August 9, 2020

Old Lyme Planning Commission Announces Photo Contest for Town Residents

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Planning Commission has announced a new photo contest for Old Lyme residents for the upcoming edition of the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). The Planning Commission is in the process of rewriting the POCD for 2020, which is revised every 10 years.

The 10 most representative photos of the town will be chosen for inclusion in the 2020 POCD. Various categories include, but are not limited to, Town Hall, nature/waterfront, farmland, open space, historic sites, municipal structures, houses of worship, etc.

Digitized photo entries should be submitted by email to by Aug. 31, 2020.

The winners will be announced on the Town website and their photo submissions will be included in the 2020 POCD with their name credited below the picture.

The Planning Commission asks readers to note that by submitting their photography, they are also agreeing to allow the Town of Old Lyme to share their image(s), with appropriate credit on the Town of Old Lyme’s website and Facebook page.


Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the Old Lyme Community … with Two Challenges

Editor’s Note: We published this letter July 22. We have received comments almost daily related to it — the publication date shown reflects the date of the most recent comment. PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF JULY 31, 2020 COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE ARE NOW CLOSED.

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Old Lyme Community 

Several weeks ago a group of two or three hundred residents of Old Lyme marched from Town Hall to the First Congregational Church. On that day, people of varying political perspectives and social backgrounds joined together to give voice to the pain, indignation, and yes, hope, that meaningful change could be enacted to address the systemic racism that continues to plague our country. It was a heartening moment, one that was reenacted a week later in Lyme, thanks to the leadership of several thoughtful and passionate students from the Lyme-Old Lyme High School. Both events were the occasion for our community to acknowledge its limitations, even while articulating our broad aspirations, that toward which we hope and strive. 

Foremost among our limitations is the scarcity of people of color in our two towns, a fact made overwhelmingly clear by the rallies themselves. The faces gathered on the church lawn and on the ball field in Lyme were predominantly white. Foremost among our aspirations is the will to address that painful evidence of de facto segregation, and to make our town more welcoming and open to people of all races and backgrounds. To do that, we’ll have to ask, and hopefully answer, difficult questions about what makes our schools, our houses of worship, our public spaces, our town boards and committees, and yes, our housing, so overwhelmingly homogenous, so overwhelmingly white. 

Two years ago Old Lyme went through a series of public hearings about an affordable housing project that would have been built under the direction of HOPE Partnership. During those hearings, many residents voiced a variety of concerns about the location of that project, while also saying that they were broadly supportive of affordable housing – just not there. 

Now is the time to reopen that discussion. Now is the time to trust that what was spoken during those hearings, a broad affirmation of the need for affordable housing in Old Lyme (and Lyme), was actually the case. Now is the time to trust that the pain, outrage, and hope that brought so many of us together last month might actually translate into a meaningful gesture to address the de facto segregation of so many of Connecticut’s towns, including our own. Now is the time to come together as a community, and to finally construct the affordable housing that we so desperately need if we are to be the welcoming and open community we wish to be. 

In a recent conversation with HOPE Partnership, they shared that the organization expended over $100,000 as a result of costs incurred in Old Lyme two years ago. This included land deposits, architects fees, engineering fees, and legal fees. That loss has severely impaired their ability to continue their mission of building affordable housing along the Connecticut Shoreline – though it’s surely worth noting that Madison has recently approved a HOPE project, with another currently underway in Essex. Still, among the consequences of the Old Lyme incident is that HOPE has not been able to hire a new executive director after their previous director left. HOPE Partnership is one of the foremost agencies working to address the systemic inequities of our region, inequities that have profound implications for the racial injustices that have weighed heavily on our hearts over the last months. 

And so here are two challenges. First, can we in Old Lyme come together to collectively raise the $100,000 it will take to replenish the losses HOPE experienced two years ago, helping to restore their capacity to pursue their mission? Through the generosity of two anonymous sources, the First Congregational Church is able to seed that effort with $25,000. That’s a start, but the gap remains. Might some of the other organizations in town be willing to contribute to that effort? Might individuals, with contributions both large and small, be willing to help meet that goal? It would go a long way toward binding the wounds that still exist from two years ago. And it would be a meaningful way to address the systemic injustices that our nation is finally confronting. 

If you’re willing, you can contribute to HOPE Partnership at: 

HOPE Partnership Inc. 90 Main Street, Suite 105B Centerbrook, CT 06409 

We also understand that not everyone is in a position to help financially during this time, particularly because of COVID-19 and its aftershocks. Moral support is also deeply appreciated. You can show that in the form of a letter or short note to HOPE, which would go a long way toward encouraging those who have volunteered their time and labor to construct affordable homes in our region. 

The second challenge is this: we need to find a site where affordable housing can be built, and we need to get out of the way and allow the project to move forward. We are encouraged that the recently formed Old Lyme Affordable Housing Committee is working to identify sites in town that might be suitable, and we support those efforts. 

It won’t single-handedly solve the inequities and injustices that plague our country and our region. But it will create an opening, one that suggests that we’re listening, that we’re responding, and that we care. 

