.000 of American Rescue Plan funding for COVID testing, distribution and communications was withdrawn from the agenda following the request by the American Rescue Plan Act Committee to do so following the announcement by the federal government of their funding of N-95 masks and COVID-19 self-tests.

A reception for Poirier was held in the Middle School cafeteria following the Town Meeting.

Essex Winter Series Presents Concert Sunday, Features Soprano Patricia Schuman, Pianist Bradley Moore

Soprano Patricia Schuman will headline the Jan. 30 Essex Winter Series concert

ESSEX — On Sunday, Jan. 30, Essex Winter Series (EWS) presents its next concert at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. The concert begins at 3 p.m. and doors will open at 2 p.m.

The concert will feature soprano Patricia Schuman and Bradley Moore on piano.

It will include a wide-ranging vocal recital of songs and arias from Handel, Mozart, Schumann, Gustavino, Ginastera and Mompou.

As a precautionary measure to protect all who attend EWS concerts, attendees must follow the COVID Safety Policy established. Click here to view.

For more information and tickets, visit this link.

Latest Delivery from State of COVID-19 Test Kits is Designated for ‘Vulnerable Populations’

OLD LYME — Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge informed us this afternoon (Friday, Jan. 21) that earlier today, the Town of Old Lyme received an additional quantity of COVID-19 self-test kits from the Connecticut Department of Health (CT DPH.)

He explains that the CT DPH has, “Required this delivery be designated for vulnerable populations … persons living in congregate housing and for persons who have physical, mental, intellectual or other developmental disabilities that are unable to seek out testing kits on their own.”

He notes that these kits will be available to persons in those categories by calling the Lymes’ Senior Center at 860-434-4127.

Roberge adds, “When we receive additional home test-kits for the general public’s needs, we will announce their availability on the Town of Old Lyme website and via email alerts through our Old Lyme Alerts text notification system, and also on LymeLine.com and our social media platforms.”

He stresses, “To be notified of important COVID information, simply text OLCOVID19 to 888777 to receive important text messages on your smart device.”

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-Chair Explains Why ‘Ames Property’ Acquisition Efforts Ended

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-chair Evan Griswold. Photo courtesy of E. Griswold.

OLD LYME — Several readers raised questions regarding the reasons why the efforts to acquire the two parcels of ‘Ames Property’ donated to the Old Lyme Open Space Commission have concluded.

We contacted the commission and were told that its co-chair Evan Griswold was speaking on behalf of the agency.

Griswold kindly returned our phone call earlier today and explained first that terminating the effort to acquire the parcels was “personally a disappointment” to him since he had invested a great deal of time and energy on the project over the past 18 months. He added, “It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to bring all the parties together.”

He noted that the owner of the properties, Stephen Ames, had been “very patient” throughout the whole process.

Asked what the fundamental issue was that halted the acquisition, Griswold explained that the problem went back to the restrictions that were placed on the five-parcel subdivision by Ames when it was created in 2005. Those restrictions deemed that the lots, in Griswold’s words, were, “really for residential purposes only,” and moreover, “Anyone buying one of the lots would have to commence construction of a house within 18 months of purchase.”

Griswold commented that the Open Space Commission by its very nature was not planning any construction and that its intentions were to preserve the 35 acres of land, adding that the most ‘construction’ they would undertake would be some signage and trail map information.

A second issue was that the access road for all five lots was established as a private road.

Noting that all the homeowners would have to be on board in order for the restrictions to be waived to allow for a house not to be built and to give access to the two lots in question over the private road, Griswold said, “one neighbor objected.”

Two of the three remaining lots not included in the proposed land acquisition are sold and Griswold said he believes the third is currently on the market.

While stressing his disappointment with the outcome, he noted that as a “someone involved in real estate for over 40 years,” he can appreciate both sides of the situation in that there were, “privacy concerns” for the objecting homeowner. He concluded, “There must be equity for the public and landowners.”

Inaugural PARJE Mural Promoting Racial Justice Through Public Art Unveiled in Norwich, Time-lapse Video Shows How it was Created

An opening frame from the just-released time-lapse video by Emida Roller shows the finished Norwich Sister Mural at the Market St. Garage.

NORWICH, CT/OLD LYME: 1/18 UPDATE: Despite freezing temperatures, the mural discussed below was duly “unveiled” yesterday. Visit this link to read a report of the event by Claire Bessette and published Jan. 18 in ‘The Day.’

