July 7, 2022

Inaugural Winners Receive Cup, Champagne After Participating in July 4th Patriotic Boat Parade on Rogers Lake

Tereza and John Mainetti proudly display the cup they were by Dave and Christina Evers for the “Most Enthusiastic, Patriotic, and Best Decorated Boat” in the 2022 Rogers Lake Boat Parade. All photos submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME — The third annual Rogers Lake Boat Parade was another great success this year and, for the first time, a cup was awarded for the “Most Enthusiastic, Patriotic, and Best Decorated Boat” in the parade.

Maureen Plumleigh was at the wheel of her appropriately-decorated boat in the parade.

Dave and Christina Evers conceived the idea of the trophy to promote a unifying and positive spirit around the parade. Christina explained to LymeLine, “Dave grew up on this lake and wants people to enjoy and create memories just like he has … he thought the trophy would be fun.”

Lady Liberty graced this boat with her torch while Uncle Sam rode atop.

The inaugural winners of the handsome trophy were Tereza and John Mainetti, who keep it for 12 months and then return it to be presented to next year’s winner. The judges of the contest were Ray and Bobbi Ward.

The cup holding a bottle of champagne patiently awaits its first winner.

Congratulations to the winners, and also all those involved in organizing the parade and contest.

CT Dept. Of Public Health Announces State’s First Monkeypox Case

HARTFORD, Conn.—The Connecticut Department of Public Health has announced the first case of monkeypox in a Connecticut resident.  The patient is a male between the ages of 40 and 49 and is a resident of New Haven County. The patient is isolating and has not been hospitalized. No other patient information will be released.

“DPH believes that the risk to Connecticut residents from this case is low,” said Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

She continued, “The United States is currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak, and there will likely be additional cases in Connecticut in the weeks ahead.”

Monkeypox can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.” 

Over the past month, DPH has raised awareness of monkeypox among higher risk populations, alerted and educated local medical professionals, and informed local health departments throughout the state to monitor for cases.

For Connecticut residents that are concerned about fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, contact your health care provider for evaluation. Health care providers should request orthopoxvirus testing for patients at the state public health laboratory by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at (860) 509-7994.

For more information about monkeypox, visit Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by Ledge Light Health Department.

Old Lyme Residents Unanimously Approve $2.1M in ARPA Spending in Special Town Meeting

Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker presents the recommendations from the American Rescue Plan Committee at Tuesday evening’s Special Town Meeting. Photo by Phil Parcak.

OLD LYME – At Tuesday evening’s Special Town Meeting, Old Lyme taxpayers voted unanimously to approve a final disbursement of $2,120,593 in the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The payout includes over 60 individual disbursements addressing 10 key recommendations such as supporting the economic recovery of Old Lyme’s small businesses and supporting public health services.

The vote came following the June 21, 2022 recommendations of the Town’s Boards of Selectmen and Finance.

The Town previously approved $41,622 at the March 21, 2022 Special Town Meeting. The Town has now allocated its total ARPA funding from the Federal Government, as required within the stated deadline.

In September 2021, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen appointed a committee of a dozen townspeople representing a cross-section of concerns including health and human services, emergency services, business, and tourism. The “ARP Committee” began its work a month later with one of its first tasks being to conduct a survey of residents and business leaders and develop two application processes.

Subsequently, following the submission of almost 80 economic recovery and community initiative grant applications, the ARP Committee created a set of recommendations for the board of selectmen that included distributing up to $10,000 in ARPA funds to 33 individual businesses and nonprofits for economic recovery, and more than 30 initiatives that would serve Old Lyme in its ability to move forward from the pandemic, while better preparing for the future.

Approved initiatives include $275,000 for a new ambulance for Old Lyme’s volunteer ambulance organization, $114,160 toward four years of increased mental health services provided through Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, and $55,000 to repair the Swan Brook outlet’s wood outfall, an issue that has caused flooding in the Miami Beach and Hawks Nest communities.

Old Lyme Town Clerk Vicki Urbowicz read the motion ahead of the vote in the Special Town Meeting held Tuesday evening. Attorney Victoria Lanier (seated at left) moderated the meeting.

Some initiatives receiving funding will result in fun and innovative ways for organizations to provide services to Old Lyme residents. 

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library will receive $6,350 to fund a mobile/outdoor children’s library service with the purchase of a Library e-assist Book Bike. The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, a center of the Connecticut Audubon Society, can expect to receive $157,095 toward its anticipated children’s science discovery and environmental learning center.

Initiatives to address the local economy by bringing visitors back to Old Lyme include $137,599 toward renovations to the Sound View Community Center, $30,875 toward Black Hall Outfitter’s targeted tourism marketing to watersport enthusiasts, $8,000 toward the 2023 Midsummer Festival, and $2,700 for additional outreach efforts by the Town’s Economic Development Commission.

The full list of approved economic recovery grants and community initiatives can be found at this link.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold felt the grants addressed a broad set of ideas and needs. “The American Rescue Plan Committee took into account a broad range of needs and concerns and addressed them in a rational and unprejudiced way.”

Griswold continued, “These recommendations not only bring funding to individual businesses and organizations that make up the fabric of our community, but also help the Town itself move forward from a time that challenged our ability to provide important public services.” 

In addition to the recovery grants and initiative concepts submitted by Town organizations, the ARP Committee voted to recommend to the Town the allocation of $20,000 to the Town’s Social Services Discretionary Fund to help residents during hardship. The Committee also recommended that any funds not expended by a grant recipient or the Town itself by the Federal deadline of December 2026 be redirected to the Discretionary Fund.

The set of recommendations voted on by the Town Tuesday evening also includes up to $20,000 in administrative, outreach, and legal costs associated with the ARPA funding and up to $20,000 in fees to a consultant hired by the Town to review and recommend the economic recovery grants following his appraisal of applicants’ financial losses.

Thomas Gotowka, Old Lyme American Rescue Plan Committee Chairman, said the Committee met the charge put forward and could be proud of its work. “I am very pleased at how well we [the Committee] covered the community landscape. The list reflects Old Lyme’s needs, as seen in responses to our survey; and an objective appraisal of each application or proposed initiative,” Gotowka said.

He further noted that the Committee had in place several safeguards to avoid any conflict of interest and worked to meet “the requirements and mandates of the legislation.”

About 60 Old Lyme residents were in attendance at the Special Town Meeting Tuesday evening. Following Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker’s presentation of the ARP Committee’s recommendations, those in attendance voted unanimously to approve the package.

Griswold noted that grants to businesses and organizations will be made once the Town receives its second and final ARPA installment, which is anticipated shortly. Letters to grant recipients will go out in the coming weeks.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by the ARP Committee.

The Little Town of Lyme Hosts Another Lovely Independence Day Parade

All photos by Michele Dickey.

LYME — UPDATED 7/6 WITH MORE TEXT & PHOTOS: It was a perfect day for a parade! And townspeople and local area residents turned out  in force to celebrate Independence Day in the little Town of Lyme.

The grand marshal for this year’s parade was Parker Lord, who served as a selectman on Town of Lyme’s Board of Selectmen for more than 20 years and retired in 2021.  Lord continues to serve the Town as chair of its Open Space Commission.

Founded in 1958 by the late local pediatrician Dr. William Irving as a family affair for his children, this small town parade now draws a big crowd. 

They came on appropriately-decorated bikes …

Lyme’s own Ambulance Services drew loud cheers …

There were vehicles from all walks of life …

A golf cart was a useful means of conveyance …

Lyme Pollinator Pathway representatives of all ages asked parade-goers to save the bees …

The Scouts waved the flag …

Young, local activists had plenty to celebrate … and say …

Betsy Ross dropped by …

 

Park & Rec. carried a message …

Another flag …

And another …

 

Hot dogs were welcome!

Lyme Public Library waved cheerily …

This little girl enjoyed every minute of the parade …

A French connection was established with this wonderful Citroen 2CV …

And the sign on the bridge said it all … what a great parade to celebrate such a special day!

Old Lyme High School Class of 1970 to Host (Belated) 50th Reunion, Seeks Missing Classmates

OLD LYME — Finally … after being postponed twice by the pandemic, the Old Lyme High School (OLHS) Class of 1970 is holding three separate reunion events Friday, Sept. 30, Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

The Class is hoping to locate the following classmates and not only members of the graduating class, but anyone who was ever part of this class:

  • Alfred Arpin
  • Sidney Biddle Barrows
  • Charles Benway
  • James Bowers
  • Nancy Bowes
  • Darlene Brooks
  • Richard Carbone
  • Charles Carlson
  • Bob Chapman
  • Robert Cornish
  • Ray Davis
  • George Grabel
  • Jerri Husch
  • Jean Karter
  • Charles King
  • Michael Leahy
  • Jeffrey Maynard
  • David Morgan
  • Paul O’Connell
  • Fred Oppelt
  • Charles Rasmussen
  • Bev Roberts
  • Kim Robinson
  • Mark Robinson
  • Deborah Ross
  • Harold Saunders
  • Tom Schull
  • Jeffrey Shalett
  • Jan Smith
  • William Smith
  • Dale Stone
  • Ethel Swaney
  • Mary Karen Thruelsen
  • David Tubek
  • Gretchen Weigle
  • Kathi Ann Ward.

If you are or know the whereabouts of any of these people, please send any information to Michele Dickey at  micheledickey@sbcglobal.net.

If you are a member of the OLHS Class of 1970, but have not received an email from the committee and/or your name is not listed above, you are also requested to contact the email.

A Special ‘View From My Porch’ in Recognition of Independence Day: CT’s General Israel Putnam was a ‘Man of Legendary Courage’, a Brooklyn ‘Rock Star’

Major General Israel Putnam, during the American Revolutionary War. Public Domain.

Prelude:

The June 9 edition of The Day reported that the team of Tessa Grethel and Sophia D’Amico — both Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School seventh graders — took first place in Connecticut in the junior group exhibit category of the National History Day Contest with their project titled “Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Origins of Atomic Diplomacy.”

Phil Rizzuto would have exclaimed “holy cow” for a homerun like that! 

Introduction:

I reported in my last essay that Connecticut legend credits General Israel Putnam with “increasing the popularity of cigars in New England after he returned from an expedition to Cuba with thousands of Havana cigars.”