In hope … 


Rev. Dr. Steven R. Jungkeit, Old Lyme.
Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, Old Lyme.
Rev. Carleen Gerber, Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: All three authors are Ministers of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.



Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents with English Language Skills

Photo from LVVS website.

LYME/OLD LYME — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s (LVVS) mission is to teach residents of the Shoreline area to read, write and speak English and thus improve their work and life skills for themselves, their families, their employers and their community.

In addition to Lyme and Old Lyme, Literacy Volunteers serve the towns of Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

The organization is currently accepting applications for individuals to become volunteer English tutors and attend the Fall 2020 New Tutor Training Workshop. The workshop is a 12-hour program conducted over eight facilitated sessions.

Due to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, LVVS will be conducting its Fall Training Workshop virtually through video calls. The video calls will include a review of prepared materials presented by a Workshop Leader as well as group discussions and exercises.

The next training workshop begins Sept. 17, and runs through Oct. 29. Potential tutors choose either the morning sessions from 9:30 to 11 a.m. or the evening sessions from 7 to 8:30 p.m. A $35 donation to help offset the cost of materials is requested.

Alternatively, there is an online web-based training option.  It is available at any time for those unable to attend this facilitated workshop, but who would still like to be trained as an LVVS tutor.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, visit the LVVS website to obtain an application form.

If you would like more information about the program, contact the Literacy Volunteers office at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail to


Lyme Land Trust Names Bob Cope 2020 Volunteer of the Year

Bob Cope proudly displays the plaque awarded to him by the Lyme Land Trust after he was named 2020 Volunteer of the Year. Photo by Sue Cope.

LYME — Bob Cope has been named the 2020 Lyme Land Trust Volunteer of the Year, an award presented this year during a virtual Annual Meeting. The Land Trust celebrates, appreciates and depends upon all of the many wonderful volunteers and members who contribute to the success of the organization.

This year, Bob Cope stood out for his eagerness to help, dependability, and resourcefulness. He has been an invaluable volunteer for all the Trust’s activities: from building bridges, benches, kiosks, and gates, to mowing and clearing trees in the preserves; in addition to helping with the Tour de Lyme and other events.

Mal Karwoski, Stewardship Chair of the Trust, who presented the honor, stated,  “It’s Bob’s nature to be helpful, and he shares this not just with the Lyme Land Trust. Bob is invested in our community in many other ways and is passionate about giving back.” 

In addition to Bob’s volunteer work with the Trust, he serves on the Town of Lyme Open Space Commission and the Lyme Recreation Commission, assists the Friends of Whalebone Cove, Hadlyme Public Hall, Lyme Youth Services Bureau and the Center For The Blind in New London. 


Old Lyme’s Visiting Nurse Veselka Retires After 47-Year-Career

Karen Veselka enjoys the moment while her OLVNA colleagues wish her well on her last day of nursing after a 47-year-career in the profession.

OLD LYME — Horns were honking at the Lymes’ Senior Center as Town Nurse Karen Veselka arrived there July 22 for her last day at work. After 47 years of nursing, Veselka is retiring and moving away. Her small drive-through parade was followed by a socially-distanced outdoor farewell.

Karen Veselka arrives at Lymes’ Senior Center for her final day of service as Old Lyme’s Visiting Nurse.

The Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association knows how lucky they were to have had Veselka. She’s been a pillar of support for the most vulnerable in this community as she juggled wellness, skilled care coordination, outreach for special needs, and COVID-19 response.

Veselka’s colleagues at the OLVNA and board members of the organization all turned out to wish Veselka (left) happiness in her retirement and present her with some gifts.

In 2017 she won the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing, and in 2020 she won the inaugural Old Lyme Kindness award.

Standing at an appropriate social distance, Veselka’s colleagues and OLVNA Board Members lauded her service as the Town Nurse. Veselka is seated at left in photo.

Holly Lyman spoke on behalf of all the members of the OLVNA when she commented, “Sad as we are to see Karen leaving, many of us also know what fun retirement can be, so we wish her all the best in her new life!”


A la Carte: Pesto is Perfect for Pasta … and More

Lee White

I am amazed how friends have managed to get tasks done during this pandemic isolation.

The Fitzgerald’s garden looks like something out of a French painting with pots of herbs on the fence,  homemade cushions with seating for friends and two gorgeous cocker spaniels lazing on my legs, adding to the ambience.

The Robertson’s grass look like a golf course and their bird-feeders have hovering mammas feeding fledglings.

Even my condos are so full of perennials they are about to spill onto the sidewalks.

I seem to do less house-cleaning and more reading, cooking and watching television. The house is clean (the kitchen always pristine), but the clutter gets to me. I do put the bills where they need to be, so I can pay them, and I get rid of junk mail quickly and take it — plus the newspapers — to the dumpster, but the magazines I put in neat piles and sometimes forget to read them.

Such was the case with the May/June  issue of Yankee, which probably arrived in April. I love Yankee, especially its columnists. I have known Amy Traverso, its senior food editor, for a long time and her articles and recipes are really good.

