January 21, 2021

Jan. 19 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases in Old Lyme Hold at 222; Lyme’s Increase by One to 68

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s COVID-19 cumulative case numbers held steady at 222 over the previous day’s in the report issued Tuesday, Jan. 19, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) while Lyme’s cumulative total rose by one to 68.

The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past several weeks.

As of the Jan. 19 report, only three towns in the state — Canaan, Cornwall and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 216 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable cases, making a TOTAL of 222 cases.

This represents NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of total cases (211) reported Friday, Jan. 15,

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,229.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 19 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27/20 through 01/09/21, Old Lyme had 34 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 51.4, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 29.1. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 63 confirmed cases and FIVE probable cases, making a TOTAL of 68 cases.

This represents an INCREASE OF ONE in the number of confirmed cases and a NO CHANGE in probable cases from the numbers reported Monday, Jan. 18.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,124.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

Hospital NameTownStaffed BedsAdult In-patient Occupancy 01/8-01/14Adult ICU Occupancy 01/8-01/14
BackusNorwich18384.424.2
Lawrence & MemorialNew London25290.891.4
MiddlesexMiddletown20778.289.9
Yale-New HavenNew Haven1,549
87.982.6
Statewide80.860.9

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 19 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27 through 01/09/21, Lyme had 13 cases in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 78.3 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 36.7. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Editor’s Note: In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

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Jan. 18 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases in Old Lyme Rise by 11 to 222; Lyme’s Increase by One to 67

This map published Jan. 19 shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

LYME/OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s COVID-19 cumulative case numbers reached 222 in the report issued Monday, Jan. 18, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) while Lyme’s cumulative total rose to 67.

The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past several weeks.

As of the Jan. 18 report (see map above), only three towns in the state — Canaan, Cornwall and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 216 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable cases, making a TOTAL of 222 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of 11 in the cumulative number of total cases (211) reported Friday, Jan. 15,

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,198.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 14 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27/20 through 01/09/21, Old Lyme had 34 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 51.4, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 29.1. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 62 confirmed cases and FIVE probable cases, making a TOTAL of 67 cases.

This represents an INCREASE OF TWO in the number of confirmed cases and a DECREASE OF ONE in probable cases from the numbers reported Friday, Jan. 15.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,117.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

Hospital NameTownStaffed BedsAdult In-patient Occupancy 01/8-01/14Adult ICU Occupancy 01/8-01/14
BackusNorwich18384.424.2
Lawrence & MemorialNew London25290.891.4
MiddlesexMiddletown20778.289.9
Yale-New HavenNew Haven1,549
87.982.6
Statewide80.860.9

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 14 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27 through 01/09/21, Lyme had 13 cases in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 78.3 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 36.7. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Editor’s Note: In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

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Our Top 10 (Non-COVID) Most Read Stories in 2020

LYME/OLD LYME — It was an interesting experience delving into our analytics for 2020 because 2020 was — for want of a better description —  an interesting year.

Usually, when we undertake our review of the previous year each January, we find stories covering a wide range of topics in our Top 10. This year was different in that every single one of our Top 10 Stories (and beyond) related directly to COVID-19 data.

Rather than publishing all those articles full of depressing details of the spread of the virus in our towns, we have chosen to publish our Top 10 non-COVID-19-related stories and these, we submit, provide a balanced overview of the remaining priorities of our community after the obvious dominance of COVID-19 as our top concern in 2020.

The most read article was — and we think this is a first —  a ‘Letter to the Editor.’

  1. In July, the Senior Ministers of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme led by Senior Minister Stephen Jungkeit (pictured right) wrote an Open Letter to the Old Lyme community setting two challenges related to the expansion of affordable housing in the town. The letter was written in response to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent events organized locally to address the issue of systemic racism, “… that continues to plague our country.” The letter sparked a great many comments and several more that we chose not to publish. Sadly, we lost some subscribers to our newsletter after publication of the letter, but fortunately, we gained many more. Take a look at the letter now six months on and see what you think. A great deal has happened since then with regard to affordable housing in Old Lyme.
    Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the Old Lyme Community … with Two Challenges

    This tree at Saint Ann’s was one of the many casualties of Tropical Storm Isaias.

     

  2. Remember Aug. 4th, 2020?  That was the day that Tropical Storm Isaias tore through our towns knocking out power to almost everyone. Our story, which focused on photos sent in by readers, was our #2 most read article.
    Trees Down, Power Out All Over Lyme, Old Lyme; Lyme Estimates at Least Three Days Before Power Restored

Julia Balfour

  1. In third place was the profoundly sad announcement of the death of the brilliant, vivacious, and remarkable creative designer Julia Balfour, who passed Nov. 30, at age 42 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She lived and worked in Lyme for many years before moving to East Haddam.
    Death of Julia Balfour Announced; Obituary Now Added

    Hundreds gathered on the lawn in front of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to hear a number of speakers after marching down Lyme Street from Memorial Town Hall.

  2. Saturday, June 6, saw hundreds turn out to “Stand Up and Kneel Down” for racial justice. Our report on the unprecedented event, which includes many of the speeches given, came in at number four.
    Hundreds Turn Out to Join Peaceful March, Rally for Racial Justice in Old Lyme

    Ready for the rush. Old Lyme Beach Rangers stand ready and waiting for the anticipated crowd when the beach reopened at Sound View.