In trying to corroborate that claim with an additional source, I discovered that there is substantial folklore surrounding the General’s life and his acclaim as a warrior and military hero. (To avoid any misinterpretation of this essay’s title, note that I use “Rock Star” to express high praise.) 

Kerri Provost, writing in “Real Hartford”, refers to Putnam as “Connecticut’s first authentic folk hero”. I am not suggesting that his story is historic fiction, just something worthy of a friendly review. All that said, he was very cool, and a fascinating American patriot, who had significant influence on freeing New England from the Redcoats, and Connecticut from predatory wolves. 

I have also considered other Connecticut Revolutionary War heroes in previous columns, including Ezra Lee, who was the first man to command a submarine in an attack on the enemy; and David Bushnell, who invented “The Turtle”, which was used by Lee in his 1776 assault on the British flagship, “HMS Eagle”, in New York harbor.

Israel Putnam was born in 1718 into a wealthy farming family in what is now Danvers, Mass. and moved to Connecticut in 1739 to establish his own farm, a “500-acre spread just south of what is now Pomfret, Conn. He had 10 children with his first wife; and much later, in 1767, established a “house for the general accommodation of the public” (i.e., a tavern) in Brooklyn, Conn. with his second wife.

He owned a slave, and as we have learned through the “Witness Stones” Project, that was not unusual in Connecticut at that time.

The Hartford Courant reported that “Israel Putnam defied the image of a classic American hero. “Stout, if not fat, he was unreserved, a man of many words who reveled in racy ballads and rum-fueled stories.” So, I guess that he bore more resemblance to Ben Franklin than George Washington. 

Putnam and the Wolf:

In 1742, after he and his neighbors had suffered repeated losses of sheep from wolf attacks, Putnam organized watches in an effort to protect the flocks and to help track the wolf back to its den. They spotted the wolf at dusk on a winter’s day and followed it to the den, a cave with a very narrow and shallow entrance.

Absent another volunteer, Putnam attached a rope to a yoke around his ankles and crawled into the cave with a lighted torch, trying to determine whether he could get within musket range of the animal … and he did come within yards of the snarling wolf. 

He signaled, and was dragged out; and then crawled back in with torch and musket and shot the wolf. His neighbors drew him out again, nearly overcome by smoke. 

After being revived, he crawled back into the cave a third time, where he grabbed the wolf by the ears; and the dead wolf and the live farmer were hauled out together. Putnam had dispatched Connecticut’s last wolf with a single shot.

The Colonial Warrior:

I’ll review a few of the notable battlefield events that contributed to Putnam’s legendary status with the following historical vignettes; and then identify some of the memorials and public works of art associated with those events. He became known for his natural leadership ability and reckless courage; and rose steadily through the ranks, ultimately gaining the rank of brigadier general before the Battle of Bunker Hill.

This is not a skirmish-by-skirmish list; just a few highlights.

French and Indian War:

In 1755, he joined Rogers’ Rangers, a New Hampshire-based militia company affiliated with the British. The Rangers were a “highly resourceful force trained in irregular warfare tactics” and stealthy reconnaissance. Ranger companies were developed because the English Regulars (i.e., the British foot soldiers) were so unaccustomed to frontier warfare. 

Rogers’ is considered as the precursor to the U.S. Army Rangers.

Putnam is said to have excelled at that form of frontier fighting. He was captured in 1758 by French-allied Mohawks while on a military mission near Crown Point, N.Y., and was saved from the ritual burning allegedly exacted by Mohawk warriors on their enemies through the intervention of a French officer. 

Putnam was then taken as a prisoner of war to a camp near Montreal. Note that many former Rogers’ Rangers’ officers eventually defected from the British ranks to fight for the Continental Army against the British.

The Siege of Havana:

He was freed from the French in an exchange of prisoners, and sailed in 1762 with a British mission that captured the Spanish garrison at Havana harbor and assumed control of the Caribbean Spanish fleet. He had survived a shipwreck during that expedition and may have been part of the British occupying force that remained on the island until the “Peace of Paris” ended the seven years of the French and Indian War in 1763. 

Putnam returned to his Connecticut farm after Cuba, and prospered.

He became a prominent member of the Connecticut Sons of Liberty and a leader in the opposition to the 1765 Stamp Act, which imposed a substantial tax on the colonies to fund the cost of the French and Indian War. He led the mob of former soldiers that forced the Mass. Colony’s Stamp administrator in Boston to resign.

The Battle of Bunker Hill:

Now 57years-old, Putnam was working in his fields with his son, Daniel, when a messenger rode into the village and proclaimed that the British had fired on the militia at Lexington, killing six men; and were on the march. This advance by the Redcoats on Lexington, and then Concord, marked the beginning of the American Revolution. 

Putnam left his plough in the field, and without changing from his working clothes, departed immediately on horseback for the home of Governor Trumbull in Lebanon, Conn., who ordered him to sound the alarm with the militia officers and the patriot assemblies in the neighboring townsm and then continue on to the conflict.

Putnam proceeded to Cambridge, where several colonial militias had encamped, and set up his headquarters. He began preparing what were untested fighters for the inevitable battle with the British. Their ranks comprised militiamen from several colonies, former soldiers, and farmers, who had signed on with “the cause”.to the revolution. 

The British ships controlling Boston’s harbor began firing their cannons on the Americans on the morning of June 17, 1775; and soon after, landed soldiers in preparation for attack.  

After General Warren, the American commander, had been seriously wounded, Putnam assumed command and then served as commanding officer in the battle. As the British approached the poorly-supplied militiamen, he ordered them to conserve their ammunition, and “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

The colonists repelled the first two British assaults, but ran out of ammunition during the third attack and were forced to abandon their position, returning to their lines outside the battle perimeter. The entire time, Putnam rode his horse up and down the lines, setting an example of courage and steadying the troops.

Although the battle was a tactical victory for the British, it came at a terrible price. Nearly half of the 2,200 Redcoats who entered the battle were killed or wounded in the two hours of fighting — twice as many casualties as the Americans had suffered, including many of the British officers. 

The Americans’ fierce defense demonstrated their ability to fight “toe-to-toe” with the British, and provided an important confidence boost, convincing them that they could overcome the superior power of the British military. 

Although usually referred to as the Battle of Bunker Hill, the battle actually took place on Breed’s Hill.

The Aftermath:

“The loss we have sustained is greater than we can bear,” wrote British General Thomas Gage. After the battle, patriot leader Nathanael Greene remarked “I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price.” 

George Washington arrived and assumed command of the new Continental Army in Cambridge and stayed on to direct the ongoing campaign at Boston. Afterwards, he moved the Army to New York, and Putnam was given command at Long Island.  

Unfortunately, Putnam was “outflanked, out-maneuvered and out-smarted” in the Battle for Long Island”. Washington never blamed him for the loss, but it was clear that he was past his prime as a battlefield commander; and was delegated less important commands. If Bunker Hill was Putnam’s high point, then the Battle of Long Island was his lowest. 

The Die Is Cast: 

The Americans had long felt that relations with the British were nearly irreconcilable. The bloodshed at Bunker Hill, however, virtually eliminated any chance for reconciliation and pointed the colonies on the path to independence.

When King George III received the news of the battle in London on August 23, 1775, he issued a proclamation declaring the colonies in a state of “open and avowed rebellion.” Further, in the wake of Bunker Hill, Benjamin Franklin penned a letter to an English friend and member of Parliament that he closed with, “You are now my enemy and I am yours.” Finally, the high price of victory at the Battle of Bunker Hill made the British realize that the war with the colonies would be long, tough and costly. 

Israel Putnam Public Art and Memorials:

Substantial public space has been dedicated to memorializing Israel Putnam.

The Israel Putnam Wolf Den, the site where he killed the last wolf in Connecticut, is now maintained in Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

A bronze Marker, installed by the Daughters of the American Revolution on Lake Road in Crown Point, N.Y. is inscribed, “182 feet north of this spot stood the oak to which Israel Putnam was tied and tortured by the Indians in 1758”.

The image of Putnam leaving his plough in the field after learning of the British attack on the Americans at Lexington, is carved on the east façade of the Connecticut State Capitol Building, one of five tympana on the east façade portraying the founding of Connecticut and the Revolutionary War.

Putnam’s actual plough and saddle are on display in the Entrance Hall of the Hartford Armory.

John Quincy Adams Ward’s bronze of Israel Putnam, completed in 1874, was one of the first public sculptures dedicated in Bushnell Park; and the first of six Revolutionary War memorials executed by Ward. Putnam is depicted striding forward, with his sword held under his arm. 

His remains are buried in the base of an equestrian monument on the Brooklyn Town Green. The monument was created in response to the deteriorated condition of Putnam’s original grave marker; and was funded by the Connecticut state government with the provision that it also serves as a tomb for Putnam.

Upon its completion, Putnam’s remains were reinterred under the monument.  The dedication was held on June 14, 1888 and included the governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The equestrian monument was criticized by contemporary reviewers, who especially criticized the horse, with one reviewer  saying  that the horse appeared to be suffering from bone spavin (i.e., Osteoarthritis).

The original grave marker is under glass and can be seen in the north alcove of the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford; his epitaph was “He dared to lead where any dared to follow”.

A statue of William Prescott was installed next to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass.

Some Final Thoughts:

I want to say up front that I see absolutely no parallels between what I have presented in this essay and the activities of January 6th. 

I have read history since I got my first library card from the Darwin R. Barker Library in Fredonia NY; and not because I thought that ” those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” (see https://lymeline.com/2021/02/a-view-from-my-porch-the-marquis-groucho-sam-and-me/ )

I still read history and I realize that it helps me re-confirm the honor, courage, heroism and eloquence of Americans. 

Clearly, my essay presents a Connecticut-centric view of Putnam’s exploits.  

However, William Prescott (Mass.) shared leadership responsibility with Putnam on the battlefield. “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” has also been attributed by some to Prescott. Historians have not reached agreement on whom is responsible for that exact quote.

Regarding the original question: I still cannot confirm whether Putnam brought a cache of Cuban cigars with him on his return to Connecticut; and my original statement did come from a legitimate source, However, as a successful farmer, it is more likely that he returned with tobacco seeds; and I have since found several sources supporting “tobacco seeds”.