In that issue, she writes about The Blue Oar in Haddam, Conn., on our part of the shoreline. And in another, she has a recipe for strawberry shortcake, with the shortcake made with pistachios. Obviously, local strawberries are gone but I will use the shortcake recipe with pistachios — it uses heavy cream instead of butter, making the recipe easier to make.

Another piece is about Krista Kern Desjarlais and her two restaurants in Maine. You may remember her from her restaurant in Westerly called Three Fish. Decades ago, she was serving pastries that were not only delicious but picture-perfect. I wrote about her then and have followed her ever since. I ate at her Portland, Maine, tiny restaurant, Bresca, a few times and loved everything about it. 

In the magazine, she included a recipe for Pistachio Pesto. I make basil pesto every summer, package about two big tablespoons in plastic snack sizes, freeze the packages separated by paper towels and the little ones into a bigger plastic bag. (The paper towels allow you to separate the snack packs one at a time. You can warm the packets in your hands and they are warm by the time your pasta has boiled and drained.)

To make pesto, use any herb for the sauce. And if you are out of pine nuts (pretty expensive and difficult to find), use walnuts. The flavor will be different but still tasty. Krista suggests pistachios. I never thought of that.

Use the recipe below and, this summer, choose almost any herb you have and any nuts available. In addition to cooking pasta with pesto, use it in marinara or most other red sauce or in stew this winter, especially if you make pesto out of parsley.

Krista also uses a tablespoon each of lemon zest and lemon juice and a little shallot. All this sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash.

Pesto alla Genovese

(from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta by Marie Simmons, Harper Collins, New York, 1988)

I triple or quadruple (or more) and freeze pesto in small zipper plastic bags. The pesto will last for more than a year and will thaw in minutes. 

Yield: 1 cup or enough for 1 pound of pasta

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3  cup pignoli (pine nuts)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
¼  teaspoon salt
½  cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chop basil, nuts, garlic and salt in a food processor. With processor still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until mixture is thoroughly blended. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese.

Freeze in tiny freezer bags. When ready to use, you can thaw the pesto in freezer bag between your hands.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for and also for the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.


Legal News You Can Use: I Am Me — The Feminine Side of Lawyering

Having a female lawyer can provide a level of personal comfort for some clients. Similar to seeking a female doctor, prospective clients routinely consider gender when seeking a lawyer’s legal advice and advocacy.

I am female and I am a lawyer, and oftentimes, clients say to me “I called you because I need to speak to a female about what has happened to me: only a woman will understand.”

Whether you are dealing with a life-changing event such as a divorce, you are the victim of a crime, accident or botched medical procedure, or you are grappling with the nearly impossible feat of work/life balance and facing workplace disparities or overt discrimination or harassment, your unique issue may be one where consulting and a retaining a female attorney may be most appealing.

Perhaps it is because women are natural listeners and problem-solvers, or because female attorneys tend to approach clients and their cases with empathy and a comforting, compassionate tone. We are smart, intuitive, collaborative and persistent.  Our ability to connect, on a personal level, with so many of our clients is likely because of these attributes, which work to the client’s advantage when in need of zealous advocacy.

Warning: underestimate a female attorney at your own risk.  Clients who are comfortable with their attorney willingly share the most important, more intimate details about a situation they are dealing with, arming their attorney with better-problem solving capabilities, which often leads to overall positive end results.

To their client’s advantage, female attorneys carry these attributes to the negotiating table or the courtroom, where we are well-organized and prepared, and we connect well with witnesses, judges and jurors, often having the tone and demeanor that not only commands respect but is viewed as credible and worthy of the fact-finder’s trust.

I recently read a piece published in 2020 Texas Law Review, “Reflections of a Lady Lawyer” by Lisa Blatt, which is relatable.  In speaking as a female lawyer, Blatt wrote “[w]omen don’t look or talk like Perry Mason, and you don’t want us to.”  When dealing with the situations in life that typically bring clients to seek a lawyer, there is comfort in having a lawyer who “gets you.”

I do not look or talk like Perry Mason.  I am me.  I am a female.  I am a mother.  I love my work.  I empathize with you.  I grapple with the work/life balance (and the inherent mother’s guilt) of maintaining a successful legal practice while driving the soccer carpool and being an attentive dance mom.  I hear you.  I represent you.

This post is sponsored by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.

Editor’s Notes: i) Suisman Shapiro is located at 75 State Street, New London, CT 06320. Their mailing address is 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591 New London, CT 06320.

Atty. Kristi Kelly

ii) Kristi Kelly concentrates her practice in labor, employment, and municipal law at Suisman Shapiro, the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut.  Living along the shoreline, raising her three children, Kelly is an attorney with whom the firm’s clients connect — they find her approach comforting in the most stressful times in their lives. Kelly regularly works with other female attorneys in the firm, Eileen DugganJeanette DostieCarolyn Kelly and Jillian Miller to meet client needs in many areas of law.  She is a VA accredited attorney and 2020 recipient of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Honorable Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award for her work to provide advocacy for veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness to overcome barriers to housing, healthcare and income.


Vitality Spa Reopens Aug. 1 with New Protocols in Place, Now Taking Appointments

The welcoming exterior of Vitality Spa at 14 Lyme St. in Old Lyme. The spa reopens Aug. 1.