  3. We all love our beaches so when the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen closed them down in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus, people were very concerned. But when it was determined the beaches could reopen for Memorial Day, everyone wanted to read about it and that became our fifth most-read story.
    Old Lyme Beaches Closed Today, But Set to Open Memorial Day Weekend
  4. Teddy Anastasiou (pictured right) has been running Old Lyme Pizza Palace forever, but he doesn’t just make great pizza — he also gives back to the community in innumerable ways. When he was announced as the winner for July of the Old Lyme Kindness Award, there was an outpouring of support for the choice and the story notched sixth place in our most read list. 
    Old Lyme Committee Names OL Pizza Palace’s Teddy Anastasiou as Latest ‘Kindness Award’ Recipient

    Mary Seidner, LYSB Executive Director

  5. Similarly, when State Rep Devin Carney announced his selections for ‘Local Heroes’ in his District, there was strong support for his choices in Old Lyme. Jen Datum (pictured left) and Mary Seidner (pictured right) were the honorees for their exceptional work in the early days of the pandemic. The community agreed and made the story about their selection our seventh place story.
    State Rep. Carney Names Two Old Lyme Residents ‘Local Heroes;’ Datum, Seidner to Receive Official Citations

    The sign at Sound View Beach informs the public that the beach is closed.

  6. We have already mentioned how important our beaches are to this community so,’ when they were initially closed due to COVID, not everyone agreed with the decision. Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold found himself having to explain it and people wanted to read about his reasoning, causing this article to take eighth place in our ‘Most Read Stories.’
    Griswold Defends Decision to Close Old Lyme Town Beaches

    A view looking south down the Connecticut River with Watch Rock Preserve to the left. Photo by Edie Twining.

  7. There is no question that the Lyme-Old Lyme community cares passionately about the environment, so when the Old Lyme Land Trust closed down Watch Rock Preserve at weekends due to the damage being caused by humans, there was strong interest in the story. Our article on the topic came in at number nine.
    Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme Closed Weekends Through Labor Day Due to Environmental, Safety Violations

    In this undated photo, the Mervin E. Roberts life saving boat is shown moored at Mystic Seaport. All photos are courtesy of the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association.

  8. Our 10th-placed story was one of our favorites and has become even more so with the passing of Mr. Roberts, aged 98, at the end of the year. We are proud to have played a small part in this wonderful story since we were the initial point of contact for the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) of Kittery, Maine. The WILSSA President Sam Reid reached out to us after reading our story by Michele Dickey about Mr. Roberts published in May. Mr. Roberts gave what he said would be his final homily after 50 years service as Old Lyme Fire Department Chaplain at Old Lyme’s Memorial Day ceremony since he needed to pass the torch to someone younger. Mr. Roberts’s words turned out to be true for a different reason.
    Reid had found a boat named the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ for sale on the internet, which the WILSSA wished to acquire, and wondered if our Mervin F. Roberts of Old Lyme was the same Mervin F. Roberts after whom the boat was named. We connected Reid with First Selectman Griswold and the story really takes off from there.
    Griswold Launches Effort to Raise Funds to Purchase Unique ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ Rescue Boat for Maritime Museum in Maine
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LYSB Screens ‘LIKE’ Documentary to Spark Community Discussion on Real Impact of Social Media, Jan. 26

LYME/OLD LYME — Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau hosts a virtual screening of the compelling new documentary LIKE, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at  7 p.m. The event is free of charge and all are welcome.

Parents, educators and community members interested in attending must pre-register for the Zoom link either here or by visiting www.lsyb.org.

More than 2 billion people have smartphones today … and we check our phones on average 150 times every day. Technology makes our lives easier in so many ways – but what is the cost of our dependence, and our children’s reliance, on screens?

LIKE is a new documentary exploring the impact of social media on our lives. It reveals the true effects of technology on the brain and uncovers the impact social media can have on our lives. The film’s mission is to educate, inform and inspire people to effectively self-regulate their screen time.

Social media is a tool and social platforms are a place to connect, share and care… but is that what is really happening? When social media users chase “likes” or seek followers, they lose sight of the fact that their devices are now using them. The goal of the screening is to raise awareness about the hidden costs of social media as well as start a conversation about how to ensure our own, and our children’s, healthy use of technology.

The LIKE screening will be followed by an informative panel discussion featuring experts from the film.

The following day, Wednesday, Jan. 27, the film will be viewed by all students at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle and High Schools.  This is a great opportunity to start conversation with your children about a real issue in their every day lives.

The film features interviews with experts including Max Stossel, Head of Education & Content at Center for Humane Technology; Leah Pearlman, Co-Creator of the Facebook “Like” button; Dr. Jerry Bubrick, Senior Psychologist at Child Mind Institute; Professor Jevin West, DataLab, iSchool, University of Washington; John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks; and Professor Katie Davis, author of The App Generation.

To learn more about LIKE, visit http://thelikemovie.com

Editor’s Note: IndieFlix Group Inc is a global screening and streaming service that promotes and supports social impact films to create positive change in the world. IndieFlix screening service books offline community screenings in schools and corporations around the world while IndieFlix online streaming offers a monthly subscription based service to access thousands of high-quality shorts, features, documentaries, and series from around the world.

For more information, visit https://www.indieflix.com/

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A la Carte: Baby, It’s Cold Outside … so it Must be Time for Soup!

Lee White

It has been pretty cold outside and, for that matter, inside my condo. 

I keep my thermostat at 60 degrees, until friends are coming for dinner (which doesn’t happen these days because of the pandemic) or coming to watch the UConn women play basketball (my neighbors don’t have SNY network). When they visit, I turn the heat to 65. They wear their puffy jackets and I offer them down throws.