Finally, Robert Rogers created the ” 28 “Rules of Ranging”, a series of procedures and guidelines, in 1757 during the French and Indian War. A modified version of the “Rules” is still followed by the 75th Ranger Regiment, (i.e., the U. S. Army Rangers), and they are considered as “standing orders” for Ranger activities.  

Sources:

Niven, John. Connecticut Hero: Israel Putnam. American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut. 1977.
Leavenworth, Jesse. Israel Putnam, A Man of Legendary Courage. Hartford Courant.  May 24, 2014.
(Note that the following two sources are available from that omnipresent online bookseller with all the blue vans):
Goodrich, Samuel G. A Tale of the Revolution: and Other Sketches. Peter Parley Children’s Series.1845
Marsh, John. Putnam And the Wolf, Or, The Monster Destroyed: An Address Delivered At Pomfret, Connecticut Before The Windham Co. Temperance Society.  October 28, 1829.

Editor’s Notes: (i) The photo above is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a08971.

(ii) This is the opinion of Thomas D. Gotowka.

Tom Gotowka

 About the author: Tom Gotowka’s entire adult career has been in healthcare. He will sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. He always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. He enjoys reading historic speeches and considers himself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK. A child of AM Radio, he probably knows the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960. He hopes these experiences give readers a sense of what he believes “qualify” him to write this column.

Sound View Puts On a Perfect Hometown Parade

A smiling Joann Lishing proudly carries the flag at the front of the parade. All photos courtesy of Frank Pappalardo.

OLD LYME — The weather was kind and so the crowds came out in Sound View to celebrate the Fourth of July.

And celebrate they did with a grand parade through the streets of this wonderful neighborhood that borders Long Island Sound.

They came on bikes…

They came in (appropriately decorated!) golf carts.

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen came …

Veterans from Lyme-Old Lyme Post 1467 — David Griswold at front, center of photo — came …

Uncle Sam came in a golf cart …

He also joined the cheerful marchers …

The Emergency Services came …

In fact, the whole community came — led by the tuneful Sound View Band …

Even this colorful little guy came!

And the event ended with the contest results being announced by the ever-smiling Frank Pappalardo and Gail Fuller.

Neviaser Answers Questions on Armed Guards in LOL Schools (Podcast)

LYME/OLD LYME — In an interview published on June 23, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser fielded questions from Connecticut-East.com’s Brian Scott-Smith about the Region 18 Board of Education’s June 15 decision to arm security guards in LOL Schools. The vote was carried by a 7-2 majority.

Scott-Smith says the objective of the interview is “to find out how they [LOL Schools] got here and what it all means.

The interview can be listened to via this link on CTNewsJunkie.com and lasts around 20 minutes.

One of the questions Neviaser answers in this “very direct discussion,” is, “What’s the need for speed?” to which he counters, “I would not agree that this was rushed,” before responding in full.

He also discusses that he feels, after so many school shootings in the US, ‘The country has become numb to it [gun violence.]

In addition, Neviaser states that he firmly believes, “The quicker the response [to gun violence in schools], the more likely you are to save lives.”

Friends of Lymes’ Senior Center Make $25,000 Donation to Support Activities, Programs at the Center

Pictured holding the check at the presentation of a check for $25,000 to the Lymes’ Senior Center Board of Directors (BOD) by the Friends of the Center are Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould (right in black top) and Chair of the Center’s BOD, Jeri Baker (left, cream top.) Also in attendance at the presentation are (from left to right, seated), Joanie Bonvicin, Susan Campbell and Recording Secretary Paula Emery, and (from left to right, standing) Kim Hale and Diane Blackwell, who are both Friends of the Center, and Center BOD members Diana Seckla, Kathy Lockwood, Jane Folland, Christina Gotowka, Doris Hungerford, David Griswold, and Jeremy Crisp. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — UPDATED 1:30pm with names of everyone in the photo: The Friends of the Lymes’ Senior Center presented a check for $25,000 to the center at the June 21 Board of Directors meeting.  As a 501(c)3 organization, the Friends have conducted several fundraising efforts over recent years in order to contribute to the programs and activities of the center.

A spokesperson for the Friends said, ”We are grateful to the communities of Lyme and Old Lyme and also to the Center’s members for meeting our request for financial support with enthusiasm.”

The spokesperson added, “The programs are so rich and diverse and it is rewarding to see so many seniors taking part,” while posing the question to the community at large, “Have you attended an education talk or an exercise or art class?  If not, go see what you’ve been missing!”

Jeri Baker, who serves as chair of the Senior Center’s Board of Directors commented after the presentation had been made, “The Center benefits immensely from the fundraising efforts of the dedicated members of this group, who represent residents of both the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.”

She continued, “Through their efforts to fund our programs we are able to plan for both the present offerings of the center and the future.  Since the towns do not subsidize any programs, it is vital that such efforts are not only necessary but a remarkable reflection of how important this Center is to the community.”

Lyme-Old Lyme’s VFW Post 1467 Named ‘Best Post in CT’ by VFW State Leadership

VFW Post 1467 Commander David Griswold tells members of the recognition that the Post had recently received recognition from VFW State leadership as the ‘Best Post in Connecticut.’ All photos by Doug Wilkinson.

OLD LYME — On Monday, June 27, members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1467 learned that their Post had been recognized by VFW State leadership as the ‘Best Post in Connecticut.’ Members had gathered for a regular meeting at the Lymes’ Senior Center unaware the award would be announced.

This great honor had been announced two weeks previously when the VFW State leadership held their annual awards ceremony at which they recognize 10 Posts out of 100 for their accomplishments. Criteria include membership, community activities, and helping veterans.

Commander David Griswold receives a number of gifts from incoming Commander Richard Mason as Griswold stepped down from his position after seven years of service to the Post in that role.

At the same meeting, Commander David Griswold, who had served seven years during two terms as Commander of the Post, was also honored as he handed over the command to Richard Mason.

Commander Griswold made the following statement during the ceremony, “As Post Commander, I was honored to accepted the award as the Best Post in Connecticut (VFW Post 1467) on behalf of our membership.  Our success is attributed to our members who represents the best in military service as well as giving back to their community as well as the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme who’s businesses and individuals have been so generous in helping veterans.”

Griswold added, “I would also like to acknowledge the Old Lyme Senior Center for all their support. This is a very special community who honors all who have served”.

Commander Griswold happily displays one of his gifts.

VFW Post 1467 success,  especially within the Old Lyme community has been primarily a result of focused, aggressive veterans outreach relief funding to approximately 80 military vets, who have benefited from over $100,000 in support during the past 10 years along with thousands of dollars in annual contributions to the VA Giant Steps Program, West Haven, CT and State of CT Rocky Hill Soldiers Home.

Newly-installed Commander Mason noted, “As the incoming commander for 2022-23, I will make sure our leadership team continues the popular traditions and community partnerships that Lyme, Old Lyme enjoys with our very interactive Post.

Commander David Griswold displays the certificate from the VFW National Home for Children for VFW Post 1467’s continuous support of the Home.

The Post also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the VFW National Home for Children for the Post’s continuous support of the Home.

Old Lyme Named ‘Best Summer Destination in CT’ by TravelPulse.com

Old Lyme has been named the ‘Best Summer Destinations in Connecticut’ by TravelPulse.com.

OLD LYME — TravelPulse.com has just announced its list ofEvery State’s Best Summer Travel Destination’ and Old Lyme has won the honor for the state of Connecticut! The travel site states, “the focus [of the list] … is on the best of the best, the summer spots that hit it out of the park every single year this time of year.”

Justifying its selection of Old Lyme, the site states, ” This coastal town is big on history and pulses with fun all summer long. Known for throwing great Memorial Day and Fourth of July events, the town also sits near two state parks (Rocky Neck and Hammonasset) which both boast beautiful beaches. But you don’t have to leave Old Lyme to go “beaching”, as Soundview Beach is home to handsome sands and a collection of waterside bars and restaurants.”

Unfortunately, the site chose to publish the above text under a photo of the beach at Hammonasset State Park, which — as we all know — is not in Old Lyme, but never mind … we won the prize for ‘Best Summer Destination in Connecticut’ anyway!

 

Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for June, ‘The Time of Perfect Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

June is, ‘The Time of Perfect, Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

We have had a few cool nights recently, which are just wonderful and allow one to sleep with the windows open.  I cannot remember the last time we had a real spring such as we are experiencing this year, with plenty of gentle rain. This beneficial rain is wonderful for all the spring plant growth and such a pleasure to see.

I am so in awe of the miracle of Mother Nature; the symbiotic relationship between plants and all of God’s creatures.

As I looked out of my window from my old home a few years ago,  I could see the buds opening on my 30-foot-long stand of Peonies, which had been planted by the original homeowner in the early 1900s. That sight brought to mind one of the symbiotic relationships, the friendly partnership between ants and peonies.

I am often asked, “Maureen, should I worry about ants on my peonies?” The answer is, “That’s not a problem, lots of ants on the peonies just demonstrate that you have healthy plants with big buds producing more nectar, which therefore, in turn, attract the ants.”

Peonies:

A stand of peonies is always stunning.

Make sure Peonies get plenty of water and after blooming, apply a light application of composted manure and check the soils PH which should be between 6.5 and 7.0.  It is hard to ruin a good peony border but you can err in the fertilizing process, so go easy on the organic aged manure.

Following the bloom, do not cut the peonies down until November, after the first frost. Now, in early June, I pinched off the side buds on my large stand of peonies, this ensures big blooms on the rest of the plant.

Ants:

On the subject of ants; if you see them “let them live,” because often their presence indicates that we have aphids around and ants feed off aphids; very useful creatures.

Another useful creature in wars against pests is the lowly toad. I suggest putting some toad houses in and around your border.  You may purchase toad houses from the garden center if you so desire. Or you can do as I do which is to use an old clay pot that is cracked and make sure that the crack is two to three inches wide for the door so the toad can enter. Also put a small saucer as a floor under the pot with some rocks, which you keep damp, so that your friendly bad bug eater has his or her ideal home environment.

Mulch:

Mulch your gardens this month when the ground has warmed up to 55 degrees.  When mulching, take care mulching around trees. Apply the mulch at least six inches from the base of the trunk, any closer can promote rot and disease in the tree itself. Any trees that are mulched too deeply near the trunk invite mice and other rodents to come in order to nest and gnaw on the trunk.