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17, at 12:30 p.m., Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) will unveil its first mural, which has been created on the Market Street Garage in Norwich. In honor of this upcoming event, the group has released a remarkable time-lapse video showing how the mural came together.

All are welcome to attend the unveiling ceremony for the Norwich Sister Mural, the title of which echoes the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “We Are Not Makers of History.  We Are Made By History.”

Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) was formed by Rev. David Good, the former Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and now its Minister Emeritus, in March last year with help from Rev. Jack Madry of the Madry Temple in New London.

Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Good explains that the catalyst for creating PARJE was the tragic killing of George Floyd in May, 2020. Good came to believe passionately that public art could be used to spark conversation and stimulate education on what it means to be engaged in antiracism. He started discussing the subject with Madry and together they looked for ways to bring communities together to address racial injustice.

Those discussions led to the birth of PARJE, which has developed into a broad-based, interracial, non-partisan, non-sectarian group consisting of volunteers from various communities around the shoreline region. These communities now include Old Lyme and Lyme, as well as Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Essex, Deep River, Norwich and New  London.

From the displacement of indigenous communities to the use of slave labor in the whaling industry, PARJE leaders point out that the the local region, along with many others across the nation, has been actively complicit in – and not passively just home to – various racial injustices.

PARJE aims to provide opportunities to examine or reexamine some of these events through the use of public art in many different ways. As the US struggles to confront systemic racism, PARJE will focus on engaging artists from all disciplines to create public art aimed at addressing not only contemporary issues, but also their origins.

Building partnerships with surrounding communities is an additional focus of the group’s stated mission.

A series of murals is planned throughout the region and the first mural to be completed is the one in Norwich.

Asked how the Norwich mural came about, Good told LymeLine via email, “Shiela Hayes is our point person for the Norwich Mural. She’s a member of our Steering Committee and as the head of NAACP-Norwich, Shiela was able to bring onboard a number of folks in Norwich.”

Good commented enthusiastically, “Sheila did amazing work in getting input and support from a number of individuals, organizations and government representatives!”

Hayes explained the background and timing of the mural to LymeLine in an email, noting, “The concept, theme and research started in March [2021.] They were completed in October when the title, “Freedom, Civil Rights and Human Rights,” was finalized.

Hayes noted that work on the mural began in October of 2021, with the 1st phase. The mural was designed by Samson Tonton based on input by the Norwich Sister Mural Committee.

On Nov. 15, the second phase began, which involved the Norwich Mayor and Council voting to approve the design of the Norwich Sister Mural on the Market Street Garage.

Lead artist Emida Roller of Wall Designs by Emida LLC paints a section of the mural in situ. Photo by Jac Lahav.

Power washing of the Market Street Garage by Norwich Public Utilities followed during the week of Nov. 15 and then priming and background painting by lead artist Emida Roller and artist Samson Tonton began  during the week of Nov. 22.

The third phase started the week of Nov. 22 when both artists painted on polytab pieces indoors and then affixed the images on the wall. They painted additional images directly on the wall and were able to complete the work by Dec. 20.

Artist Samson Tonton works on his painting on a piece of polytab prior to it being placed on the wall. Photo by Jac Lahav.

Community Engagement and Paint Days were held Dec. 8 and 11 at the Sikh Art Gallery with over 40 people assisting with the painting. The Gallery was founded by Norwich City Councilman Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, whom Good noted was “very important” in bringing the project to fruition.

Good added that he and another PARJE member from Old Lyme, Celine Sullivan, “visited on one of those [Community Paint] days, and it was great to see the diversity of those at work on the mural.”

Now that the design is complete, the next step is the official unveiling ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 17.

PARJE has a number of other murals currently in various stages of development at Old Lyme, New London, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook.

Good explained how things are moving forward positively in Old Lyme, saying, “Thelma Halloran, a Black art teacher in [Lyme-] Old Lyme’s Middle School and Alden Murphy* co-chair our Artist Selection Team consisting of Becky Crosby*, Kimberly Monson*, Alex Pinkowish, [and] Nancy Gladwell* (ex officio) in addition to Thelma and Alden.” (* indicates a Lyme or Old Lyme resident.)