OLD LYME — “We’re so excited to be reopening our doors on Aug. 1,” Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith says enthusiastically. Her business on Lyme St. in Old Lyme has been closed since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but reopening the spa was not simply a matter of changing the sign on the door.

Eisensmith explained that in order to reopen safely and in accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, the spa has found it necessary to make a significant number of changes.

Pointing out, “When a client enters, the spa will have a very different look since we have streamlined our space and put new protocols in place,” she adds,”We’re following the State-mandated guidelines and the American Massage Therapy Association recommendations to protect our clients and our staff.”

Although the spa is currently closed, appointments can still be made either online at or by phone at 860-434-1792.

Some of the changes that have been implemented involve a client’s arrival. Under the new arrangements, a client must call from outside the spa to say he/she has arrived and once inside the building, spa staff will carry out a symptom review and temperature check at the door. Eisensmith stresses, “We will not be applying any cancellation penalty if an appointment must be cancelled at that point.”

Staff will wear masks at all times when working with clients under the new protocols.

There will no longer be a reception area inside the spa and, in light of the current news, it will come as no surprise that face masks are required for all clients, while staff wear masks and goggles or a face shield.

Precautions regarding the use of rooms include a system whereby they are alternated so that no two clients are treated in the same space consecutively. Similarly, room recovery time has been extended to allow all surfaces to be sanitized/disinfected thoroughly after every use.

Eisensmith also mentions that HEPA filters are in operation during treatment sessions for air purification and also that massage tables and face cradles will have plastic protective covers beneath the sheets to allow for thorough disinfecting between clients.

In terms of general cleanliness for both the staff and clients, touchless soap and towel dispensers. and sanitizing stations are now provided.

Business Manager Jill Stranger stands behind the new plexiglass shield at the Vitality Spa front desk.

Finally, Eisensmith notes that a plexiglass shield has been installed at the reception desk to ensure personal protection during the check-out process.

With all these changes now in place, Eisensmith is excited to greet her clients again and says that, despite all the new protocols, “They can be assured that not only are our services still outstanding, but our therapists remain as skilled as ever.”


Gardening with ‘The English Lady’: Tips for July, a Month That Offers ‘A Blind Date With Summer’

A garden in July can be a riot of color.

“July is a blind date with summer,” says Hal Borland. Such a wonderful description of a beautiful month, so let’s take a walk in the garden!


A sprinkler can be an effective watering method. Photo by Anthony Lee on Unsplash.

Watering is so important during the heat of summer. If you planted trees or shrubs this spring, particularly evergreens, these plants require extra moisture to establish a strong root system. We have had an abundant amount of rain this spring and into the summer, however it is important to keep an eye on the weather.

Here in New England, plants require at least an inch of water per week.  If you are using a regular hose, you lose 40 percent of moisture to evaporation. However, a hose is necessary for a deep first watering when a plant goes into the ground and for containers.

Soaker hoses in your borders are the best method of watering, attached to a house spigot with a timer. By using this method of irrigation, moisture goes to the roots of plants where it is needed and not on the foliage, which can cause disease such as black spot and powdery mildew. Soaker hoses attached to a timer can be used efficiently not only in the borders of the garden but also in the vegetable garden, where annual vegetables, in particular, require a lot of water to produce a good crop.

In addition, composted manure added to the containers and copious amounts to the vegetable garden, helps to retain a good amount of moisture. Manure used as mulch for the vegetable garden adds more nutrition and, as mulch, it does not cap or form a hard crust, as do other mulches, so that water goes directly to the roots.

Water the lawn only when the green glow begins to fade.  An established lawn will bounce back after dry hot spells.


I want to emphasize the importance of soil and soil health, which has been severely neglected and abused with poisonous chemicals for years. Soil is the most important element of plant growth; it is not an inert medium that merely holds the plants erect, it is a living organism that needs to be replenished with nutrients.

The nutrient is composted manure, manure builds soils structure and its bacteria partners with the millions of microbes below the surface to produce nutrients for the roots of the plants. If you have not already done so, I strongly suggest that you carefully discard all chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

The addition of composted manure to your soil in spring, early summer and early fall together with the addition of natural brown bark mulch, builds the carbon compound or humus component in the soil.  We are all carbon-based creatures, as is every living element, this is our lifeblood and the lifeblood of the soil in our gardens.

As we build the humus component by adding composted manure and fine bark mulch, we produce the healthiest possible growing environment and the strongest disease-resistant plants.  As we add the composted manure and natural fine bark mulch season after season, the humus component continues to build in the soil, continuously extracting carbon from the atmosphere into the soil.


These beautiful plants flourish beautifully with the addition of composted manure and mulch applied on the soil about two feet away from the base of the plant; they need a deep watering at least once a week. Now, in July add another light layer of composted manure around the roses.

Manure is food for the roots of the roses and no other products are necessary for growth and bloom. Stop adding manure to the roses in mid-August, so that the roses can go into a slow dormancy through late summer and early fall, a natural part of their growth cycle.

An ‘Evelyn’ rose, the author’s favorite.