Your garden can be mulched to a depth of between two and three inches.  I prefer fine dark brown hardwood mulch but please do not use dyed red mulch, keep the garden natural, not looking like a Disney theme park.

Roses:

June is the month when Roses begin to bloom.  I prefer David Austin roses, I find these roses are the most -trouble free Roses and offer so much reward being repeat bloomers with wonderful fragrances.

Some of my favorites are:

  • ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ a soft peachy pink
  • ‘Abraham Darby,’ with blooms showing a blend of apricot and yellow
  • ‘Fair Bianca,’ a pure white
  • ‘Heritage,’ a soft clear pink

And my favorite ‘Evelyn’, which has giant apricot flowers in a saucer shape and the fragrance is second to none with a luscious fruity tone, reminding me of fresh peaches and apricots.

Feed your roses with composted manure, keeping the manure and mulch about six inches away from the base of the rose, then adding a few more inches of manure once a month until mid-August, at that time stop feeding for the roses to gently move into a slow dormancy.

Japanese beetles are very attracted to roses therefore, any Japanese beetle traps should be placed far away from your borders on the perimeter of the property.

A tip for keeping cut roses fresh: cut the roses in the early morning and cut just above a five-leaf cluster and place stems in a container of lukewarm water. Inside the house, recut the stems to produce a one-and-a-half inch angular cut, under warm running water, then place cut roses in a vase filled with warm water.

Do not remove the thorns on cut roses. I have found that removing the thorns, reduces their indoor life by as much as three days.

Hydrangeas:

Blue hydrangeas. Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash.

These need plenty of water, (in the fields where they were found growing close to water and classified as a wetland plant before they were introduced into our gardens), also apply aged manure around the Hydrangeas, have them spaced at least four feet apart for good ventilation, which will help to prevent mildew and plant them in full sun. If you have blue Hydrangea macrophylla and want a more vibrant shade of blue, add some peat moss on top of the manure, the peat is acidic and will produce a lovely shade of blue.

Wisteria:

Regular pruning through spring and summer is the main factor to help this arrogant vine to flower; by that I mean prune several times during the season. Prune every two weeks at least six inches on each stem.

Clematis wilt:

If you have this problem with clematis, you will notice it early because the shoots wilt and die. This disease is impossible to cure, as it is soil borne, so it is not possible to plant another clematis of that species in that area of the garden.

However, you can plant the Viticella clematis selection; these are vigorous, free flowering blooms and are not susceptible to wilt.  Some good choices in this variety are Blue Belle, Etoile Violette, both are purple and Huldine, which is white,

Container Gardens:

Unexpected objects can make interesting plant containers. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

If you have room for one pot, you have room for a number; placed close together in different shapes and sizes, they can create your own miniature garden.

Apart from regular pots, the most unexpected objects make interesting containers. A friend, who cut down trees this past winter, left the stumps and hollowed them out to make containers, one large and two smaller stumps together, an interesting combo.

At the same time look in your basement, shed or barn to see if you have an old wheelbarrow, even if it has a wheel missing it will present an unusual angle as a planter.

Or you may come across a large, chipped ceramic jar (I, in fact, have an old two foot tall ceramic vinegar container, replete with a hole where the vinegar tap was inserted, ideal for drainage), which will look great on my newly-painted blue bench next to my red milk shed.

Lawn Care:

Do not forget to add organic grub control through July, so that you keep down the mole infestation; remember no grubs, less food for the moles.

Powdery Mildew:

Keep an eye open for powdery mildew, especially after a rain when humidity returns. In a sprayer, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable or horticultural oil in a gallon of water and spray the mildew.

Hydrangeas and Summer phlox are particularly prone to be affected by this problem. I recommend Phlox Miss Lingard or Phlox David, white ones of the species, which are the most mildew resistant. Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is also affected by the mildew; the one I have found to be the most resistant is “Cambridge Scarlet”.

Do be careful when introducing Monarda into the garden; this plant, like Purple Loosestrife and Evening Primrose, is extremely invasive and can take over your entire border.

Still with invasive plants, if you plant mint, plant it only in containers, otherwise mint will spread throughout your borders.

I hope these tips are useful to you in this busy time of year in the garden. Stretch, hydrate and enjoy the burgeoning promise of your garden and I’ll see you next month.

If you would like some more gardening advice, contact my son Ian at LandscapesbByIan.com. I am sure you would enjoy speaking with him as he is full of knowledge since, as the saying goes, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones 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.

And the Band(s) Played on—Making Music on Lyme Street to Celebrate Midsummer

Lucas Neil was a popular performer in front of The Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe.

OLD LYME — Lyme Street was alive with music last night as a dozen bands and soloists played in different locations stretching from Lyme Academy in the north down to the First Congregational Church in the south.

The Old Lyme Town Band drew a large crowd on the Center School lawn.

The Town was celebrating International Make Music Day, joining many other locations across the globe to mark Midsummer’s Night — the longest day of the year.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions did a roaring trade in hot dogs and burgers.

Hundreds of people came out in Old Lyme to enjoy the music and fill the street with relaxed cheer and conversation.

To the delight of many visitors, local celebrity Braiden Sunshine sang on the lawn at Lyme Academy.

Although the weather looked a little ominous initially, it ultimately decided to cooperate and stayed relatively warm and dry throughout the whole event.

‘The Moving Target Band’ played many cheery tunes Tuesday night outside The Village Shops on Lyme Street.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends despite the lingering shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Brown and Friends played Indy Folk and original tunes outside The Cooley Gallery.

The musicians ranged in age from teens to seniors and similarly, the genres of music varied from country to folk to blues and everything in between!

Nightingale’s Cafe featured a variety of solo musicians and bands throughout the evening.

Launched in France in 1982, Make Music Day is an international musical festival open to all who would like to participate, and takes place in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries on June 21, the summer solstice.

‘The Midnight Anthem’ performed in front of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.

The State of Connecticut Office of the Arts debuted the State’s effort in 2018 with 528 free musical performances at 224 locations across the state, including Old Lyme. 

The band at 71 Lyme St. was ‘Five Bean Row.’

Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful event, who included Dan and Gail Stevens of the MusicNow Foundation and Nightingale’s Cafe, Old Lyme’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year Cheryl Poirier, and Mary Seidner, Executive Director of LYSB.

Playing a variety of music genres, ‘Hot Strings Cafe’ entertained in front of the Elms Building.

 

June 16-20 COVID-19 Update: Number of CT Towns in Red Zone Falls to 65%; 10 New Cases in Old Lyme Over Three Days, Three in Lyme

This map, updated June 16, 2022 shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme remain in the Red (highest) Zone. One hundred and nine towns (representing a total of 64.5% of the state) remain in the Red Zone. 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. Map: Ver 12.1.2020 Source: CT Department of Public Health Get the data Created with Datawrapper.

Cumulative Totals Rise to 1325 in Old Lyme, 327 in Lyme

LYME/OLD LYME — The Daily Data Reports issued Thursday, June 16, Friday, June 17, and Monday, June 20, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) show a total of 10 new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme and also three in Lyme compared with June 15 numbers. Note: The link above is always to the most recent day of CT DPH reports.

These cases raise Old Lyme’s cumulative case total to 1325 from 1315 on June 15 and Lyme’s to 327 from 324 on the same date.

The state does not issue reports over weekends.

The cases by town were as follows:

Lyme
6/16: 0
6/17: 2
6/20: 1

Old Lyme
6/16: 3
6/17: 2
6/18: 5

Therefore June 9 still stands as the first day since April 5, 2022 on which no new cases were reported in either town.

Prior to April 5, the previous day on which no new cases were reported in either Lyme or Old Lyme was March 24. There were also no new cases on March 9 and 4, and Feb. 24. The previous date prior to Feb. 24 when no new cases were reported in either town was Dec. 12, 2021.

Prior to March 25, the Town of Lyme had gone for 23 consecutive days with no new cases being reported. Two new cases were reported in Lyme on March 25.

Visit this link to view additional historical data and detailed graphics on COVID-19 vaccination levels and positive cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The site is updated by Old Lyme resident William Fitzgerald

Statewide Situation – Weekly Update

On Thursday, June 9, the CT DPH also released its latest weekly COVID-19 Alert Map (pictured at the head of this article), which indicates that 109 municipalities remain in the Red (highest of four) Zone for case rates. These towns in the Red Zone include both Lyme and Old Lyme.

Thirty-eight towns are in the Orange Zone, eight in the Yellow Zone and 14 in the Gray Zone.

This number for the Red Zone is 40 less than for the previous week meaning the number of towns in the Red Zone  now represents 64.5% of the state.

As a reminder, the number of towns in the Red Zone on Jan. 27, 2022 was 168 out of 169 towns.

As of June 16, 2022, six of the nine towns in the Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) remain in the Red Zone. North Stonington, Stonington, and New London have moved into the Orange Zone. The LLHD is no longer issuing reports with updated Case Rates and other metrics.

The CT DPH will issue an updated map of the zones Thursday, June 23 — the map is updated weekly on Thursdays.

The color-coded zones on the map above are:

Red: Indicates case rates over the last two weeks of greater than 15 per 100,000 population
Orange: Indicates case rates between 10 to 14 cases per 100,000 population
Yellow: Indicates case rates between 5 and 9 per 100,000 population
Gray: Indicates case rates lower than five per 100,000 population

CDC Maintains ‘Community Level’ at Low for New London County, Fairfield County Also Low; All Other CT Counties are ‘Medium’

June 16 Community Transmission levels. Map courtesy of CDC.

The map above shows that on June 16, New London County remains categorized as ‘Low’ for Community Level, while all other counties are ‘Medium.’ These levels are updated weekly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursdays.

The most recent email sent out by Ledge Light Health District regarding COVID data, which was sent out Friday, May 27, said, “Community members are advised to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if they have symptoms, and wear a mask when they are around others if they have symptoms, are positive or have had an exposure.”

It added, “People with symptoms should be tested and people with a positive test should isolate per guidelines. Masking remains an effective method for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and people may choose to mask even though our region is not designated as “High.””

The email concluded, “You can find the latest CDC Community Level, schedules of vaccination clinics and community testing events, and isolation/quarantine guidance on our website and, as always, we are here to answer any questions or provide support for community members.

Community Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID cases in a specific geographical area. CDC recommends taking precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID based on Community Levels in your area.