He continued, “They’ve had some great applicants [to design the mural],” interviews have been held, and their plan is to select the artist [for the Old Lyme mural] around January 15th. Good noted that Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser, “… has been very supportive. He [Neviaser] hopes to engage as much of the school community as possible and also provide opportunities for community painting days to welcome those from other communities.”

One of the core beliefs of PARJE rests in the ability of public art to educate about the history of Black,  Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Consequently, there will be a high priority on selecting BIPOC artists while also working side-by-side with others, trained and untrained, and those of all generations, races and ethnicities.

Other events currently scheduled for PARJE include a panel discussion at Long Wharf Theatre’s production of “Fires in the Mirror” on Jan. 30. Good plans to moderate the discussion with panel members Pastor Jack Madry, Attorney Lonnie Braxton II, Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg and Ghoufran Allababidi.

An event had previously been scheduled for Jan. 23 at Lyme Art Association but this has now been postponed to Feb. 20 due to the COVID situation. We will publish more information on this event as soon as it is available.

This image shows Nancy Gladwell’s side of the PARJE diptych, which pictures the events of March 7, 1965, at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The day became known as ‘Bloody Sunday.’ Photo courtesy of PARJE.

A further project is the creation of a diptych (a two-panel painting intended to function as a traveling exhibition) by two local artists, Nancy Gladwell, who was Chair of Painting at the former Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and Jas Oyola-Blumenthal, an alumna of the same institution. Gladwell is also the Co-Chair of PARJE.

The diptych will be used in schools, or any public space, to tell the controversial story of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

The diptych project also intends to illustrate the possible future of the bridge supporting efforts currently underway to rename it after civil rights activist, John Lewis, who would have been 81 this February. 

Looking back at the breadth of work accomplished and all the projects completed, in progress, or in the early planning stages after only 10 months of PARJE ‘s existence — and especially considering all those 10 months have been under pandemic conditions — Good concludes positively, but pragmatically, “Public art will not solve systemic racial injustice, but it would be a public affirmation that, on the one hand, this is the country we are, and, on the other, this is the country we are endeavoring to become.”

Editor’s Note: (i) For more information about Public Art for Racial Justice Education, visit their website follow PARJE on Facebook at Facebook.com/Public Art for Racial Justice Education and Instagram @racialjusticeartTo donate to support the work of PARJE or inquire about joining PARJE, email racialjusticeart@gmail.com.

(ii) The following is a list of key people and organizations involved in the Norwich Mural project — (there are too many names to list them all): Matt Conway – Executive Director, The RiseUp Group, Inc., Swaranjit Singh Khalsa – Norwich City Councilman, Derell Q. Wilson – Norwich City Councilman, Leo Butler – Director of Diversity, Norwich Free Academy, Alysha Carmody – HOD, Visual and Performing Arts, NFA, Dayne Rugh – Director, Slater Memorial Museum, Beryl Fishbone – Rotary Community Corps of Norwich, Shiela Hayes – President, NAACP Norwich Branch, Tracey L. Holland – NAACP Norwich Branch, Brenda McDonald – Secretary, NAACP Norwich Branch, Sharlyne Naubert – President, NAACP Robertsine Duncan YC, Celia Siefert – NAACP Norwich Branch, Zechariah Stover – NAACP Norwich Branch, City of Norwich – Elected and Appointed Officials and Norwich Public Utilities.

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Announces Efforts to Acquire Two Parcels of ‘Ames Property’ Have Ended, Obstacles “Impossible to Overcome”

The acquisition of the two new ‘Ames Property’ parcels, which cannot now be completed, would have directly expanded the existing 195-acre Ames Family Open Space, which can be accessed from Evergreen Trail (via Boggy Hole Road). Photo credit: OL Open Space Commission. 

OLD LYME —  This afternoon, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission released the following statement on the proposed Ames Property purchase:

“The Old Lyme Open Space Commission deeply regrets that, despite its diligent work over the past 18 months, and the work and support of other Town boards and commissions including the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and the Planning Commission, its efforts to acquire two parcels of the “Ames Property” for addition to the Town’s open space lands have not been successful and have concluded. 

In the end, it proved impossible to overcome obstacles posed by the recorded documents that created the five-parcel subdivision of which the two open-space parcels were a part. 

