May 19, 2022

PARJE Celebrates Unveiling of New ‘Welcome’ Mural at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold stands with the mural’s lead artist Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal after the mural had been officially unveiled on Wednesday at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School. All photos by K. Monson except where indicated.

OLD LYME — UPDATED WITH FULL STORY: Around 40 members of the community along with several Old Lyme and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools dignitaries joined some 200 Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students and faculty on Wednesday to celebrate the unveiling of a new Welcome mural, which had been sponsored by Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) and created in the school.

The completed mural shows students from many nations holding hands to cross a bridge.

The mural is part of the Sister Murals Project sponsored by Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE), which was officially launched March 1, 2021. PARJE utilizes the broad appeal of art and education to confront racial injustice.

One mural has already been unveiled in Norwich and now murals are being worked on concurrently in Old Lyme and New London. Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal, who is an alumna of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, is the lead artist of the new Welcome mural in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS.)

In addition to her role as lead artist, Oyola-Blumenthal worked with school faculty to develop student workshops, which coordinated with the project.

Oyola-Blumenthal and her counterpart, Marvin Espy, in New London were selected from a field of nearly 20 applicants. In her application, Oyola-Blumenthal had described art as, “a neutral vessel,” contending that [it], “Can bring forth conversations that can be uncomfortable and promote opportunities to open dialogue on racial justice and education.”

Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal, lead artist for the ‘Welcome’ mural, addresses the audience at Wednesday’s ceremony in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School to celebrate the unveiling of the mural. Photo by S. Hayes.

Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Ian Neviaser opened the ceremony and then a number of speeches were made including one by Kimberly Monson, a professional artist, who studied at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and subsequently became one of its faculty. She, in fact, had taught lead artist Oyola-Blumenthal when the latter was a student at the same college.

Monson noted, “An artistic legacy is passed from instructor to student and is a direct line to the artists and instructors before them. Therefore, with her training, Jas’s [Jasmine’s] pedigree can be traced back to artistic behemoths such as Saint Gaudens and Gerome.”

Monson then commented on Oyola-Blumenthal’s own legacy and its relevance to the project, saying, “Jas also has a legacy in her heritage. She holds within her … the hopes and dreams of embracing diversity, which, in addition to her talent, give her an insightful perspective to this Mural project … [She carries] the legacy, of not only the Artists housed and trained here, but also [in her role] as the voice of collaboration with our kids.”

Monson spoke warmly of Oyola-Blumenthal’s skills saying, “Jas’s sense of design was always powerful. She knows how to arrange a picture to tell a story and she has a strong command of color and pattern that celebrates her contagious optimism,” emphasizing, “All of this shows itself beautifully on the Mural painted in your hall.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students hard at work on the mural.

Three LOLMS eighth grade students read their poems related to the Witness Stones project in Old Lyme, in which houses where enslaved people were kept in town have been identified by engraved stones placed in front of them. The students were Maggie Thuma, Thomas Kelly and Anne-Marie Hinkley.

Thelma Halloran, who is the LOLMS art teacher also spoke during the ceremony. She had collaborated with Oyola-Blumenthal on many parts of the mural project. She explained how she had become involved with, “a new group in Old Lyme created by the Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus of The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.”

This group, which became PARJE, was created more than a year ago in response to tragic events in the news like the death of George Floyd. Halloran said, “David wanted to remind everyone in Old Lyme that the town has a history of welcoming people – all kinds of people.”

She then listed some of those who had been welcomed into the town mentioning four refugee families from Laos, a refugee family from Rwanda, and another from Syria. She also recalled a family from the Congo, who lived in a refugee house bought by the Congregational church and families from Pakistan, Guatemala, Burma, and South Africa. In addition, she mentioned a family, whose home was destroyed by a hurricane in Puerto Rico, who also found a home in Old Lyme.  

No space was left unpainted as the mural takes form.

Halloran noted, “This history of hospitality to all who come to Old Lyme has evolved through time. It has not always been perfect. This is why there is a continued effort to strive to be a better community, including in our schools.”

She continued, “Let the message of this mural continue to be a reminder of the values we share in the town of Old Lyme, and as a community in our schools. Make the message of this mural come to life in your words and your actions with everyone you encounter, not just student to student, not just student to teacher, and not just the new faces you see.”

Urging the students to, “continue to show your kindness” to everyone in school including such people as custodians, security guards, secretaries, and paraprofessionals, she then told them also to, “Show your kindness to the student, who looks like you, but doesn’t think like you.” explaining firmly, “This is what we mean when we say welcome.” 

The intensity given to the project is clear on the faces of the students.

Halloran concluded by quoting the words of the 2021 US Presidential Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman, who said evocatively,
“The new dawn balloons as we free it.
For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to see the video NBC TV posted about the event.

Registration Open for ‘Tour de Lyme’ 2022, Event Now Scheduled for June 5

And away they go … the 8th annual Tour de Lyme will take place Sunday, June 5.