But to be honest, it has been cold enough that I often turn the heat to 65 during the day. Sometimes I forget to turn it back down at night. By the time I am in bed under my electric blanket and my down comforter, I boil.

So, often, I have to go back downstairs and turn the thermostat down. (I know, I can get a smart thermostat that does this for me, but I keep saying, “Yeah, just another two or three months and it will be warm again.” Also, I am mechanically inept and I don’t know how to put in a new thermostat.

What I do these days to keep myself just warm enough is with food. I make stews and soups and I roast a big chicken every couple of weeks.

This recipe below is from a magazine I had been hoarding for a few months because its cover promised “Time for Soup!” I love lemon soup and this reminded me how much I miss St. Sophia’s Greek Festival in New London.

There I always begin with its lemon soup, choose pastitsio for my entrée and finish with a piece of baklava. I have made baklava myself and maybe I should try pastitsio, too. In the meantime, here is a great recipe for the soup.

Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
From Food magazine, October, 2020
Yield: serves 4

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup orzo
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 ½ lemons)
1 ¾ cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
1 ¾ cups frozen peas and carrots

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add orzo and cook 2 minutes less than the label directs.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg, yolks, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice. Reduce hear under the orzo to low, scoop out 1 cup broth with a ladle and pour it into the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking with the other hand. Then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining broth and orzo in a steady stream, whisking constantly.*

Stir the chicken into the soup, increase the heat to medium and bring it to a gentle simmer, stirring often, Cook stirring, until the soup thickens slightly, about 4 minute. Stir in the peas and carrots and warm through.

*You need to warm up (or temper) your eggs before you add them to the broth or else you’ll get scrambled egg soup! Whisk the eggs with a little hot broth first, then slowly whisk them into the soup.

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.

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Public Hearing for Old Lyme’s Planning Commission’s Conservation, Development Plan Draws Most Comments on Town’s Housing Needs

Old Lyme Planning Commission members and visitors participated in a virtual Public Hearing Thursday on the commission’s proposed Plan of Conservation & Development.

OLD LYME — Old Lyme Planning Commission Chairman Harold Thompson opened Thursday evening’s Public Hearing for the ‘Adoption of the 2020 Plan of Conservation & Development (POCD)’ by noting, “This has been a long road with some difficult times.” Adding that the Commission had held 15 workshops to discuss the document, which is published on the Town of Old Lyme website, he went on to detail the required timeline for gaining its approval in order to  submit it by the mandatory deadline to the state.

He then opened the virtual (the meeting was held via Webex) floor to comments from the public. First to speak was Halls Road Improvement Committee Chairman Edie Twining, who initially quoted from comments she had submitted in writing to the Commission prior to the meeting.

She stated, “The Halls Road Improvements Committee has initiated a Halls Road Plan which is currently being created by the BSC group. This is a significant, town-approved, and town-funded planning initiative that will guide any future development in the Halls Road Commercial area. The plan will include recommendations for significant capital investment by the town to create new sidewalks, bike paths, pedestrian lighting, and landscaping in the Halls Road area.”

Continuing, “It will provide studies on the market needs of this area, the infrastructure options, CT DOT constraints, and documentation of all existing conditions to provide recommendations for changes in zoning, uses, and design guidelines,” she added,  “This report will lay the groundwork to aid in maintaining our town’s commercial center with the introduction of mixed use.”

She then stressed, “In keeping with clearly expressed public sentiment, it will steer away from the current “strip center” aesthetic of 60’ setbacks. Instead it will promote a return to the original small town character of Old Lyme’s town center, as found on historic Lyme Street.”

Twining concluded her comments in her own words, “We feel the town’s 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development should include a reasonable discussion of the largest formal planning effort currently underway under the town’s auspices and at the town’s expense,” noting, “I have delivered an outline of specific pages where I see a need for changes in order to correctly represent the Halls Road Planning effort. I would like to request that these changes be included in your document.”

Finally she thanked the commission for their, “time and consideration of this work.”

Howard Margules, Old Lyme Economic Development Commission Chairman, then questioned whether the issue of blighted structures in the town should be included in the document. He also quoted from a general description of a strip mall, which Thompson agreed bore a strong resemblance to Halls Rd. Margules pointed out that it states in the POCD that strip malls are not permitted and therefore suggested there might be a “disconnect” in the report on that matter.

Margules further suggested the commission should confer with the new leadership at Lyme Academy to update information in the plan regarding the Academy and then concluded by saying how much he appreciated the commission’s work.

Thompson responded he had already had a lengthy phone conversation with Michael Duffy, the new board chair at the Academy.

Stephen Jungkeit, Senior Minister at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, thanked the planning commission for their work, adding, “This is a really well done report.” He said he wished to “affirm interest in [a variety of types of] housing,” which had been mentioned in the report, noting that, “from his vantage point,” this was a major issue in the town that he felt needed urgent attention. After noting that he hoped that the POCD represented, “… the beginning of a wider look at the issue,” he ended by saying simply, “I’m just saying thank you for that.”

Commission member Stephen Ross expressed the opinion, “that what would benefit the town a lot would be a broader survey of what the town needs in terms of housing.” Remarking that a house near his own on Shore Rd. had been vacant for one and a half years, he said, “We need to assess the actual demand [for housing] as opposed to the perceived demand.”

Twining responded that the HRIC was doing a “market study looking into some of those things,” and had reported that, “only one apartment was available in the whole town.”

Ross disputed that finding saying, “There’s a heck of a lot more than one apartment available,” noting that there was a need to look into all rentals.