This outcome is especially unfortunate because acquisition of the open space parcels would have been of great benefit to the Town. The acquisition would have directly expanded the existing Ames Open Space, further protected the Black Hall River watershed, provided additional refuge for endangered species, preserved forest land and its carbon sequestration potential, and moved Old Lyme closer to a town-wide hiking trail.

The possibility of new access to Ames Open Space via a well-constructed and maintained driveway with safe, off-road parking, and potential new trail access by persons with disabilities, including to the existing open space ancient Native-American caves/shelters, would have been another key benefit.

The Open Space Commission thanks the property owner, Steven Ames, for his patient consideration while the Commission pursued the acquisition.”

High Hopes Appoints New Chief Development Officer

Liz Burton is the new Chief Development Officer at High Hopes.

OLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. has appointed Liz Burton as their new Chief Development Officer in January 2022.  Burton has over 20 years of experience in diverse professional environments, nonprofit leadership and strategic relationship engagement.

Burton’s experience in corporate relationships will be instrumental in supporting existing and fostering new community collaborations.

She looks forward to leading High Hopes in its critical fundraising endeavors as she follows in the footsteps of Sara Qua, who successfully guided the High Hopes Development Team for the past 16 years.

This next year will be one of outreach,  relationship-building and strengthening High Hopes through collaborative partnerships.

High Hopes is located at 36, Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme, Conn.

Editor’s Note: High Hopes is a premier therapeutic riding center and international instructor-training site, accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) since 1979. It has served people with physical, emotional and developmental disabilities for more than 40 years, offering year-round programs in equine assisted activities, including therapeutic riding, carriage driving and equine learning program.

High Hopes offers experiential learning through outreach programs, an integrated summer camp program and a variety of volunteer opportunities. The organization serves over 1800 people with disabilities each year, underwriting over 70 percent of all lesson costs and providing financial aid to 100 percent of its participants.

To learn more about High Hopes programs and participants or to volunteer, visit www.highhopestr.org.

Old Lyme Historical Society Receives CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CT Humanities 

OLD LYME — Connecticut Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has awarded the Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. (OLHSI) a $ 7,200 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant (CTCFOSG).  

The CTCFOSG will be used to support the Society’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret and promote  the rich history of Old Lyme and environs by making the Archives collection more accessible, improving  IT and online presence and increasing marketing to make the organization more accessible to the community. 

John Pote, the Society’s Chair, commented, “History isn’t static. New discoveries and new technologies broaden our understanding and enhance discussions among cultures and communities.” 

OLHSI was one of 624 organizations in Connecticut that was awarded CT Cultural Fund support.  

NOAA Announces Creation of New Protected Area on CT’s Southeast Coast, Includes Several State-Owned Coastal Properties in Lyme, Old Lyme

This map shows the location of the new National Estuarine Research Reserve in southeastern Connecticut. Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The Nature Conservancy celebrates the establishment of Connecticut’s first National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) along southeastern coast of State

LYME/OLD LYME/NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the establishment of a new National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) on Connecticut’s southeastern coast. The new reserve is the 30th in the national reserve system and the first in Connecticut.

“Establishing the Connecticut NERR is a critical step toward enhancing the preservation of Connecticut’s coastal and marine habitats, wildlife and heritage,” said Chantal Collier, director of marine systems conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

She added, “The Nature Conservancy is proud to have worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the University of Connecticut, NOAA and other partners to bring this new level of protection to the Sound that will help us address the challenges facing our estuary and sustain its benefits for local communities.”

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership between NOAA and coastal states. NOAA provides guidance and funding while state departments or universities work with local partners to manage the sites day-to-day. The program is designed to protect and study estuaries and their surrounding wetlands—unique ecosystems that exist in the places where rivers meet the sea.

Located along the southeastern coast of the State, the newly announced reserve spans the lower Connecticut River, the lower Thames River, most of the Connecticut waters of eastern Long Island Sound and western Fishers Island Sound, and several state-owned coastal properties in Groton, Old Lyme, and Lyme.

The boundaries of the Connecticut NERR also include traditional lands of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Mohegan Tribe, Western Nehântick Tribal Nation, Hammonasset Tribe, Wappinger Tribe, and Wangunks Tribe.