You can view the new tool by following this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

LLHD continues to focus its vaccination efforts on homebound populations and providing initial vaccinations and boosters to individuals who were vaccinated previously. 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/.

An explanation of the CDC Community Levels tool by Thomas Gotowka can be found at this link.

Statewide Situation – Daily Update

The state’s COVID-19 Daily Positivity Rate broke the 10% watershed on May 4 at 10.32%. It went through the 14% mark with the May 20 Rate of 14.19%, but the June 20 Positivity Rate has fallen to 7.52%. 

On June 15, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations fell to 246 from the 273 recorded June 16.

In contrast, on Jan. 12, 2022, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations was 1,939.

Of those hospitalized on June 20, the number not fully vaccinated was 85 (representing 34.55%).

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Connecticut held at 11,015 on June 120, according to The New York Times.

The next Daily Data Report will be issued by CT DPH Thursday, June 23, around 4 p.m.

Increase in Cases in Lyme & Old Lyme Since August 2021

The cumulative total of confirmed cases for Old Lyme has now increased by 882 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 953 new cases there since that date.

Meanwhile, Lyme’s cumulative total on Aug. 26 was 114 indicating 213 new cases have also been confirmed there during the same period.

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

Four COVID-related fatalities have now 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 and fourth fatalities, which were reported respectively in 2021 and on Feb. 4, 2022, have not been made available.

COVID-19 Situation in LOL Schools

Under new state protocols for schools, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools are no longer required to carry out contact tracing.

LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained the latest developments in LOL Schools COVID protocols in an email dated April 1 to the school community, saying, “As noted in my email of February 17, 2022, beginning April 1, 2022 we will no longer report daily COVID-19 cases in the schools.”

He then stated, “For the remainder of this school year, that information will be complied on a weekly basis and will be available on our website at the following link: https://www.region18.org/parents/covid-data.”

Details published to date show the following number of positive cases in LOL Schools by week.
April 3-9: 0
April 10-16: 0
April 17-23: Spring Break
April 24-30: 7
May 2-7: 27
May 8-14: 41
May 15-21: 30
May 22-28: 23
May 29-June 4: 55
June 5-June 11: 19
June 12-June 18: 4

The total number of cases recorded by the CT DPH in Lyme and Old Lyme for the week June 12-June 18 was 12, indicating a minority of all reported cases were potentially associated with LOL Schools.

LOL Schools are now on summer recess and so there will be no further reporting from LOL Schools until late August.

For a summary of cases in LOL Schools between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2022, visit this link.

View a full listing of cases in LOL Schools between 8/26/21 – 12/23/21 at this link.

Colin Heffernan Unanimously Endorsed by Democrats to Run Against Incumbent State Rep. Carney for 23rd House District, Includes Lyme & OL

Atty. Colin Heffernan has been endorsed by local Democrats to run in November’s election for the 23rd District seat currently held by State Rep. Devin Carney.

OLD SAYBROOK — Colin Heffernan, a prominent local attorney and small business owner, has been unanimously endorsed for the 23rd House District by Democratic delegates representing Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme, and Westbrook.

Heffernan’s opponent in November will be incumbent State Representative Devin Carney (R), who is seeking his fifth consecutive term in office.

“It’s an honor, and also a big responsibility,” said Heffernan. “There’s an opportunity here for our towns to finally have a seat at the table in the House. I’m in this to find sensible solutions, to protect choice, and make sure our values are represented in Hartford.”

“Colin is going to make an excellent state rep,” said Matt Pugliese, who seconded Heffernan’s nomination.

Pugliese added, “He understands the challenges families in our district face. He has been a servant in our community for years, serving on multiple commissions, he is a small business owner, and really is prepared to do the job on day one. We need his experienced, thoughtful perspective to make sure we’re finding solutions that work for every resident.

Nancy Walsh stated, “Colin’s opponent sided with ultra-conservatives by voting against reproductive rights last session, something that’s simply unacceptable in 2022 and does not represent our district, at all.”

Heffernan graduated magna cum laude from Tulane Law School, and after serving as a research clerk in the Connecticut Superior Court, joined the Heffernan Legal Group.

He grew up spending summers in Old Saybrook and moved there full time in 2008. 

Through his experience as a general practice attorney he has supported his clients during their most difficult times, a perspective he will bring to serving his constituents.

Heffernan has served on the town of Old Saybrook Zoning Commission and currently chairs the Old Saybrook Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission as well as the Old Saybrook Aquifer Protection Agency.

Letter to the Editor: Armed Security Guards in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are Not the Solution to Gun Violence

To the Editor:

This past Wednesday, the Board of Education voted 7-2 to place armed guards at District 18 schools. Though many board members expressed reservations, including to NBC News, it passed.

I am submitting this letter as a child advocate and as a pediatric nurse practitioner withe certification and expertise in pediatric mental health. I am a parent and a community member. I have many friends and family in the teaching profession. I make my decisions based on data, not emotions. At the same time, it is impossible not to be emotional about children blown to unrecognizable bits. As a former pediatric critical care nurse, I have taken care of young gun violence victims, but have not been forced to bear witness to a massacre, as first responders have been.

I think after the tragic massacre in Uvalde, our immediate reaction is “do something, anything.” That something should not be armed guards at school. There is zero evidence that armed guards make schools safer, and plenty of evidence that they do NOT. The recent mass murderer in Buffalo was not deterred by an armed guard. This is anecdotal, but typical.

Placing armed guards in District 18 schools would be expensive and in no way is a solution to mass murders in school or elsewhere, and it would be a daily reminder to children that they are not safe. No one will be safe anywhere until gun laws are passed to ban assault weapons, enforce waiting periods and background checks.

Further, teenagers do not have developed frontal cortexes. This is the part of the brain responsible for judgement. They cannot control their impulses. They have no business owning lethal weapons.
Parents, teachers and school administrators who really want to protect children should relentlessly advocate for these changes.

Armed school guards are not even a bandaid, much less a solution.

My letter with this information as well as links to studies was submitted to the BOE before Wednesday’s meeting. It was not even mentioned in the discussion that night.

Sincerely,

Betsy Groth,
APRN (active); Faculty Yale School of Nursing (Retired); Member, CT Against Gun Violence,
Old Lyme.

Old Lyme’s DeBernardo Brings Home Three Golds, One Bronze From USA 2022 Special Olympics Games

Old Lyme resident Andrea DeBarnardo won three Gold medals and one Bronze at the 2022 Special Olympics USA held in June in Florida.

OLD LYME — In a remarkable feat, Old Lyme resident and Lyme-Old Lyme High School student Andrea DeBernardo won three gold medals, a bronze and a 5th place ribbon in the Special Olympics USA Games held in ESPN Worldwide Sports Complex at Orlando, Fla. from June 4 to 12.

She competed in Artistic Gymnastics along with over 50 individuals from other states in the country.  These individuals competed in Levels 1 to Levels 4.

DeBernardo moved to Level 3 this past year after sharpening her skills while participating in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Gymnastics program.  During this program, she was able to develop her own floor routine, which is a component of the Level 3 Special Olympics program. Level 3 gymnasts are required to be independent and require minimal assistance from the coach during performance (i.e. balance beam).

Her head coach, Christine Corah, and Andrea’s sister Elise worked on choreographing DeBernardo’s routine during the winter season. DeBernardo has been working hard these last few months practicing three days a week to prepare for the Olympics event.

DeBernardo has been participating in the Special Olympics since she was in middle school. She competed in the following events and placed as shown:

Level 3 All Around                         Gold Medal
Level 3 Uneven Bars                      Gold Medal
Level 3 Floor Exercise                   Gold Medal
Level 3 Balance Beam                   Bronze Medal
Level 3 Vaulting                              5th place ribbon

Connecticut Special Olympics sent a total of 33 delegates to the USA 2022 Special Olympic Games with three of them competing in the gymnastics section. DeBernardo was chosen to be one of the three gymnasts to participate in this event in October 2021 and starting group training in January of 2022 with her two fellow team members.

DeBernardo’s mother, Irene, said by email to coach Corah, “Andrea appreciated all the support of her friends and family back at home during her competition that she received through the special messaging system the Special Olympics application created.”

She added, “Andrea has always felt part of the inclusive atmosphere that has been created at the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.”

Editor’s Note: Congratulations, Andrea, on this amazing achievement!

Old Lyme DTC Issues Statement Concerning Guns, Public Health

Editor’s Note: The Old Lyme DTC sent us this statement, which is also published on their website at this link.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) supports the statement below from Attorney Colin Heffernan, Democratic-endorsed candidate for the 23rd House District. We urge the public to take these issues most seriously and to vote for legislators who will adopt sensible gun legislation and increased access to behavioral healthcare. 

The DTC’s support for reasonable gun regulation does not mean we fail to support citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. Like the vast majority of Americans, we support both. But we challenge this majority to hold our elected officials accountable for implementing measures to  reduce these intolerable daily mass-casualty events.

As noted by Colin [Heffernan], inconsistent and ineffective gun restrictions have led to easy access to military-style weapons. Uvalde demonstrated that even trained law enforcement officers may be hesitant or unwilling to confront assailants so armed, even if the lives of 4th graders are at stake. The data show that in places that have implemented  sensible gun restrictions, such as minimum age limits and red flag laws, lives are saved.  

The DTC seeks your support for legislators and candidates who, like Colin [Heffernan], will promulgate reasonable gun safety measures and public health measures, including mental health.

We have gotten to “enough.”

Statement from Colin Heffernan:

As the news of yet another shooting came out of Uvalde, on the heels of the shooting in Buffalo, I’m reminded of how little progress we’ve made since Sandy Hook. 

We still have craven politicians blaming everything but guns for the massacres that steal our children and threaten our lives in every corner of public space. 

We still have talking heads fantasizing that a “good guy with a gun” can stop monsters, even when we just saw that they can’t. 

I’d like to say “enough” but that won’t do. It will never be “enough” until we demand that lawmakers denounce the culture of death that values an AR15 over a child. It’s far too easy to get a weapon of mass carnage in this country, and no amount of bad faith whataboutism will change that fact. 

Oh, and here’s the thing: I’m a gun owner. I bought a shotgun while I was living in post-Katrina New Orleans where there were precious few police and the National Guard was patrolling the street under a state of emergency. It was a scary time and I know first-hand that there are legitimate reasons to purchase and keep a gun. 