Jungkeit suggested any survey should also include research into housing needs emanating from outside the town. Ross then stated, “It’s all about inventory.”

Margules agreed that “drilling down further into housing needs” would be beneficial, noting that, for example, the needs of seniors downsizing and young people moving into town “need to be addressed as well.”

The Public Hearing concluded with a unanimous vote to continue the hearing until Feb. 9.

 

 

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Jan 15 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases in Old Lyme Reach 211; Griswold Urges, ‘We Can’t Let Our Guard Down Now’

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold

LYME/OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s COVID-19 case numbers increased by five in the report issued Friday afternoon (Jan. 15) by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) taking the cumulative total for the town since the pandemic began to 211.

On Friday, Jan. 8, the report issued by CT DPH that day gave Old Lyme’s cumulative total as 173, meaning that in the following week (1/8-1/15), 38 new cases were confirmed.

Lyme’s number was unchanged from the previous day, standing at a cumulative total of 66.

Asked his thoughts on the recent significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the town, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold told LymeLine exclusively, “These troubling numbers are typical of what’s happening through the state and the country. The salient point is that we’ve been seeing it [the number of cases] gradually picking up, but now they’re really ramping up.”

He added, “You’ve had the holidays and now it’s incumbent on all of us to keep doing what we’re doing,” stressing, “We can’t let our guard down now.”

Referring to the expansion of the vaccine program, Griswold noted optimistically that with the combination of that and people continuing to be vigilant, “We can hopefully begin to get the curve down.”

 

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Ledge Light Report Shows Significant Increase in New COVID Cases in Lyme, Old Lyme in Past Two Weeks

LYME/OLD LYME — This afternoon (Jan. 15), Ledge Light Health Department (LLHD) released its latest Weekly COVID-19 Report for the municipalities within their District, which include both Lyme and Old Lyme.

Stephen Mansfield, LLHD Director of Health, prefaces the report with this statement, “As expected, we continue to see an increase in cases within our jurisdiction, due in part to COVID transmissions associated with holiday gatherings.”

The report shows that in the past two weeks from Dec. 27, 2020 to Jan. 9, 2021, COVID Cases in Lyme and Old Lyme have almost doubled in both towns in the past two weeks compared with the previous two-week period.

The detailed numbers are Old Lyme had 53 new cases between 12/27/20 and 1/9/2021, up from 30 in the previous two-week period. Meanwhile Lyme recorded 24 new cases in that period, up from 12 in the previous two-week period.

This report only includes cases and tests among persons residing in community settings; it does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

It also details that 987 Old Lyme residents had molecular tests and antigen tests in the past two weeks, up from 847 in the previous two-week period, while the equivalent number for Lyme residents was 333, up from 290 in the previous two-week period.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Humankind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman

Ah! In the midst of a global pandemic and toxic political strife almost everywhere, it is a sheer delight to be encouraged by some optimism.

Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, asks some serious questions: are we humans not basically bad, but innately “good? Do crises actually bring out “the best in people” rather than the reverse? Is “resilience . . . universally human”?

He readily acknowledges that we have been immersed for centuries in the idea that we are fatally flawed, an idea thrust on us by religions and many secular ideologies.

“Quite a few religions,” he argues, “take it as a tenet of fact that humans are mired in sin”; that our “news” is a daily drug of negativism, and the annals of our “history” glorifies the “winners” without acknowledging any of the ideas of the losers.

The point of this book: “ … our grim view of humanity is due for radical revision.” He argues “humans, in short, are anything but poker-faced. We constantly leak emotions and are hardwired to relate to the people around us … Our spirits yearn for connection … We are not alone. We have each other.”

His key question: Are humans naturally non-violent, and have we been so for hundreds of thousands of years, or have we evolved, slowly, to be more and more passive? He challenges Stephen Pinker’s thesis, in The Better Angels of Our Nature, that we are slowly and inevitably evolving toward pacific relations.

No, says Bregman: we have always been that way!

He illustrates his argument with numerous fresh analyses of situations and cases, such as the Stanford Prison experiment, the Stanley Milgram “shock” experiment at Yale, the facts about the settlement of Easter Island, an innovative prison modification in Norway, the case of two white South Africans who helped Nelson Mandela, and the famous joint celebration of Christmas Eve by Allied and German troops in December 1914.

So how can we support and enhance this native human instinct? Bregman argues that education continues to be the key: “the freedom to go wherever curiosity leads. To search and discover, to experiment and to create. Not along any lines set out by parents or teachers [or religious and political leaders, I will add.] But just because. For the fun of it.”

This means more contact: “contact engenders more trust, more solidarity, or mutual kindness. Does this mean we should redesign completely our schools? A challenging thought.

Bregman, following many writers, concludes this challenging thesis with “Ten Rules to Live By:” But, being an octogenarian, I find it most difficult to remember more than three things, so here are my three rules, synthesizing his ten:

  1. Doubt almost everything
  2. Be ever curious
  3. Try a different road!

But first, read this book …

Editor’s Note: ‘Humankind’ by Rutger Bregman was published by Little Brown, New York 2020.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008).
A 20-year resident of Lyme, Conn., he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction, a subject which explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there.
For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings.
His late wife, Ann, was also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visited every summer.

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Ledge Light Announces COVID Vaccine Registration Options for Individuals Age 75 & Over

Photo by CDC on Unsplash.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED JAN. 15 (see text in red below): On Thursday, Jan. 14, the State of Connecticut opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals aged 75 and older.