The Connecticut NERR encompasses a total of 52,160 acres and a range of ecosystems including coastal forests and grasslands, intertidal marshes, beaches and bluffs, rocky reefs, and seagrass meadows, including 36 percent of the vitally important but imperiled Long Island Sound eelgrass ecosystem.

“These coastal and marine habitats are a haven for a wide variety of plants and animals,” said Collier. “From piping plovers, horseshoe crabs and seals that rest or breed along its shores, to sea turtles, dolphins and whales that forage for food in its waters—the range of species that will benefit from this new protected area is tremendous.”

The designation of the new reserve is not the end of the process, however.

“Now, we are turning our attention to supporting effective implementation of the Connecticut NERR Management Plan that was developed by state and local partners. Successful implementation will help ensure that this reserve realizes its environmental, research, and educational potential,” Collier said.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release from The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

A la Carte: For Lee, Winter and Widowhood Mean it’s Time for Tourtière

Lee White

Before the holiday season, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a wonderful cookbook writer who lives mostly in Maine and visits Italy often, talked about the French-Canadian tourtière

I made it a few times for my husband but he really didn’t like the seasoning. He said the same when I made Cincinnati Five-Way Chili (chili with beans, onions, seasoning, spaghetti and cheese). Doug had pretty good catholic (small “C”) food preferences and so, after the tourtière discussion (and all the time, really), I just made food he enjoyed.

In any case, I love all those spices and I adore savory pies like chicken and beef pot pies.

But now it is winter and widowhood, so I can cook anything I like and share the bounty with friends.

The recipe looks long, but if you use a pre-made crust (preferable Oronoco frozen pie crusts), this recipe is a snap. As for the spice blend, quadruple or quintuple it and save in a tight-lidded jar for tourtière or Cincinnati Five-Way Chili for next time!

Tourtière (French-Canadian Meat Pie)
Adapted from Chef John on allrecipes.com 

Photo by Rebecca Matthews on Unsplash.

2 pre-made frozen pie crusts, thawed
Spice blend
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground thyme
½ teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Filling
1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pinch salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup finely diced celery
1 pound each ground pork and beef
1 cup potato cooking water, plus more as needed

Egg wash
1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water, stirred

Place potato quarters in a saucepan, cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat. Simmer until cooked through. Remove potato and mash; save water.

Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and salt and stir until onions turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, celery and spice blend and stir until onions coated with spices, 30 seconds. Add meat and ladle ¾ cup of potato water into skillet. Cook until meat is browned and has an almost paste-like texture. Continue, stirring, until meat is tender and most liquid is evaporated, 45 minutes. Stir in potatoes and remove from heat. Bring to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill bottom crust with meat mixture and smooth out. Brush edges of bottom crust with egg wash, then place top crust on the pie and press lightly around edges to seal. Trim excess dough from crust. Crimp edges of the crust and brush entire surface of pie with egg wash. Place in preheated oven. Bake until well brown, about 1 hour. Let cool to almost room temperature before serving.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.

Old Lyme Girls’ Basketball: Wildcats Defeat Lyman Memorial Handily; Fenton, Walsh Score 14 Points Apiece

Old Lyme Sophomore Ava Roth (center) is double-teamed by Lyman Allyn players during the game.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme girls had a decisive win over Lyman Memorial on Wednesday evening, earning a 43-28 victory.

Old Lyme freshman Kate Walsh (#5) and senior Meg Loflin try to grab a loose ball.

Freshman Kate Walsh and Junior Alexis Fenton both scored 14 points while Senior Megan Loflin added 11 points and 16 rebounds.

After the game, coach Don Bugbee commented, “The girls played hard throughout the game and obviously it’s always nice to get a win.”

He cautioned, however, “There were numerous aspects of the game that need immediate attention and correction. That process will take place, starting at tomorrow’s practice.”

Old Lyme’s record now stands at 4-2.

The girls’ next game is against Morgan this evening (Jan. 14) with JV tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and Varsity at 7 p.m.

In this hoop action, Old Lyme senior Megan Loflin takes a lay-up.

 

Junior Alexis Fenton (#23) dribbles down the court.

 

Old Lyme senior Ali Kyle is hard at work on defense in this shot.