But what we have now is madness. When a kid can go and buy two assault rifles for his eighteenth birthday and then murder 19 children a week later, the issue could not be starker. It is far too easy to obtain assault weapons and the results are horrific. We passed good  laws in Connecticut after Sandy Hook, but rifles and madmen don’t respect state lines and the easy access to assault weapons in the USA threatens all of us and all of our children. 

Let’s get to “enough” and demand that every one of our lawmakers commit to using every tool  at their disposal to enact nationwide comprehensive gun reform. If they refuse to do that, they  shouldn’t represent us … because they never will. 

Colin Heffernan
Democratic-endorsed candidate for House District 23

Characteristic of Kindness That Distinguishes Lyme-Old Lyme Class of 2022 ‘Will Make Everything, Anything in this World Possible’ (LOLHS Principal Wygonik)

And they did it! The Class of 2022 celebrates their graduation from Lyme-Old Lyme High School with the traditional hat toss.

OLD LYME — The weather was perfect Friday evening for the graduation ceremony of the 126-member Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2022.

We have published in full (below) the speeches that were given during the event in the order in which they were delivered.

A full listing of the graduates is printed at the foot of the article.

More photos will be added later on Saturday.

We send our heartiest congratulations to the LOLHS Class of 2022 and wish them a wonderful, fulfilling future!

Here they come … Photo by H.C. Scott.

Class President Frank Sablone — Welcome from the Class

Good afternoon to everyone and welcome to the Lyme-Old Lyme commencement ceremony, filled with tradition and celebration of our community and our graduating class of 2022. The first thing that I want to say here today is that it is an honor and a privilege to be speaking at this graduation. 

As I stand before you all today, and I gaze around at my family, classmates, friends, teachers, administrators, and community members, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. Knowing that nearly everybody who has impacted my life up until now is here, in one place at one time, is a feeling that words fail to describe. 

When we first entered high school, as anxious little freshmen, we couldn’t have imagined that one day we would be sitting here, as mature and confident seniors at graduation, ready to part ways with each other and take on the world. This class is special. It is filled to the brim with talented students – award winning artists, championship athletes, determined scholars, and so much more.

However, what sets this class apart from the rest is the character of this class.

Defined by kindness and leadership, our class has an abundance of genuinely good people who are eager to put those around them before themselves. When one of us falls, there are 126 of us ready to pick them up and brush them off. We have consistently motivated and encouraged each other to achieve our goals, while always reminding each other to relax and enjoy our time here. We have offered each other so much support and warmth from the time we were children, allowing our class to become a family.

This is what makes today so bittersweet. This class is the most caring, loyal, and compassionate group of people that I have ever been so fortunate to know. Growing up with you all has been a pleasure. 

To our teachers, faculty, community, and families – I want to offer a heartfelt thank you on behalf of our class, for consistently teaching and inspiring us with these morals and guiding us with welcoming minds and hearts to soon become impactful people on this world. I urge my classmates to continue making your mark, striving for great heights, enjoying your time, and most importantly, loving one another the way that we have been taught – the Old Lyme way. We have the potential to make a difference in this world and make our hometown proud, piece by piece, step by step, day by day. 

In the wise words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” This will certainly be the hardest goodbye that I’ve ever had to say, but I am left with so much knowledge, advice, and memories that will follow me everywhere in life, and I can be nothing but proud to be a member of this graduating class. They say it takes a village to raise a child – so thank you, Old Lyme, for being the village that has raised us into purposeful and passionate young adults.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Principal James Wygonik

Lyme-Old Lyme Principal James Wygonik tells the Class of 2022, “”I know that you will be our leaders.  You will advance our sciences.  You will inspire us with your talents. But most importantly your kindness, will foster an environment that will make everything and anything in this world possible.”

To our Board of Education, Superintendent Neviaser, administrative team, the best teachers in America, families, alumni, community members, and of course the class of 2022, it is my honor to welcome you to the 49th Lyme-Old Lyme High School graduation exercises.     

To the parents and families of our graduates.  Thank you. Thank you for trusting us with your children.  May I remind the graduates that your families are your biggest fans.  They will be there for you.  And believe me, you will need them.  Never take for granted their love and support.  You will be astonished how smart your parents will become in the next few years.  Don’t be afraid or too proud to lean on them. I am going to pause my remarks, so each of you to take the next few seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are today.  

In his speech, President Sablone reflected on your kindness and how much this class cares for one another.  I couldn’t agree more.  Class of 2022, I don’t think you realize is how powerful your actions are… How the small acts of kindness; the “hello’s”, the “thank-you’s” the “holding of a door; the small compliments, change lives. Allow me to explain. 

At the prom this year we had a senior, who, let’s just say gets his money’s worth on the dance floor.  As the song concluded and this young man having spent his last ounce of energy, lay sprawled on the dance-floor, instantly, without hesitation, two hands reached down to help him up. Those hands belonged to two other seniors with different interests and most likely different social circles.  The entire interaction lasted less than 10 seconds and probably went unnoticed by everyone else.  One could even argue that the three students involved never gave it a passing thought.  But it spoke volumes of the Class of 2022.  Actually, it’s just one word.  

KINDNESS. You are just kind human beings.  I’ve actually witnessed some of you talking to and being nice to freshmen.  It doesn’t end there.

A few months ago, when the mask mandate was lifted, every student in a senior English class continued to wear their masks in class because they knew their teacher had a medically compromised family member.  Despite the assurances from the teacher that they could remove them, they didn’t.  Do you think this gesture made it easier for the teacher to teach?  You bet it did.  Do you think it fostered an environment that brought out the best in everyone in that class?  You bet it did.  Is our school culture stronger?  You bet it is.  Was it hard to do?  No.

Just kind.

It turns out there is some science behind it.  

Researchers at Dartmouth tell us this about kindness.

Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces a hormone that sets off a chemical reaction that dilates our blood vessels which in turn lowers blood pressure. Kindness is cardioprotective. Another side-effect of kindness, and my personal favorite.  That same hormone slows the ageing process.  

An act of kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people and so we feel more ‘bonded’.  It’s something that is so strong in us that it’s actually a genetic thing. We are wired for kindness.

Our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate with one another. The stronger the emotional bonds within groups, the greater were the chances of survival and so ‘kindness genes’ were etched into the human genome.

So today when we are kind to each other we feel a connection and new relationships are forged, or existing ones strengthened. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a recipe for success to me.  

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed watching our softball team compete in the conference championship game.  Later that evening as the senior banquet was wrapping up, two of our seniors on the team Victoria Gage and Lauren Creagan made it a point to come up to me and thank me for coming to the game.  They had no idea how that exchange propelled me over in these past few weeks.  The month of May in a high school is hectic, demanding, and draining.  Admittedly I was running on fumes.  But those few kind words reminded me why we do what we do and inspired me to forge ahead.  Thank you, ladies.

Which brings me to the final scientific fact.  Kindness is Contagious. Kindness causes more kindness.  The great people at Lyme Youth Services have worked tirelessly over the years to create programming that will help our students, our families, and our community live better lives.  But in my opinion, their best work, their most powerful impact, rests in the signs they recently produced.  You will see them around town we have one here.  They read KINDNESS MATTERS.  I believe it’s really that simple. So… If we know an act of kindness lowers your blood pressure, slows down aging, strengthens human bonds, increases productivity, improves self-worth and is contagious, which all in-turn makes us a better school, a better, community and a better country.  Why not?

When I talk to friends of mine, the common consensus is that the world is broken and the future doesn’t look much better.  My outlook is much more positive.   Few understand my optimism.  Why?  Because they don’t drive across the Connecticut River in the morning, take exit 70, and spend every day with you.  I know something they do not.

I know that you will be our leaders.  You will advance our sciences.  You will inspire us with your talents. But most importantly your kindness, will foster an environment that will make everything and anything in this world possible. 

Class of 2022, remember that once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.  You will always have a home here.

Good luck my friends.  Thank you.

Commencement Speaker: LOLHS Science Teacher Richard Fisler

Commencement Speaker, LOLHS Science Teacher Richard Fisler explained to the Class of 2022, “Who you are is not defined by how others perceive you.  To find peace and satisfaction in life, let yourself go, and be who you are in the moment.  Your need for acceptance can make the real you invisible.”

To the administration, teachers, parents, family, friends and of course the motley crew that is the class of 2022, I welcome you and thank you for the opportunity to speak today. As my students and colleagues know, I’m usually very shy and not outspoken, so please bear with me…

When Mr.  Wygonik told me you selected me to speak at this auspicious occasion, I couldn’t believe it. “You be buggin” I said to him. He said – “I’m not buggin. They want you to speak.” I said “No Cap?” he said “No Kizzie”  (Thanks Ahmed for boosting my vocabulary this year). 

 I searched high and low to find the right words to give you. I was going to Google what to say, but I didn’t want to have to write a bibliography in MLA format. What do you the students want from this speech today?  Mary Wholean told me to just talk about her for five minutes. Given the spiciness of her jokes, I’m sure I’d be dragged off the stage by Mr. Neviaser and asked to find employment elsewhere.  

Lizzie Duddy told me she didn’t care what I said, as long as I gave her material for Graduation Speech Bingo. Sorry Lizzie, I’m not going to cry and will not be quoting an author you’ve never heard of. I might however, throw in a dad joke or 2.

Then I thought of asking a few other seniors I’ve had. Maybe I can ask Lillian or Dylan. These two are so quick, they’re even fast, asleep. Alas, I decided to go it alone and listen to the voices in my head. They have gotten me this far in life and they know where the bodies are buried so I have to keep listening.

Whatever I’m about to say, I can’t tell you how happy I am to speak in front of you. As my students know, the reason I teach is not some selfless act. Most of you know I wasn’t always a teacher, career wise. Some of you believed me when I told you my teaching day is part of my work release program as I pay the price for past white collar crime. What it really boils down to is that I need people to pay attention to me. Anyone from my class know why I need attention?  That’s right I got no love as a child, so this makes up for it. 

Movies about teachers and students invariably end with the teacher saying, or thinking “You’ve taught me more than I’ve taught you”. Yep Hallmark card stuff. Ask Ms Rahr. There’s probably a Hallmark movie about a teacher at Christmas. but in some cases it’s true. I mean, I never knew about Woo-back Wednesday until Frank Sablone taught me about Pop Smoke. There are one or two school-appropriate songs in his catalog, but all kidding aside, his life story carries a message. Life is short. Too damn short. Make the most of it.