Individuals aged 75 and older who wish to be vaccinated can register for a vaccination through a number of channels:

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge contacted us this morning to emphasize that the easiest way for people aged 75 and over is to register for the vaccine via the LLHD website. Anyone registering this way should then expect to receive two emails after registering, one from the Connecticut Department of Health and the second from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Roberge also stressed that people in this age group, who do not have access to a computer, should use the phone number given above to register.

He added that relatives, friends and neighbors of persons aged 75 and over could be very helpful in checking that the person [aged 75 and over] has successfully registered for the vaccine by any method.

In addition to these methods, some individuals may be contacted by their healthcare provider to schedule a vaccination, if their provider is participating in the vaccination program. 

All vaccinations are offered by appointment; people must first register through one of the systems listed above to secure an appointment. Vaccine supply remains limited and patience is requested. 

Although the availability of vaccine will help reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 long term, it is only one of the tools that we have in our toolbox to fight this pandemic; it is an imperative that everyone remain diligent and continue to practice social distancing and appropriate mask protocols.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is committed to assuring that all individuals have access to vaccinations as they become eligible, and as vaccine is available.

While LLHD is one of the vaccination providers, LLHD does not make decisions about who is eligible for vaccinations. Ledge Light Health District staff are monitoring information regarding vaccine eligibility as it is released by the State of Connecticut.

The State has indicated that certain frontline essential workers as well as individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and those individuals ages 16 to 64 who have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk will become eligible in the coming weeks.

Visit the LLHD’s website and social media pages frequently for up-to-date information.

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Jan. 14 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases Climb by One in Old Lyme to 204, Lyme’s Rise by Two to 66

This map published Jan. 14 shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

LYME/OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s COVID-19 case numbers increased by one in the report issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) today taking the cumulative total for the town since the pandemic began to 204.

In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme.

The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past several weeks.

As of the Jan. 14 report (see map above), only three towns in the state — Canaan, Cornwall and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 199 confirmed COVID-19 cases and FIVE probable cases, making a TOTAL of 204 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of ONE in the number of confirmed cases (198) reported Wednesday, Jan. 13, and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases (5) reported the same day

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,095 (+6 over 1/13 report).

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 14 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27/20 through 01/09/21, Old Lyme had 34 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 51.4, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 29.1. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 60 confirmed cases and six probable cases, making a TOTAL of 66 cases.

This represents NO CHANGE in the number of confirmed or probable cases from the numbers reported Wednesday, Jan. 13.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,082 (+1 over 1/13 report).

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 14 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/27 through 01/09/21, Lyme had 13 cases in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 14, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 78.3 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 36.7. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

***

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.

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Two New Shows on View at Lyme Art Association: ‘First Impressions’ & ‘New Elected Artists’

‘September’s Sunflowers’ is one of the features works in the New Elected Artists Show opening at the Lyme Art Association, Jan. 15.

OLD LYME — On Friday, Jan. 15, two new shows open at the Lyme Art Association (LAA).

The First Impressions Exhibition is a juried exhibition of the Association’s Associate Artist members, accomplished artists who have been successfully exhibiting in selective shows at the Lyme Art Association for a number of years. This exhibit will include a variety of media and themes: landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture.

The New Elected Artists show in the Goodman Gallery will present work from four new Elected Artists. This year the Elected Artists welcome Michael Centrella, Jacqueline Jones, Susan Termyn, and Len Swec into this most selective and talented group of artists. Both exhibits run through March 11, 2021.

 

‘Foxglove’ by Betsy Barry is one of the featured works in the ‘First Impressions’ exhibition opening Jan. 15, at the LAA

“The Annual Associate Artists Exhibition highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” notes Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager.

She adds, “The New Elected Artists show in the Goodman Gallery promises to be impressive; our new class of Elected Artists is very accomplished.”

First Impressions and New Elected Artists are on view through March 11, 2021. Visitors to the LAA are asked to wear a face covering when visiting and practice social distancing.

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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‘The Country School’ Hosts Virtual Open House, Jan. 25

Learning about how the molecular world works in the face of an invisible crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic currently being experienced, 8th Grader, Caleb Butler of Westbrook, who attends The Country School, loads a gel with his PCR product prior to electrophoresis. The Country School hosts a Virtual Open House, Jan. 25.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

Hear from the admission team, current parents, students, faculty and administration.

Learn about the school’s admission process; rigorous academic program; Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

Register for the Open House at this link. You will be sent the Zoom link for the event after registering.

For more information about The Country School, visit www.thecountryschool.org.

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Jan. 12 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases Rise by 13 in OL to 197, Lyme’s Increase by Two to 64

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — Connecticut’s single-day COVID-19 positivity rate reached 10.7 percent yesterday (Jan. 12, 2021), which was the first time since May 2020 that the state’s rate exceeded 10 percent. Old Lyme’s case numbers again reflect this situation showing their single highest daily increase in cases (13) since the pandemic began, breaking the previous day’s record of 11.

In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme.

The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past several weeks.

As of today’s report (see map above), five towns in the state — Canaan, Colebrook, Kent, Union and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 191 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable cases, making a TOTAL of 197 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of 10 in the number of confirmed cases reported Monday, Jan. 11, and an INCREASE of 3 in the number of probable cases reported the same day

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,066.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Old Lyme had 11 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan.7, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 29.1, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 21.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 59 confirmed cases and five probable cases, making a total of 64 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of TWO in the number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases from the numbers reported Monday, Jan. 11.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,068.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Lyme had one case in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 7, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 36.7 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 18.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

***

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

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Jan. 11 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases Jump by 11 in OL to 184, by 9 in Lyme to 62

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — Yesterday, Connecticut recorded its highest weekly positivity rate since the spring. Lyme and Old Lyme’s case numbers reflect this situation with both towns showing their single highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic began.