Death of Eleanor Robinson Announced; Naturalist, Environmental Advocate, Founder of Old Lyme’s Audubon Center; Wife of Rev. Canon Mark Robinson, Former Rector of St. Ann’s

Eleanor Gamble Perkins Robinson

OLD LYME — “Celebratory Ecology calls each of us to spend time outdoors, to observe colors, movement, presences and absence of species, and yes, to simply enjoy the bounty. We celebrate ecology and are inspired to do all within our power to protect, and learn about this essential life-giving ecosystem.”
– Eleanor Robinson at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center opening, 2016.

Eleanor Gamble Perkins Robinson lit up the world. We mourn the death of our dear wife, mother, sister, friend, naturalist, community leader, environmental advocate, chorister, recording artist, teacher, coach, and true bright light. As her family sang “Goodnight Irene,” Eleanor died January 2, 2022 peacefully at home in Old Lyme, Conn. at the mouth of the Connecticut River. Eleanor courageously battled non-smokers lung cancer for five years.

Eleanor, or Missy to her family and friends, was born October 11, 1958 to John and Eleanor Perkins and was raised in Long Island, N.Y., where her curiosity and respect for the natural world took shape. She was often found in the intertidal zones and the coastal nature preserves, studying the creatures of the water, land, and sky. Her delight and wonder for birds began on the shores of Long Island, but ultimately brought her to extreme parts of the world: the Amazon Rainforest, where she banded birds with the World Wildlife Fund; British Columbia, where she researched pelagic birds with the Natural History Museum; and the outer islands of New England and Canada, where she documented migratory bird behaviors as a resident naturalist.

From a young age, she was hungry for adventure and exploration. Alongside her older brother Brad, she spent summers in the Adirondack Mountains, climbing peaks and paddling rivers. At the age of 11, she was one of the youngest girls to summit all 46 of the high peaks over 4,000 feet, fostering a lifelong love for the mountains. Of all the woodland hikes, campfires, and nights spent under the stars throughout her life, she was most proud of the 14,411-foot ascent up Mount Rainier in 2009 with the American Lung Association, to honor her brother Brad, who died of brain cancer in 2008.

Eleanor’s professional life was driven by an unwavering passion for the wonders of the natural world. She met her lifelong mentor, noted conservationist Thomas Lovejoy, while receiving a B.S. in botany and zoology at the University of Washington. This launched a career in conservation and advocacy, sending her at young age to work Peru and Brazil, Woods Hole, Boston University – where she received her Master’s in Scientific Journalism – and then Washington, D.C. in the 1990s. A prolific writer and resolute environmentalist, she was at the helm of campaigns for the Smithsonian Institute and World Wildlife Fund, introducing the public to the then-fledgling matter of “climate change.” Her dedication spread from the halls of the Capitol into teaching middle- and high school classrooms, where she shared her natural curiosity with young and inspiring minds.

After moving to Old Lyme in 2012, she found herself in the ecological hotspot of the Connecticut River Estuary, which she deemed to be the Amazon Delta of the East Coast. It became her final classroom. In honor of the renowned ornithologist, artist, educator, and former resident of Old Lyme, Roger Tory Peterson, she founded an Audubon Center in Old Lyme, a pilot environmental education program that began out of the trunk of her green Mini Cooper. With no physical center yet established, she hauled teaching materials including maps, microscopes, and binoculars that dangled from the headrest. Today, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is a thriving STEM institution serving 15 area towns and the city of New London. Its educational programs reach more than 4,000 children and families annually.

At the center of her life was her family. Her husband, Mark K. J. Robinson first spotted her at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, MA, where she worked as the Director of Media Relations at Massachusetts Audubon Society. Mark’s “Newfy sweater,” a garment iconic and endemic to Newfoundland, caught her attention. They bonded over time spent in northeastern Canada; Mark doing missionary work and Eleanor teaching at the Quebec Labrador Foundation. Over 35 years of marriage, they raised three daughters on the Calvary Church campus in Stonington, Conn., where Mark was the Rector. Together, they founded the Calvary Church Nursery and Calvary Music schools and traveled the world, making homes in South Africa, Uganda, Washington, D.C., Ohio, and Connecticut.