If you are a first-time rose-grower or adding to your rose collection, David Austin English roses are my personal preference.  The David Austin nursery is only 21 miles from my hometown in Shropshire in England and it was a fragrant pleasure to visit the nursery in June. David Austin roses are more trouble-free than many other roses and are repeat bloomers, with beautiful colors to enhance our senses with delicious fragrances.

Some of my favorite David Austin roses are:

A Shropshire Lad, a peachy pink
Abraham Darby, shades of apricot and yellow
Evelyn (my favorite) with giant apricot-colored flowers
Fair Bianca, a pure white rose
Heritage, a soft blush pink
Carding Mill begins as a peachy orange double flower, becoming an apricot-pink

A lovely combination to enjoy are climbing roses and clematis planted together as both enjoy the same planting environment with their heads in the sun and their feet (roots) cool, with manure and mulch. This combination looks great, climbing over a fence, wall or arbor.

Mulch  – do not use the artificially-colored red mulch, rubber mulch or cocoa mulch; use only natural brown bark mulch.  Do not mulch right up to the base of the plants, as this invites rodents to nest and gnaw on the stems or trunks of the plants.

Note: Do not use Cocoa mulch, produced by Hershey, this mulch has a Thorazine compound and other poisons, which are hazardous to pets who are attracted by the chocolate odor. Ingestion of this chocolate mulch can cause seizures and death within hours.


Blue hydrangeas. Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash.

Plant Hydrangeas in a sunny area if you live near the coast enjoying seas breezes and in part-sun away from the coast on the west or east aspect of the garden. Plant them in organically-rich soil with composted manure and add extra composted manure around the base now in July.

If you have the blue Hydrangea, add some peat or aged oak bark around the base — the acidity in the peat or oak bark encourages a deeper blue hue. Hydrangeas are a wetland plant and require plenty of water throughout the summer. We had a late spring and with all the spring and early summer rain and now good sunshine, the foliage and bloom of the hydrangeas is performing well. Watch out for powdery mildew and spray with the following recipe that you can mix yourself:

Two tablespoons baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, a squirt of dish soap with a gallon of water in a sprayer.  For any recipe spray you make, spray only in the morning when there is no wind and when the temperature and humidity combined do not go above 180.

Prune Hydrangeas immediately after they finish blooming in late August or early September but no later, as Hydrangeas set their buds for the next season by mid-September. If you prune after that time, you will lose next season’s bloom.   When you prune, cut out some of the old wood and the weakest of the new shoots.  In October, put more composted manure and brown mulch around the base to nourish and protect the roots through the winter.

Did you know that garlic is the antibiotic of the garden? I just love garlic to use in my recipes and it is an important anti-fungal element to protect your plants. I suggest that in early fall you should plant plenty of garlic if you do not already have some in the garden.

To avoid fungal diseases, plant garlic around strawberries, tomatoes and raspberries.

Plant garlic around mildew-prone plants to prevent mildew — such plants are summer phlox and bee balm.

Plant garlic under fruit trees to avoid scab and root disease.

Plant garlic next to ponds or standing water to control mosquito larvae, or pour garlic water into the water to deter adult mosquitoes.

Where you notice marauders where either insects or animals have been munching, make a garlic spray to apply on the plants:

Garlic spray recipe

4 large crushed garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
1 squirt of mild dish detergent

Put all ingredients in two cups of hot water in the blender, blend, then leave overnight.

Then put in a gallon sprayer with cold water and spray in the early morning when there is no wind, observing the rule of 180 mentioned above.

Hot pepper spray recipe

To deter squirrels and chipmunks, try a hot pepper spray using either four hot chilies or one cup of cayenne pepper in two cups of hot water, mixed in the blender, leave overnight and then put in a gallon sprayer with cold water and spray the problem areas in the early morning.

This pepper spray works well on squirrels, chipmunks, and deer, as well as dogs and cats that may be leaving their deposits in the garden.


Gardener’s hands are their tools of the trade so it’s important to take care of them. My hands remain healthy by indulging in a hot cream treatment once a week before bed.

Maureen’s hot hand cream recipe:

Combine Calendula cream with honey and essential oil of lavender heated in the microwave, apply generously and put on white cotton gloves for sleep.

When I wake up, my hands are unbelievably soft and smooth.

Wear gloves, when working in soil that contains manure or spreading manure. Manure is an organic product that contains bacteria,  bacteria is great for the soil but like many bacteria not healthy for you. The gloves I prefer are the soft leather farmer’s gloves that are washable.


Many herbs are at their peak right now and are ideal for using in flavored oils.  The oil I use as a base is organic olive oil. I harvest basil, parsley, sage, tarragon and oregano in a morning, rinse them well, pat them dry with a paper towel and then make the recipe

Chose an herb and add to two cups of oil.

For thyme and lavender, I use only the flowers with one cup of oil to a handful of blossoms.

Puree the herb mixture in a blender and store covered in a wide mouthed jar for three days, shake at least three times a day for the first two days and on the third day let the mixture settle to the bottom, then strain it through a paper coffee filter or cheese cloth into a clean jar.  You will now have a tinted but clear mixture.