In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme.

The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Jan. 10, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past several weeks.

As of today’s report (see map above), five towns in the state — Canaan, Colebrook, Kent, Union and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 181 confirmed COVID-19 cases and THREE probable cases, making a TOTAL of 184 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of 11 in the number of confirmed cases reported Friday, Jan. 8, and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases reported the same day

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 3,998.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Old Lyme had 11 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan.7, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 29.1, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 21.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 57 confirmed cases and five probable cases, making a total of 62 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of NINE in the number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases from the numbers reported Friday, Jan. 8.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,040.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Lyme had one case in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 7, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 36.7 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 18.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

***

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

 

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Letter to the Editor: Patience, Kindness of Old Lyme Postmaster, All OL Postal Workers Much Appreciated

To the Editor:

Only Kindness Matters” a popular song by Jewel, is the modus operandi of Jim Swimmer, our Postmaster of the Old Lyme Post Office. Over the years, I have witnessed his patient, kind, and personal attention as a problem solver, or just as a helpful Human Being.

December was a burdensome month for all forms of delivery due to the pandemic. There were often lineups of customers at the post office mailing packages to family and friends. Kudos to all the Old Lyme Postal Workers who handled the stream of objects coming to their counters – the packages piled up high behind the counters, which had to be sorted and started on to the next transit. Every worker was courteous and patient, and I’m sure were working many more than 8 hours a day behind the scenes to keep it all moving.

Folks complained about packages that were not delivered or received in the time expected. Even Priority Mail packages and Express Mail packages were delayed. I observed and heard about several instances of parcels that were sometimes routed to the wrong post office on the way to final destination. Through it all, Patience and Kindness to all customers seemed to be the rule at the Old Lyme Post Office. Thank You to all our Postal Workers!

Sincerely,

Patricia Shippee,
Old Lyme.

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Gardening Tips for January by The English Lady: New Year, New Chapter, New Opportunities

Paper-white narcissi have a beautiful fragrance. Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash.

Happy New Year everyone!

Recently on Dec. 21,  we experienced the Winter Solstice and turned the corner so that with each day, we move gradually from the dark into the light to a longer, brighter day.

A few weeks ago, I planted my Paper-white Narcissus on pebbles, with just enough pebbles to anchor the bulbs in place or you may use potting soil. I use tall glass vases and it is most important keep the pebbles moist with enough water to cover the bottom of each bulb.

I brought my Rosemary plant indoors in September, Rosemary are not hardy outdoors in our zone six and. I spray the plant twice weekly with water and run a cold-water humidifier and two germ guardian air cleaners with UV lights for personal health and the health of my plants.  

After planting the Paper White Narcissus, I placed them in a dark cool closet until the foliage is about four inches tall. Today I moved them from the dark closet to a cool room with indirect light and where the temperature remains at about 65 degrees. When the buds are almost ready to open, I will place them in a brighter area to be enjoyed, not only for their bloom but also the heady fragrance. which permeates the house.   

The new bloom gets me out of the winter doldrums, which is particularly heavy this year with the pandemic, and anything I can do to lift my spirits is welcome. I know that the severe changes that are occurring with global warming combined with pollution in the air, water and the earth, are severely damaging our planet and I know this year, our new government will begin in earnest to heal our planet for ourselves and the future for our children.    

Your personal contribution to saving our planet is to organically tend the soil with compost, manure and natural brown mulch, which builds the humus component in your soil. Your plants and vegetables will thrive, as will you.  Throughout the year allow your garden to anchor you, connecting heart, body, mind and spirit to Mother Nature’s lifegiving bountiful gifts and spiritual energy.  

The harsh winds of January and February extract moisture from trees and shrubs, especially the evergreens. Winter winds are more harmful to plants than cold temperatures, not only causing plant breakage but also soil erosion. For that reason, it’s helpful to have a few bags of topsoil and mulch in the garage. With these items on hand, any roots can be covered when they become exposed by wind or frost heave. 

Roots exposed to the elements for any length of time can kill the plant, so when you notice exposed roots quickly cover exposed areas with soil and mulch. When spring arrives, and the earth warms up, the plant can be resettled in place together with composted manure and the natural brown mulch to provide protection and nutrition.

On a sunny day in January, take a walk round the garden to breathe in the fresh air and as you walk, make some notes and decide what worked for you last year and what you will never try again. 

Later when back indoors, sitting in your armchair, browse through the catalogues that began arriving a few months ago. You have already begun making lists of plants that you are thinking of buying. However, a word of caution when gazing at the photos, which are meant to tempt you with their lovely but “doctored up” pictures of plants that you feel certain will make your garden sensational this year.   

Don’t be fooled, instead try to make 2021 the year for realistic and organized change. Please do not allow your imagination to go haywire and be caught up in the fantasy of the brightly colored, high maintenance garden pictures shown in the catalogues.  Suit your garden to your lifestyle that will work within your time frame and physical abilities.  If you follow that construct, you will have the time to sit, relax and smell the roses, without being overwhelmed or disappointed.    

As you sit and plan for the coming season, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. It’s hard to believe as you look outside at the uninspiring landscape that in a few months, early spring sunshine and pleasant breezes will warm the soil. When the soil is dry enough to tread on, winter debris may carefully be cleared away. Then with a clean palette you can add that lovely layer of manure and compost (the ratio being three parts manure to onepart compost).