LYME — After a two-year hiatus caused by COVID, the eighth annual Tour de Lyme is happening again on Sunday, June 5. This is a change to the original May date announced in order to support the local farmer, who leases the Ashlawn Farm fields. This change will enable the fields, where cars are parked for the Tour de Lyme, to be hayed prior to the event.

For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone – riders, sponsorsand volunteers – will enjoy a post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, beer and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the always popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead. There will also be Tour de Lyme shirts for sale.

For complete information and online registration, visit

Ready to ride!

It is not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying length and degree of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE, the name says it all, is 60 miles – a real workout;
  • The CLASSIC, shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge;
  • The VALLEY Rides  pleasant easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY  at just 8 miles designed for riding with children.

There are also two mountain bike options;

  • the RIDER’S TEST a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts
  • a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by The Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Connecticut. During those years, the Lyme rural community has shown that a small population can have a big impact and protect more than 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise – open to all.

Money raised from the Tour de Lyme will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the Land Trust preserves while protecting and maintaining what has already been conserved for generations to come.

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – registration and donations are tax deductible.

Gardening Tips for April from ‘The English Lady,’ a ‘Month of Activity’

Dandelions are one of the prettier weeds to announce the arrival of spring. But do not forget that the young foliage of dandelions is great in salads,  and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach! Photo by Viridi Green on Unsplash.

Those April showers that come our way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
And when it’s raining, let’s not forget,
It isn’t raining rain at all, its raining violets

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

April is the month of activity in the garden, and our old nemesis, weeds are beginning to rear their heads, so we need to extract the little devils before they take hold and are difficult to remove.

Having said that, I must point out the benefits of many weeds. Nettles are food for butterflies, clover extracts nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil, and oil from jewel weed soothes poison ivy rash. The young foliage of dandelions is great in salads, healthy and containing many nutrients, and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach.  I also do not want to forget our songbirds and other wildlife, who depend on weed seeds as a food source.

Weed removal – weeds must be pulled gently so the weed and roots do not break apart for, if this happens, thousands of weed seeds will reseed and you will find yourself with an endless cycle of unnecessary weeding. When careful weeding has been accomplished, apply an organic weed pre-emergent, with a corn gluten base by Bradfield organics. This will keep weeds at bay for about six weeks.

Plant bare root roses at the end of April. Photo by Bailey Chenevey on Unsplash.


Plant bare root roses at the end of April and container roses in mid-May.

Then in the middle of May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees, add manure with a fine bark mulch about one foot from the base of the rose. Check my March tips to refresh yourself on pruning roses.

Be careful clearing winter debris from around rhododendrons, mountain laurel and azaleas; these evergreens have shallow roots and you do not want the roots being exposed.

If the winter weather did indeed erode soil around some roots, add a few inches of soil to cover the exposed roots and at the same time resettle the plant in place. Then in the middle of May apply manure and fine bark mulch as well as some peat, which adds much needed acidity to evergreens.

Plant gladioli corms at two-week intervals in late April. Planting in two week intervals ensures you will get a succession of bloom. Plant the corms eight inches down; this extra depth helps keep the heavy blooms erect.

The Red Lily beetle will soon begin to appear, therefore I suggest applying organic Neem oil on the Lilies when they are about four inches above ground, which helps prevent and deal with the beetle problem.


This is an effective way to control many soil- borne problems, specifically the tomato blight that causes fruit rot. Covering the soil with clear plastic at the end of April, for one to two months can generate high enough temperatures in the top six to 12 inches of soil to kill pests, nematodes, weed seeds and many disease organisms like the tomato blight.

This process has proved invaluable for home gardeners and the beneficial effects last for several seasons.

To solarize, dig a trench several inches deep around the bed, and spread a thin, clear plastic film (1-4 mils) over the bed.  Press the plastic into close contact with the soil and seal the edges by filling the trench with soil.  Leave the plastic on the soil until you are ready to plant tomatoes or other vegetables in about a month to six weeks.

When the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, manure all the borders with composted manure in bags from the garden center or aged manure from the bottom of the farmer’s pile and mulch with a fine brown hardwood mulch.

In the vegetable garden, after preparation and planting, and when it is time to mulch, do so with manure which will not ‘cap’ — this means that it does not form a crust like other mulches so that air and water can get through to the roots of the plants where it is needed.      

If you did not apply an organic grub control on the grass in March, apply now to keep the grubs down and cut down on the mole population.    

The soil is the most important component of the growing business; compost, organic manure and peat amend the soil to rebuild its structure. The ratio to use is one part compost to three parts manure and apply peat to the planting mix in the ratio of one part peat to three parts manure when planting evergreens. And as mentioned above, peat adds the acidity which evergreens need.

Good soil structure is extremely important in the garden. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Good soil structure assists with drainage, prevents compaction, and the rich nutrients that is the result as these amendments break down and encourage the soil animals beneath the surface to work at full capacity.