Refrigerate each mixture and use within two to three weeks.  The herb oils I make are lavender, lemon, garlic, shallots and basil with olive oil as the base – these are my favorites and are great brushed on vegetables and meats for grilling.  The lavender oil is great with desserts. Rosemary and lemon oil taste excellent on salads.


I know I have given you a few mole remedies in the past; but I have not given you the Exlax method for a while and I can attest to the fact that I have used this method as have many garden colleagues for years, as it works.  Buy Exlax whose main ingredient is Senna, a natural herb. Insert Exlax into the mole holes, and the moles and voles will be gone.

If you have dogs and cats, do not use the chocolate Exlax, use only the plain Exlax as chocolate is dangerous to pets.

In early April of next year, apply organic grub control, which means less grubs for the moles to feed on, and without their supply of grubs, the moles will go elsewhere for food. In addition, the white grubs of Japanese beetles can be diminished with the grub control.

Japanese beetles love our plants and there is a method to deal with them naturally. In the early morning, the Japanese beetles are drowsy and can be captured.  Lay a drop cloth under the plant or plants where you see them and gently shake the plant; the drowsy beetles will drop onto the cloth, which you gather up and drop them in a garbage bag and discard.

Many of us are committed to organic gardening without chemicals, which has enabled the earthworm population to once again increase; earthworms are a great boon to the garden soil as their castings add 50 percent nutrition to the soil together with 11 trace minerals.


I just love my summer phlox and to keep the mildew problems at bay, I use the natural baking soda mix I mentioned above.  I have found that white Phlox Miss Lingard or white Phlox David are more resistant to mildew that other summer phlox.  Monarda commonly known, as Bee Balm, and Hydrangeas are also prone to be affected by powdery mildew, and this where the baking soda once again can be used.

For a second bloom on the Summer Phlox, prune off 10 to 20 inches from the flower stems just after the flowers have gone and within a few weeks, you will experience new growth.


A healthy garden is a clean garden. Do not put any diseased items into your compost.

Deadhead all annuals and perennials for a second bloom and clean up all spent blossoms.

When Coreopsis and Spirea have bloomed, shear off dead flowers and they too will rebloom.


Make sure you have composted manure and fine bark mulch applied on top of the soil in your containers and keep them watered as containers dry out quicker than garden soil. In hot weather the containers will need to be watered daily, morning and evening watering is the best.

If you do not have time in a morning before you leave for work or errands, empty your ice cube trays on the containers; this provides slow release watering until you can get to them later.

Enjoy being in the garden, stay hydrated, continue to stretch and take time to ‘smell the Roses’ and I’ll see you in your garden in August!

Maureen Haseley-Jones

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.
Contact Maureen at


Lyme-Old Lyme High, Middle Schools Announce Q4 Honor Rolls

Lyme-Old Lyme High School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 12:

Anabella Arias, Emily Balocca, Audrey Berry, Chloe Cahill, Madison Cann, Faith Caulkins, Emilia Cheesman, Elizabeth Cravinho, Maria Denya, Raymond Doll, Theodore Enoch, Araselys Farrell, Nicholas Fava, Jada Fuentes, Tanner Griffin, Sophia Griswold, Kamber Hamou, Lauren Huck, Jeffy Joshy, Caroline King, Renate Kuhn, Rachael Larson, Melissa Mauro, Thomas McCarthy, Ryan McTigue, Chandler Munson, Kyle Myers, Samantha Olson, Samantha Owen, Sofia Pecher-Kohout, Jenna Porter, Jared Ritchie, Colby Sides, Emily Speckhals, Evan St.Louis, Olivia Stack, Olivia Tetreault, Ryan Tetreault, Lydia Tinnerello, Sydney Trowbridge, Kiera Ulmer, Megan VanSteenbergen, Jackson Warren, Theodore Wayland, Katelyn Wells, Clair Wholean, Maggie Wisner, Conner Wyman, Katherine Zelmanow

Grade 11:

Kaylee Armenia, Sophia Arnold, Rachel Barretta, Michael Battalino, Maxwell Bauchmann, Ava Berry, Emma Boardman, Sadie Bowman, Kyuss Buono, Kate Cheney, Hunter Collins, Emerson Colwell, Megan Cravinho, Michael Cushman, Patrick Dagher, George Danes, Emily DeRoehn, Francette Donato, Corah Engdall, Leslie Farrell, Isabella Flagge, Sadie Frankel, Fiona Frederiks, Eveliz Fuentes, Jackson Goulding, Samantha Gray, Schuyler Greenho, Lillian Grethel, Emma Griffith, Regan Kaye, Paige Kolesnik, Avery Lacourciere, Grace Lathrop, Owen Macadam, Elle McAraw, Brendan McTigue, Brianna Melillo, Michael Milazzo, Riley Nelson, Timothy O’Brien, Sophia Ortoleva, Connie Pan, Olivia Papanier, Gavin Porter, Aidan Powers, Jacob Quaratella, Ethan Rivera, Julie Rudd, Hayden Saunders, Tait Sawden, Jesper Silberberg, Isabella Smith, Tessa St.Germain, Kassidy Standish, Lian Thompson, McKenzey Thompson, Lauren Wallace, Kelly Walsh, Alison Ward, Ellery Zrenda