Following those tasks, I find it personally satisfying to make a clean edge on the borders, this simple task makes such a difference to the look of any garden.  With all that prep done, April showers will arrive, the sun shines and you are ready for the fun stuff, the placing and planting!  

For those of you who are vegetable gardeners and look forward to a bountiful year with fruits and vegetables and with rain, extra irrigation and sunshine to produce this delicious bounty. As we advance into spring, we can expect the invasion of the good and bad insects, moles, voles and other critters, which can be dealt with naturally.

Your memory of your garden from last season may be lost in the enthusiasm of a new season, so I am asking you to be kind to yourself, for last year you became overwhelmed with too much gardening, and not enough time to relax and smell the roses. 

Here are some suggestions you might follow to avoid that problem:

  • Send some of your borders back to grass.
  • Make some of the high maintenance perennial borders, into mixed shrub borders. To accomplish this, take out some of the high maintenance perennials and donate them to a worthy cause.
  • Plant small and medium size evergreen shrubs; some green, some blue and some of the lovely evergreen gold variety, amongst the perennials.  To these, add small flowering deciduous trees and shrubs that will begin flowering in April and successively through June. The Carlesii viburnum, also known as Korean Spice is a favorite small shrub of mine, with its white buds that open to a pale pink and that has the most delightful fragrance.
  • Add a Ben Franklin tree with its white cup like blooms and gold center that flowers in August through September.
  • Nestle three Blue Mist shrubs in the mixed border; this plant will delight with purple blooms and fragrant leaves into September.
  • On a fence or trellis, plant white autumn clematis.
  • Add a groundcover as an evergreen framework – my favorite is Myrtle with its glossy leaves and miniature blue flowers that emerge in April.

Do garden fairies live here? Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash.

It is never too soon to introduce your children and grandchildren to the wonders of the garden and as an extra enticement, introduce them to the garden fairies.  Through the years I asked children to draw a picture of the garden fairy and make a list of questions to ask the fairies who live in the wild patch.  We all have a wild patch in the garden; and at this point you are probably saying, “Maureen, my garden is one large ‘wild patch’.

In the interim, the children became so excited and enthused about their lists and pictures of the fairies, for what you have shown them is the transformation of science into magic. These days we seem to have forgotten about fairy tales, dreams and magic; it’s way past time to bring those wonderful energies back into our lives and into the lives of our children.  

In spring and on into summer I would find my children or their friends impatiently checking the garden wanting to see their planting efforts come into bloom. In the vegetable garden they gathered to check what was ready to eat from the produce they had planted.  I have found that this introduction to the garden has inspired these children to enthusiastically plant and tend gardens of their own as adults. 

My son Ian is a great example of this as he has partnered with me through the years in the garden – and thus the old adage that ‘the student is better than the teacher’ has certainly proved to be correct. Ian is a designer par excellence and I invite you to check his website LandscapesbyIan.com and his Facebook page for lovely examples of his work. 

In my March gardening tips, I’ll offer you some suggestions of ornamental trees, shrubs and long blooming perennials. With that list in hand, it is preferable to obtain your plants from local garden centers that carry tried and true plants that will flourish in zone six.   

On the other hand, if you feel that over the years, you have been throwing good money after bad in your garden and despair when you feel that your garden never looks right, get in touch with a landscape company (like my son’s!) who will keep your budget in mind whether you want to do your own work, or wish for a design to install yourself.  

On the other hand, when you are planning your garden for this coming season there are important facts to keep in mind:  

  • What are the plants requirements for sun, shade, soil, and water?
  • Will they survive in this zone, Zone 6?
  • What are the growth patterns of the plants?  Do they grow fast or slow?

Rhododendron Catawbiense is a stunning addition to any garden.

You do not want a 50 ft. tree up against the house with tremendous roots that will play havoc with your house foundation.  Or do you want that lovely but very large, Catawbiense Rhododendron, all 10 ft. of it, climbing through your dining room window in five years? 

To find those facts, either check the plants in a book, on the Internet or read the labels attached to the plants in the nursery. 

Check every aspect of the plant before you buy.  The red or green Lace leaf Japanese maple looks lovely in spring but is it something you can enjoy, without its leaves in the winter?  Personally, I not only enjoy the foliage of plants and trees but also the shape and bark of trees without foliage in winter.  

For those of you just beginning a garden, let us be honest and dispense with the myth that gardening is a relaxing hobby. At the end of that first day of digging, lugging soil, manure and fertilizer, and planting everything at the proper depth; you will feel that you are going to keel over.  

Then you remember that you still need to water the newly-installed plants as you drag your tired body to switch on the hose. Thank goodness, the mulching can wait until tomorrow or next weekend, right? Right!   

Watering by the way can be meditative. Imagine that the hose is your umbilical cord so that as you nourish the earth and the plants, the earth can nourish you. 

By now the sun has gone down, and you trudge indoors muttering to yourself, “What the heck did I get myself into?”  To this comment I say, “You did not have to tackle all of the garden in one day”.  

In gardening, there is always tomorrow, or next week, and even though the label says to plant it by the end of May or June, believe me folks, a few weeks later does not matter, the garden will wait for you.  

You may be saying to yourself at this point, “Maureen are you trying to put us off gardening”? No folks, but I would remiss, as someone who has gardening in my blood (as well as manure) for over 400 years to tell you, however reluctantly, not only the pleasures, but some of the aches and pains.