We strive to teach you skills rather than facts. Things like thinking globally, analytical and critical thinking. Fundamentally, we hope that you learn to ask as many questions as you are asked, and keep probing until the answers are satisfactory, or uncover those answers for yourself.  I’ve witnessed it first-hand. You’ve learned to tackle life’s difficult questions. 

For example, any of you who have taken physics knows why a bicycle can’t stand up by itself. Anyone care to shout it out? That’s right, a bicycle can’t stand up by itself because it’s two tired.

Seriously, though. I’ve seen you tackle harder, seemingly impossible questions that are thrown at you. There are physics questions, like is gravity real or just a warping of space-time due to the mass of the earth, and how much cushion does an egg really need to not break when dropped from the school roof. 

But you’ve learned to dig deeper, and take the skills  beyond the classroom. Questions like “Is water wet?” “Are there more doors or wheels in the world”  and “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”. The analytics involved in these questions bested any physics discussion I’ve had (maybe with the exception of Jack who continues to negate everything I’ve taught him by disproving the existence of electrons).  The conviction, nay, the pure passion in hearing John Videll orate to three cafeteria tables full of students hungry for the truth as much as a delicious lunch on the facts and data supporting that there are more wheels than doors should be in the Smithsonian along with the Lincoln-Douglas debates. 

To the parents, guardians and any adults that have had an impact on the development of these young adults, I say “Great work!” Take a bow, and then take a back seat. Your job is done.  Phew! Job well done.  I have 2 daughters, and both are off in the world now. Once they graduated high school, my thoughts and ideas were advice and suggestions and part of discussions of the pros and cons of any decision they needed to make.  Let’s face it, we barely know what’s going on in our own lives, there is no way we know for certain the right path for these individuals. Sit back and enjoy the wonderful ride that is life with adult children. Be supportive in their decisions, but let them make any mistakes they might make – we’ve all made a ton, and learned from them. 

So students – You’re on your own. No need to listen to your parents anymore. Go to them for wisdom and advice and love and support, but make your own path. Scary? Only if you let it be so. For me, leaving home and going to college was the splash of water in the face I needed to wake me up to life and how it was all up to me. You see before you a proud high school graduate with a 2.5 GPA. Guess who cares about that now? No one. Guess who cared about it the day after I left high school? No one.

High School was a foundational time for me as it was for you. The experiences of the last four years are tools in your toolbox to help you make decisions for the next phases of your life.  Whether you’re going off to college, working, joining the military or taking some time off to travel or think about what’s next, you’ve got a clean slate now. Make the most of every day.

One thing you’ll learn, if you haven’t learned it already, is that no one really knows what’s going on. We all try to do the best we can given what life throws at us. People who tell you how to live your life haven’t figured out their own deal yet.

Don’t let anyone tell you how you “should be”. Be true to yourself and if they don’t like who you are or the way you live your life, give them a smile and move on. Now in New Jersey we might fit them for cement shoes, but that’s Jersey for you.

If you take one pearl of wisdom from your time with me, please let it be this: 

Who you are is not defined by how others perceive you.  To find peace and satisfaction in life, let yourself go, and be who you are in the moment.  Your need for acceptance can make the real you invisible. Cogs in the machine are turned by others, not by themselves. Risk being seen in all of your glory. Can I get an Amen? 

Delaney Gagnon created the motto of Period 3 physics this year. In a rare situation where the class was distracted (OK maybe not so rare, but let’s blame that on COVID …) she said “Hey, let’s go. We’ve got Science to Science”.  A call to action that we used all year to bring the class together. I rephrase it to you tonight. Let’s go. You’ve got life to live.  Make it count for you and for everyone fortunate enough to be in your life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have shared the last few years with you. Thank you!

Honor Essayist Abby Speckhals

Honor Essayist Abby Speckhals urged the Class of 2022 to, “Always remember to step back and think about who you want to be because someday, you will not be who you might be, you will be who you are.”

To all of our teachers, administrators, and families, thank you for supporting us graduates during the past four years. As you can imagine, it feels impossible to describe how our experiences together have impacted my life, but, I guess that is exactly what I am challenged with today.

First, I would like to share with you all a phrase that began as a joke but has grown to symbolize much more. A few years ago, I was browsing through a thrift store with my cousins, and I stumbled upon a royal blue sweatshirt picturing the snow monster from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television show in between the words “Beast Mode.” Ok, if you are struggling to picture that in your head, let me just show it to you. It was one of those items that you will only find once in your life, and I thought it was funny so, why not buy it? Little did I know “Beast Mode” is a phrase that can be applied to many aspects of life.

Although the dictionary defines a beast as a “wild animal that is large and dangerous,” I have come to redefine a beast as any person searching for the people and activities that bring them energy and happiness. It took me a while to realize, but I now see that my beast mode has been fueled during the past four years here at LOLHS.

I’m sure we have all had teachers that made us smile and helped us get through those long days. From forcing Barbies to bungee jump in Mr. Lillie’s class and battling the gremlins that haunt Mrs. Kelley’s smartboard to hearing Mr. Fisler play the guitar through the stone wall in the neighboring classroom, my happiness was often fueled during my time in the science department.

My fellow graduates, you have also helped to feed my life with energy. When it came time for us to tackle our senior projects this year, I’m going to be honest, I was skeptical at first. A 20-minute presentation and an 8-page essay? No thank you. But as I reflect on this concluding project of our high school careers, I can’t help but feel grateful for how we have learned about what “Beast Mode” means to each other, even if we didn’t refer to our interests using that phrase.

On a typical school day during this past Spring semester, I walked into Mr. Goss’ woodshop to work on, you guessed it, the robot, and I saw Alex crafting together his camping trailer from scratch. I headed to the auditorium to practice driving the robot, and at the same time, Austin was practicing his composed songs on the piano, so I got some nice background music. As I opened up Instagram that afternoon, I was met with Emily’s posts congratulating seniors on their post-high school plans and pictures of delicious desserts made by Lizzy.

These projects not only allowed for each of us to fuel our beast modes with different activities, but also I found myself learning about my peers as people rather than classmates. Thanks to high school, we have all encountered people and hobbies that make us beasts thrive.

To conclude, I’d like to share a few lines from the book Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin: “kids are adorable little maybes: Maybe they’ll be president, or walk on Mars…or run a three-minute mile. But the older you get…the fewer maybes you got. So you wake up one day and…You’re not what you might be. You’re just what you are.”

As we step away from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, I want to remind you all that we still have plenty of maybes ahead of us. Maybe you will discover a new hobby, maybe you will meet a new best friend, maybe you will find your own “Beast Mode” sweatshirt. But always remember to step back and think about who you want to be because someday, you will not be who you might be, you will be who you are.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Combined Choirs sang the Class Song. Photo by H.C. Scott.

Salutatorian Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum

Salutatorian Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum reminded hs peers to, “Remember that you are always in control of what you do and your own attitude. Remember how you feel when everything is perfect, and remember how you feel when you hit rock bottom. Remember that there is so much to appreciate and your attitude is key.”

Thank you, everyone, for coming. And thank you to the Board of Ed, faculty, families, and students among us. When I found out that I would be speaking at graduation, I knew it would be a struggle for me. I feel that I have not lived enough of life to get up here and dish out advice for everyone. And I know that I need those life lessons just as much, or more, than everyone here today.

That said, I wanted to simply say a few words about happiness. A few words about what it means to be happy. Truly happy, the kind of happy that sticks with you for an hour, a day, a week, and then forever. And a few words on how you might figure out such happiness for yourself, so that you can feel unstoppable, but also at peace with yourself. I am not here to tell anyone how they must live their life. Rather, I’m here to remind everyone, including myself, of one of the most important aspects of life.

Being happy is not just the good, or the bad. It is both. It is impossible to be happy if you are not upset at times, as life is just a balance of these two things. Too much of one is just as dangerous as too much of the other. But it is possible, and also important, to try to be happy as often as possible. Life can be a lot. It can be unpredictable, cruel, and oftentimes unfair. It is only your attitude that will make a difference, and that is a big difference. Being happy is simple, but not easy. Every day, we each go through countless emotions. The good: excitement, pride, gratitude, joy, fun, and the bad: anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, stress.

And this is inevitable – no matter how much you may think you are in control of what happens to you, almost everything around you is out of your control. There is no way to control what other people think. There is no way to control what other people say. And, perhaps most importantly, there is no way to control what other people do. And so it makes sense that you spend life going from one emotion to another: life is always changing. But there are a few things that you can change, and that is what you think, what you say, and what you do. This is your attitude towards life.

So, if there is one thing that you should remember from my speech, it’s this – always, always, always look on the positive side. The way you look at things will not change what happens, yes. Being positive or negative will not make you more or less successful. But seeing the good in everything and everyone will make everything brighter, and you will enjoy your life much more. 

Now this is much easier said than done. I said being happy is simple, not easy. I stand by that. I also said that happiness is different for everyone. I also stand by that. However, I recommend that everyone, no matter what, spends at least 10 minutes a day being thankful and appreciative. Not as an excuse to think about what problems you may have, or blessings you don’t have, but the exact opposite.

Be thankful and appreciative of your friends and family. Maybe be thankful for the Connecticut River. Or appreciate an ice cream sundae. Say thank you to someone who has always been there for you. Enjoy the nice warm weather in the summer, and have fun in the snow in the winter. And always, appreciate the hard work that you have put in and be proud of yourself.

The most difficult part is to be grateful for everything that you may take for granted when you are not doing well and life is working against you. Work on making your attitude unwavering. The most impressive people are those who are happy and kind when their own life is falling apart, and it is these people who truly have life figured out.

Remember that you are always in control of what you do and your own attitude. Remember how you feel when everything is perfect, and remember how you feel when you hit rock bottom. Remember that there is so much to appreciate and your attitude is key. Because once you are content with yourself, that is when you can make a real difference.

If you are ever having a really horrible day, try doing something nice for someone else. Buy lunch for someone, or compliment a friend. Pick flowers. I know a lot of people who love to go for long drives with the windows down and the music up. I seriously recommend listening to salsa music as loud as you can and trying to dance along when no one is watching.