Eleanor overflowed with creative energy and a love for movin’, groovin’, and making music. From her childhood to her final vacation in Park City, Utah this past Christmas, she carried her ukulele in tow. While at Miss Porter’s School (’76) she arranged music and sang in the acapella group and throughout her life, continued to pen songs, limericks, and ditties that brought the young and the old together. Her music filled church halls, community centers, living rooms, and backyards, where her second soprano voice could be heard in choirs, bands and ensembles. While raising three young girls, she launched “Sweet Beats,” a business which inspired intergenerational music and movement making for babies, children and families. In true Eleanor spirit, when she tore her ACL coaching lacrosse, she spent her recovery writing and recording two albums of original songs for singing families (available under “Eleanor Robinson” on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes).

Eleanor would often say she lived a hundred lives. That might have been an underestimate. We remember her for her vibrant spirit, humor, love, and light. We are called to action by her vision for harmony between people and their environment. And we commit to the completion of the legacy she left.

In the words of her friend and fellow environmentalist, “As I sit overlooking Great Island on the Connecticut River Estuary, I think of Eleanor’s love of this little piece of nature – her encyclopedic knowledge of everything from butterflies to ospreys; her profound reverence for the land and the regenerative cycles of spring, summer, fall, and winter… We have lost a great champion of life and nature – but she has endowed [us] not just with wonderful memories and wisdom, but perhaps more importantly she leaves [us] with a set of impossibly high standards to follow – on how to live life to the fullest, how to face adversity with unimaginable courage, and how to spread joy with all you meet.”

Eleanor was predeceased by brother, Bradford Perkins of Seattle, Wash. and her father John Perkins of Essex, Conn. She is survived by her husband, The Rev. Canon Mark K.J. Robinson; her daughters Sewell, Frances, and Florence; her son-in-law Sam Bourneuf; Sewell and Sam’s daughter Eleanor “Ebbie”; her mother Eleanor Perkins; and her brother John Perkins.

A private burial service will take place with her family next week and a celebration for the public will take place Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 2:00 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in New London, CT. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Eleanor to Connecticut Audubon – Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (https://www.ctaudubon.org/rtpecdonate/).

Hamburg Fair is Happening in 2022!

LYME — The Hamburg Fair Committee has announced that the Hamburg Fair will take place this year on Aug. 19, 20 and 21.

This is great news after the disappointment of last year’s fair having to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much more information will follow but we wanted to share this good news right away, so mark your calendars now for this beloved event!

A la Carte: Two New (and Lucky) Soups for the New Year

Lee White

Luck can be two different sides of a coin. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I lost one very good friend, and another very good friend lost his mother.

Just three days after that, I went to a birthday party for Jacques Pepin, who is now 86. It was a small party of maybe 14 people. Most of us have known each other for 20 or more years. 

Jacques’ beautiful wife, Gloria, died just a year ago, while Marty Travis’ husband died less than a decade ago.  My husband died 12 years ago. While all three of us terribly miss our spouses, all 14 feel lucky to be together, pretty healthy, tripled vaxxed … and even smarter than when we were in college!

We also never talked about politics.

Now it is 2022 and I am hoping all my readers and friends (many are both), my children and their children, and all of yours too, have great luck, superb health and enough prosperity to share with others.

Below are two good luck soups. Both are delicious. 

Good Luck Lentil Soup

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Adapted from Italian Holiday Cooking by Michele Scicolone (William Morrow, New York, 2001)
Yield: serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, chopped*
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small dried pepperoncini (I use a pinch of crushed red pepper instead)
1 pound lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup dried tomatoes, cut into strips (I use a 28-ounce can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes, instead)
Salt to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a large pot, combine oil, pancetta, onion, garlic and pepperoncino (or crushed pepper) over medium heat until the onion is wilted and golden.

Add lentils then stir in the peppers and tomatoes. If using dried tomatoes, add 6 cups of water; if using canned tomatoes, add 2 to 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until lentils are almost tender.

Add salt to taste and simmer until lentils are cooked.

Serve hot or at room temperature with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

*Pancetta is unsmoked Italian bacon. Rolled into a sausage shape, pancetta is used to flavor bean dishes and sauces. Most supermarkets have it in the deli department.

Friendship Soup Mix

From Vange Chatis of Somers, Connecticut
Yield: 4 quarts

1 pound ground beef
3 quarts water
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
½ cup dry split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
¼ cup dried minced onion
½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
½ cup dry lentils
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ cup alphabet macaroni or other small macaroni

In a very large stockpot, brown beef, then drain. Add water, tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients except for the macaroni. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add macaroni, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until everything is tender.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.