Grade 10:

John Almy, Grace Arnold, Nihad Bicic, Hannah Britt, Evan Clark, Ryan Clark, Lauren Creagan, Elise DeBernardo, Elias D’Onofrio, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Iona Fitzgerald, Victoria Gage, Aiden Goiangos, Shawn Grenier, Nicolette Hallahan, Austin Halsey, Andrew Hedberg (also Q3), Fiona Hufford, Zoe Jensen, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Cora Kern, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Reese Maguire, Abigail Manthous, Stephanie Mauro, Emily Mesham, Evan Morgan, Samuel Mullaney, Elle Myers, Michael O’Donnell, Bella Orlando, Lauren Presti, Adeline Riccio, Jacob Ritchie, Frank Sablone, Lloret Sala, Olivia Schaedler, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Maverick Swaney, Olivia Turtoro, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Mary Wholean, Avery Wyman, Ryan Zbierski

Grade 9:

Elsie Arafeh-Hudson, William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Cooper Bowman, Gillian Bradley, Ava Brinkerhoff, Jamie Bucior, Gretchen Burgess, Sebastian Burgio, Sarah Burnham, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, Luke Celic (also Q3), Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, William Danes, Anna Davis, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Alexis Fenton, Clarence Hinckley, Willa Hoerauf, Arber Hoxha, Karissa Huang, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Aidan Kerrigan, Celia LaConti, Phoebe Lampos, Theodore Lampos, Jonah Lathrop, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madalyn McCulloch, Caden Monte, Calvin Monte, Cooper Munson, Alexander Olsen, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Olivia Powers, Kelsey Pryor, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Anders Silberberg, Alyssa Spooner, Samantha Tan, Tova Toriello, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten, Quinn Williams


Grade 12:

Faith Brackley, Rory Cavicke, Kevin Davidson, Isabel Dean-Frazier, Leah Fouquette, Connor Hogan, Natalie Meyers, Dylan Mulligan, Chase Reneson, Samuel Roth, Aedan Using

Grade 11:

Bianca Dasilva, Justen Lessard, Katelyn Zbierski

Grade 10:

Lillian Herrera, Alexander Roth, Aidan Russell, Madison Thompson

Grade 9:

Kylie Dishaw, Matthew Grammatico, Monique Lavoie, Marco Supersano, George Williams

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 8:

Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Sarah Colangelo, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Eric Dagher, Eva D’Onofrio, Amelia Gage, Ryder Goss, Sydney Goulding, Nyla Goulis, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Katherine Gryk, Nathaniel Heon, Sedona Holland, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Emmerson Kaye, Grady Lacourciere, Audrey LeCour, Luke Legein, Brodie Lippincott, Griffin McGlinchey, Lucas McMillan, Matthew Miller, Katherine Mullaney, Delaney Nelson, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Ronald Olin, Jack Porter, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Owen Snurkowski, Madeleine Soriano, Hannah Thomas, Louisa Warlitz, Mason Wells, Summer Wollack

Grade 7:

Christopher Anderson, Emma Arelt, Quinn Arico, Oliver Avelange, Natalie Barndt, Micah Bass, Gavin Biega, Molly Boardman, Chase Calderon, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Amber Cutler, Chloe Datum, Andrea DeBernardo, Jared DeMarco, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Caeli Edmed, Anna Eichholz, Davis Fallon, Grace Ferman, Samantha Fiske, Benedict Frazier, Hoshena Gemme, Ava Gilbert, Marco Gonzaga, Henry Griswold, Kaela Hoss, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Hannah Johnston, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Peter Kuhn, Bronwyn Kyle, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Elizabeth Lopez, Colette Marchant, Hannah Miller, Abigail O’Brien, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Mutia Quarshie, Andrew Sicuranza, Drea Simler, Nola Slubowski, Audrey Spiegel, Morgan Standish, Madeline Supersano, Kathleen Walsh

Grade 6:

Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Arthur Fusscas, Eric Fusscas, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Scarlette Graybill, Christopher Kachur, Thomas Kelly, Katherine King, Harrison Kleefeld, Jade Lawton, Maya LeQuire, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Sebastian Lopez-Bravo, Ian Maeby, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Carter McGlinchey, Ryan Miller, Eiley Montanaro, Sybil Neary, Nina Nichols, Michael Nickerson, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Quenten Patz, Isabella Presti, Jacob Prokopets, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Tanner Snurkowski, Charlotte Spiegel, Addison Spooner, Carson St.Louis, Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Lucian Tracano, Madeleine Trepanier, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Carl Zapatka


Grade 8:

Henry Boremski, Douglas Griswold, Anna McAdams, Gabriel Tooker, Tyler Wells

Grade 7:

Nathaniel Bradley, Mark Burnham, Erin Durant, Max Novak, Andrew Sprankle, Ava Wilcox

Grade 6:

Charlotte Antonino, Trevor Buydos, Jack Conroy, Alexa Donovan, Benjamin Goulding, William Landon, Jeremiah Miller, Taylor Quintin, Connor Vautrain, Edith Williams, Julius Wilson, Katherine Zhang


Job Opportunity: ‘Estuary’ Magazine Seeks Part-Time Assistant Editor/Publisher

Editor’s Note: This is a paid advertisement.