Whatever it is, never forget all that you have and all those who have been there for you, and pretty soon you will live an unforgettable life, and who knows, you might have an unforgettable impact on those around you.

Thank you everyone for giving me the time and place to talk here today, and I wish everyone much success in finding their own happiness.

Valedictorian Felse Kyle

Valedictorian Felse Kyle told her peers, “Since we began school, and especially over the past four years, our class has created its own little community, thriving off of each others’ successes and triumphs, and lifting each other back up on those days when one of us falls.
Our strength is our community. So much of what we are is a result of this community.”

Good evening. First of all, I’d like to thank all the teachers, faculty, and staff for supporting, teaching, and guiding us over the past four years. You inspire us every single day, and have managed to find a way to encourage us even on those days when we didn’t necessarily feel like learning, so thank you.

I’d also like to thank our friends and family members for being here to celebrate with us today, as we certainly would not be sitting in these seats without your love and support. Finally, I’d like to thank the rest of my class, the class of 2022, for making my high school experience as special as it was. You really are the best!

It wasn’t until about a week ago that it hit me, we’re graduating! For nearly the past decade and a half of our lives, we’ve been safely ensconced in the same familiar place with the same familiar people, and all of the sudden that’s changing. In just a few months, these people, who have shared so much of their lives; the playground swings, the fifth grade picnic, the eighth grade trip to Boston where all the teachers engaged in some funky dancing, the pep rallies, the field days, and of course, the tailgate breakfast, will all be moving on to new and exciting adventures, as they should.

This class is so full of talent, and idealism, and character, that I have not a single doubt that they are leaving here to change the world, and that fills me with awe, it inspires me, and truth be told, makes me feel really confident about the future of our nation and our planet!

We have been fortunate, in a day and age when nothing is certain, to have been raised and to live in a place where real community exists, the type of community where people take care of their neighbors, and give freely of their time. A place in which “it takes a village” is woven into the very fabric of civic life.

We have been blessed to have this safe place, where we’ve been nurtured and protected, and allowed to explore and experiment.

A place to not only apply, practically, the lessons of the classroom, but also a place where we have been allowed to explore who we are and who we might be, where we’ve been able to change and experiment with our styles and pursue new interests, to try new things, make new friends, to discover and to learn freely without ever feeling burdened by the stares of judgmental eyes. We inhabit a place so full of unique talents, ideas, and experiences, that it is impossible to have a conversation with someone in this town and not walk away without deeper knowledge or a broader perspective.

Since we began school, and especially over the past four years, our class has created its own little community, thriving off of each others’ successes and triumphs, and lifting each other back up on those days when one of us falls.

Our strength is our community. So much of what we are is a result of this community.

You have seen the support and love we have for each other everywhere imaginable, whether that be between teammates on the court or field, in the student section at a basketball game, on the stage and in the audience at any production put on by our players and musicians, and in the classroom as we learn and explore together.

Most importantly, we have been there for each other as our curiosity has sparked our passions and interests, and in so doing, we have been able to witness the nascence of world class physicists, bakers, drummers, ball players, writers, singers, dancers, engineers, artists and musicians, of changemakers and tastemakers.

As you venture forth, remember this example of community and continue to build it around you, let it propel you, and propel others, let trust and collaboration and inclusion not only be the instruments of beneficial change, but of security, safety and real happiness, let diversity and equity make you stronger.

I could not be prouder to be a part of the class of 2022, this class of willing, selfless and peerless leaders, and as we prepare to embark on the next leg of our journey, I beseech you to always remember the love that our little school and town has gifted you. As you go forth to expand and broaden our community, remember that those sitting beside you, and those joining you today, are your biggest fans. You can always rely on their encouragement, and their assistance. Remember to share your new adventures and triumphs with them. They want to hear!

There is no place I would have rather grown up and have spent my four years of high school in. I feel incredibly fortunate to have this enormous family of classmates and teachers and neighbors, so thank you again, every one of you, for making this our home.

The Mildred Sanford Outstanding Educator Award was presented to math teacher Lauren Rahr.

The Class of 2022

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! Photo by H.C. Scott.

CLASS OFFICERS

Frank Sablone, President
Ellie Wells, Vice President
James Creagan, Secretary
Olivia Turtoro, Treasurer
Mary Wholean, Class Historian

CANDIDATES FOR DIPLOMAS

Nicholas Mark Adeletti
Emily Rose Almada
John Cochrane Almy λ ω
Grace Avery Arnold λ ω*
Dylan Christophe Avelange *
Mason Tyler Bagwell
Kate Ann Bauchmann
Andrew James Bennett
Nihad Bicic ω*
Hannah Faith Britt λ π ω*
Mackenzie Rose Bussolotti ω
Olivia Faith Catalano
John Noah Caulkins
Evan Davis Clark π ω*
Ryan Joseph Clark ω*
John Thomas Coffey
Anne Josephine Colangelo λ ω
John Glynn Conley λ π ω Ϯ
Brody Robert Cooke
Sean Patrick Cordock
Chadwick Skelly Coughlin
Grace Madeline Coverdale ω
James William Creagan ω
Lauren Elizabeth Creagan ω
Caroline Grace Crolius λ π ω
Elias Orion D’Onofrio ω*
Elise Marie DeBernardo λ ω
Michael Dennis DeGaetano *
Cheikh Ahmed-Tidiane Diagne
Bridget Kaley Donovan
Elizabeth Mackenzie Duddy ω
Eleanor Eliza Dushin λ π ω* Ϯ
Mischa Jo Elmoznino *
Lauren Grace Enright λ ω Ϯ
Liam Michael Fallon
Iona Dominique Fitzgerald
Patrick Lynch Flanagan
Victoria Noel Gage λ π ω*
Delaney May Gagnon
Samantha Brie Geshel λ ω*
Aiden John Goiangos ω
Meyer Joseph Goldberg
Ethan Ryan Goss
Shawn Ryon Grenier ω
Liam Henry Grethel ω Ϯ
Nicolette Cote Hallahan λ ω
Austin Copp Halsey λ π ω
Jackson Wells Harris ω
Andrew Edward Hedberg λ ω*
Lillian Isabel Herrera ω*
Daniel Joseph Hoblin
Madison Grace Hubbard
Fiona Dorothy Hufford λ π ω*
Samuel Edward Ibbitson
Zoe Emma Jensen ω*
Julia Lee Johnston ω
Saige Matthew Jones
Nevin Varkey Joshy λ π ω* Ϯ
Kian Kardestuncer ω* Ϯ
Quinn Ampersand Kegley *
Prudencia Therese Kennedy
Cora Catalina Kern π ω
Robyn Summer King ω
Ingrid Mary Klier
Michael Richard Klier λ ω
Joseph Bernard Kuhn
Felse Alexandra Kyle λ π ω* Ϯ
William Christopher Larson λ π ω*
Olivia Frances Lecza
Alex Almeida Lee *
Zachery Thomas Lodi
Reese Jameson Maguire ω
Abigail Eve Manthous λ π ω*
Langley Marion Marshall
Mikayla Grace Masilotti
Stephanie Marie Mauro π ω*
James Rudolph Mazzalupo
Grace Corbett McAdams ω
Colin Ryan McCarthy
Emily Virginia Mesham λ ω
Jacob Douglas Meyers
Evan Michael Montville
Evan David Morgan ω
Samuel Alias Mullaney ω
Elle Jolie Myers λ π ω*
Emily Nicole Nickerson
Brendan Patrick O’Brien λ ω
Michael St. John O’Donnell ω
Bella Kai Orlando ω*
Daniel George Parker
Isabel Caryl Prentice ω
Lauren Elizabeth Presti
Adeline Michelle Riccio λ ω
Jacob Paul Ritchie λ ω
Margaret Jeanne Rommel ω*
Alexander Joseph Roth λ ω
Aidan Lee Russell λ ω*
Frank Louis Sablone λ ω
Olivia Fu Xin Schaedler π ω
Calvin Nicklas Scheiber λ π ω*
Abigail Jane Sicuranza λ π ω*
McLean Ivana Signora ω*
Abby Katherine Speckhals λ π ω*
Parker James Sprankle
Drew Michael St. Louis ω Ϯ
Daniel James Stack
Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum λ π ω* Ϯ
Victoria Grace Stout ω
Maverick Anthony Swaney λ ω
Madison Grace Thompson π ω
Alexandra Katherine Tinniswood
Olivia Elizabeth Turtoro λ π ω
John Russell Videll ω
Evan Joseph Visgilio
Aidan Matthew Ward λ π ω*
Riley John Warecke
Melanie Emma Warren λ ω*
Ellie Donna Wells λ π ω*
Mary Katherine Wholean ω*
Aden River Wilson
Paige Alyssa Winchell
Jenna Claire Woods λ ω
Avery Richard Wyman ω
Ryan Everett Zbierski ω
Jerry Derui Zhang π ω Ϯ

λ Member National Honor Society, Silver Honor Cord
π Member World Language Honor Society, Silver Honor Cord
ω Academic Letter Recipient, Gold Academic Distinction Honor Cord
* Seal of Biliteracy, Gold Academic Distinction Honor Cord
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Lyme-Old Lyme Seniors Celebrate Upcoming Graduation with Joyful Parade

All photos by Michele Dickey except where indicated.

OLD LYME — It may have poured Thursday morning but nothing was going to rain on the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Seniors planned parade that evening. By the evening, however, skies were clear and the soon-to-graduates, who will celebrate their Commencement tonight, organized their now decorated cars into a line at the high school.

They then drove down Lyme Street and McCurdy Rd. to cheers, clapping and great jubilation. But there were not only  cars in the parade. There were trucks …

and more trucks …

Photo by Robbin Myers.

There were boats …

Photo by Robbin Myers.

There were ambulances …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

There were fire trucks …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

And there were vehicles we are not quite sure how to describe!

Sunroofs took on a whole new purpose …

Windows made great seats …

Truck beds were filled …

Jeeps were jam-packed …

And cheery waves came from cabriolets …

 

The Old Lyme Fire Department pulled out all the stops (and ladders!) to celebrate the Seniors ….

Photo by Dottie Wells.

All along the route, people waved enthusiastically …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

Families congratulated their soon-to-be-graduates …

… while one little girl, full of eager anticipation, waited patiently with her mom for the parade to come into view!

Congratulations to all the soon-to be-graduates!