The idea is not to bite off more than you can chew.  For first time gardeners, don’t scatter your energies all over the garden, tackle and complete one area at a time. That area should be priority one until it is complete.  

If you have a new home with no landscaping, some hardscape may be required.  Hardscape is walls, walkways, patios, ponds, decks and so on. The sound and look of a water feature in the garden is delightful, it need not be elaborate, a fountain is fine – the reflection of water is Mother Nature’s mirror.

If you are not able to do this construction yourself, get in touch with a landscape contractor now, so that a plan can be done now, installed and ready by spring.  I say to connect now as Ian tells me that many landscape products are short on supply this year.   

All of these endeavors mean you getting yourself in shape physically, so get off that couch, put away the catalogues and your plant lists, stretch, then wrap yourself up in warm gear and take that walk.   

As you walk, look at the trees in winter, the elegant shape of them, the lichen on the stonewalls, and the moss tucked in cracks and crevices.  Clear your mind and allow nature’s spirit to surround you.  As you walk, look at a garden or two in your neighborhood; gardens which you have admired when they were in bloom and see what they look like in winter.  

I remember one of my professors when I studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew saying, “In winter you can tell a really good landscape by its bones, without the flesh of flora and foliage.” In spring, get in touch with those neighbors whose gardens you admired and ask them some of the secrets of their garden. They will be happy to talk with you not only of their successes but their failures – true gardeners are realists when they speak about their gardens and love to share.  

Well everyone, I’ve given you plenty to think about right now so enjoy your daydreaming of the season to come and I’ll see you next month in your garden.

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones, pictured left, is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, ‘The English Lady Landscape and Home Company.’ Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.
Contact Maureen at maureenhaseleyjones@gmail.com

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Lyme-Old Lyme BOE Approves Artificial Turf Field by 6-3 Vote, Neviaser Anticipates Construction Complete By Start of Next School Year

This image, courtesy of Millone & McBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School and the proposed synthetic turf field.

LYME-OLD LYME — COMMENT ADDED JAN. 10: After a lengthy debate at Wednesday evening’s Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education (BOE) monthly meeting, members approved the motion to move forward with the artificial turf athletic field by a six to three majority.

The field which was approved incorporates a wood-based product called Brockfill instead of originally proposed crumb rubber and raises the price of the project by almost $195,000, increasing the total to $2.3 million.

Those voting for the motion were BOE Chairman Diane Linderman along with Rick Gould, Stacey Leonardo (Lyme), Martha Shoemaker and Jean Wilczynski.

Voting against the motion were Suzanne Thompson, Mary Powell St. Louis (Lyme) and Stephen Wilson.

Asked Thursday how he expected the project to proceed now that it had been approved, Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained to LymeLine.com that design engineers Millone & McBroom would now commence preparation of the detailed engineering documents.

Neviaser said he anticipated those documents would be ready by mid-February and then LOL Schools would  go out to bid on the project. Noting that he expected the closing date for bids to be submitted to be mid-March, Neviaser stated he hoped to present the bids to the BOE at their April meeting.

Assuming a bid were accepted at that meeting, then construction would begin in May and is expected to take three months to complete, giving, in Neviaser’s words, a “one month cushion before school starts.”

Neviaser stressed that this is a “hopeful” timeline and is obviously contingent on a variety of factors including the prices at which bids are submitted.

 

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Letter to the Editor: Less Than Two Weeks for This President, But Now New Concerns

To the Editor:

The least of our worries is not whether the outgoing president pardons unrepentant criminals, or to whom he awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rather, consider the following: in the final days of Nixon’s presidency, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger had issued a set of orders that, if the president gave any military strike orders, or, God forbid, a nuclear launch order, commanders should check with him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before execution. Schlesinger feared that the president, who appeared out of touch with reality, might start a war, or initiate nuclear Armageddon.

Today [Friday, Jan. 8], the Speaker of the House of Representatives began discussions with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding appropriate  precautions that may be taken during the period before the inauguration.

God save the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Jan. 8 COVID-19 Update: Case Rate Increases in Both Lyme, Old Lyme; Cumulative Cases Climb by 4 in OL to 173, Lyme’s Rise by 3 to 53

This map shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme.

The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. The Monday reports include data for the weekend as well as the previous Friday.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Jan. 7, 2021 shows the following:

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the state-identified ‘Red Zone;’ where they have been for the past two weeks.

As of today’s report (see map above), five towns in the state — Canaan, Colebrook, Kent, Union and Warren — remain in the ‘Gray Zone.’

  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.
  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Old Lyme

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 170 confirmed COVID-19 cases and THREE probable cases, making a TOTAL of 173 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of FOUR in the number of confirmed cases reported Thursday, Jan. 7, and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases reported the same day

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 3,946.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Old Lyme had 11 cases in Week 1 and 19 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan.7, 2021.

The case rate in Old Lyme for 100,000 population is 29.1, reflecting an increase from the previously reported two-week rate of 21.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

Lyme

Lyme has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 48 confirmed cases and five probable cases, making a total of 53 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of THREE in the number of confirmed cases or and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases from the numbers reported Thursday, Jan. 7.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,022.

CT DPH Two-Weekly Report

The Jan. 8 report issued by CT DPH shows that during the two-week reporting period from 12/20 through 01/02/21, Lyme had one case in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. This data was updated Jan. 7, 2021.

The case rate in Lyme for 100,000 population is 36.7 reflecting a increase from the previously reported two-week-rate of 18.3. A case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 population places a town in the state’s ‘Red Zone.’

***

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

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