Estuary Magazine, a quarterly print and online publication about “life of the Connecticut River,” is looking for a part-time assistant editor/publisher, with both publishing and editing duties.  The position involves a commitment of time consistent with the pay, which is to be mutually agreed-upon.

The successful applicant will report to the editor/publisher of the magazine.

On the editorial side, duties include assistance with organizing the contributions and ideas from authors, overseeing writing assignments and deadlines, copy-editing, and bringing each issue to a timely close for publication.

Duties on the publishing side will include managing the questions and comments from subscribers and potential subscribers, following up on order errors, address changes, etc., as well as seeing to the timely broadcast of periodic online newsletters.

It is an exciting opportunity for the right person, who is still eager to learn.

Applications, including a resumé, should be sent to



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

Old Lyme’s Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Datum

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

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

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

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

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Executive Director Mary Seidner

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Sculptures by Old Lyme Sculptor Gil Boro Featured in Stamford Downtown Outdoor Art Exhibit

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

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

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

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

The exhibition runs through August.

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

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

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

For more information on the exhibit and to view a map of the sculpture locations, visit

‘Sirocco’ certainly makes a splash in Downtown Stamford.


Death of Barbara Doyle McMahon Announced; Formerly of Old Lyme, Committed Volunteer at OL Women’s Exchange

OLD LYME — Barbara Virginia Doyle McMahon, 91, of Essex, died July 15, 2020. She was a former resident of Old Lyme and Darien. Barbara was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Frank and Virginia Doyle. She was a graduate of the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights and Smith College. Immediately after graduating from Smith, she married James McMahon of Brooklyn, whom she had met at dancing school. They eventually moved to Darien, where they raised their two children. Barbara was a committed volunteer at the Old Lyme Women’s Exchange …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published on


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

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


No New COVID Cases in Lyme, Old Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A la Carte: Luscious Lamb Never Disappoints

This was a rather lovely week — I actually spent an hour on a beach chair on the patio, reading and watching the birds on my feeders. I thought I had seen a Baltimore oriole, so I went to Johnson’s Hardware and bought a curlicue feeder that I could thread oranges, since I knew orioles like oranges.

At the same time, I filled the hummingbird feeder. Mostly I saw a lot of catbirds (whom I adore) and downy woodpeckers and finches, but no orioles that day or any other day. And, for the sixth year, no hummingbirds. Oh, well, my cat loves watching the birds from the window. She doesn’t care what they are.

Also last week my friend Tom Cherry made a lamb ragout with spring vegetables and, mask on, drove to my condo with a big portion for dinner. It was beyond delicious and, he says, is a recipe, from a 1971 Gourmet magazine. He also says it is not hard to make but is tedious. He will send me the recipe. His wife, Lynne, said this is why she married him.

So last weekend, still thinking about that lamb ragout, I went to Shop Rite for lamb chops for the grill. They didn’t have any, but someone found me a rack of lamb. It was $21, but it was almost eight ribs, so I cut it in half, froze one and grilled the other.

While I marinated it, I boiled some tiny potatoes. When they were done, I poured out the water allowed the potatoes to dry a bit and added some butter and salt. With a small salad, it was a delicious dinner And easy. Here is the recipe.

Rack of Lamb on the Grill

Yield: 2 servings

1 rack of lamb (around a pound)
Marinade of olive oil, lemon zest, stone ground mustard, minced garlic, a few shards of rosemary, salt and freshly cracked black pepper)
Mint jelly, optional

Mix the marinade in a small bowl. Rub the lamb, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 8 hours or so.  Take it out of the fridge an hour before you are ready to grill it.

In a propane grill, turn the heat to high and place the rack fat side down, to sear the meat, about 5 minutes/* Do not leave the grill, because there may be flare-ups. Then turn the grill to about 425 degrees. meat side up, and cook for 13 to 15 minutes for medium rare (longer if you want medium to well-done).

With a temperature gauge, meat should be 120 degrees. (There is some carry-on cooking while you let it rest, so perhaps you should take it off a little earlier, if you want it rare.) Let it rest on a cutting board for up to 10 minutes. Then cut the rack into ribs and serve, with or without mint jelly.

* If using a charcoal grill, once the charcoal is almost gray, push some of it to one side and sear the rack on the hot side. Then move the lamb, meat side up, on the cooler side of the charcoal grill. 

Lee White

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for and also for the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.


Vitality Spa Set to Reopen Aug. 1, Appointments Being Taken Now

Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith

OLD LYME — Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith has shared with that she plans to reopen her spa on Lyme St. Aug. 1.  The spa has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic was first announced.

Numerous changes in protocols and decor have been implemented. We will be publishing an extensive article on how the spa has responded to the health situation next week

Meanwhile, appointments can be booked either online at or by phone at 860-434-1792.