In a light soil such as sand, humus — which is the combination of manure — mulch and carbon from the atmosphere bind the sand particles together and, in heavy soil such as clay, keep the clay particles separate to make room for air and drainage.  

Growing conditions in April are very favorable for new plant-root development and it is the ideal time to transplant evergreen shrubs and new evergreens. Put the organic manure and peat with the topsoil in the planting hole in the ratios. Then give the roots a workout before planting to release them. In this way, the roots are opened up and will reach into the surrounding soil for nutrients and water. Also, they will not dry out in the heat of summer.    

Many years ago, when I moved into my farmhouse on the shoreline, I discovered that my soil was sandy, which is good for drainage but sadly lacking in nutrients. I began adding a few inches of manure to all planted borders in April, July and October and today when I put a spade in the ground to check the color of the soil in spring, it is ‘black gold.’  

Gloves should be worn using manure which contains bacteria. The bacteria is great for the plants and the soil but not good for your health.  These products tend to be slow acting; gradually making the nutrients available to the plant and the rewards are infinite.

Organic fertilizers like manure are applied in spring around mid May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees and when the plant has about six inches of growth; this allows for the nutrients to become active at the time when plant growth is happening quickly. 

A beautiful spring sight is always, ‘A host of golden daffodils.’ Photo by Sarah Mitchell-Baker on Unsplash.

Daffodils are blooming and what a lovely sight to see. When the daffodil bloom has past, do not cut the leaves from any of your spring flowering bulbs, the leaves send down energy into the bulbs to store for next season’s bloom. 

April is the time to tackle a new lawn or patch seed, use only good quality seed and organic fertilizers.   

Do not be lulled into complacency with a few back-to-back warm days; we can still get a frost and I caution you not to plant annuals until Memorial weekend. 

Do not cultivate around the perennials in the borders until mid May.

Do not panic if you were not able to get the April tasks done until May — your garden will wait for you and the constancy that is Mother Nature will continue to keep your patch of earth flourishing. 

Enjoy the pleasure of being outdoors in warmer temperatures, inhaling the pungency of awakening soil and experience the connection with Mother Nature. Do not overdo it; warm up the body before the garden labor and stay well hydrated with lots of water. We are inexorably entwined with the earth and know that even the smallest gesture of a garden has positive rewards and the effects are positive not only on you but our planet. 

I will return with more gardening tips in May when you are out in the garden in force.

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.

A la Carte: Gingerbread Cake is Super for Sharing

Lee White

What a weekend!

The weather was gorgeous so I thought I would go to Lowe’s and get some flowers to plant in my tiny front yard and some flowering plants to place where my bird feeders help my feathered friends during the fall, winters and early spring.

But Monday morning at 4:30 a.m., as I drove my daughter to catch her plane back to sunny California, I had to use the windshield wipers get rid of the thin ice that had formed overnight. Those flowering plants will wait for a few more weeks. 

But her long weekend with me was positively glorious.

We had a Passover seder at Lisa and Eric’s house Friday night (only three of our seven were Jewish, but that’s more than most Jewish quorum). I’d ordered six-pound flat brisket at Scott’s in East Lyme. I put into the slow cooker, slathered it with seasoned caramelized onions, mushrooms and garlic and cooked it for 8 hours, then reduced the juice into a fragrant gravy.

I also made a very chocolate flourless cake. Jacques made superb latkes (yes, I know, latkes are for Hanukkah, but everyday can be Hanukkah with those yummy latkes), while Lisa made matzo ball soup and sweet carrots, and Paula and Reza made salad and roasted vegetables.

And there was wine.

On Easter Sunday, Darcy and I had a late brunch at the Oyster Club in Mystic. We ate more than a dozen oysters (raw and Rockefeller, the latter perhaps the best I’d ever had, even better than those at Antoine’s in New Orleans where the recipe was born) and shared my Bolognese and her sautéed scallops, plus a caramelized orange sorbet.

Needless to say, I have many kitty bags in the fridge, but I hungered for more something sweet (but not too sweet), so I made this gingerbread cake that I will probably share with friends over the next week. 

Classic Gingerbread Cake
From Cook’s Illustrated (January/February 2011, page 24)

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash.

Three-quarters cup stout (they prefer Guinness)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup mild molasses
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch-square baking pan (a round one works well, too). I use Pam all the time now when baking.

Bring stout to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously). When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pepper together in large bowl; set aside.

Transfer stout mixture to large bowl. Whisk in eggs, oil and grated ginger until combined. Whisk stout mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

Bake until top of cake is just firm to touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack, about 1 ½  hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

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 the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at

Lyme-Old Lyme Boy’s Lacrosse Roundup: Cox Consistently Top Scorer for Wildcats

Nick Cox (#12) is currently the Wildcats leading scorer for this 2022 season.

LYME/OLD LYME — The Old Lyme boys’ lacrosse team experienced a slow start to the season but has now rallied with two wins in a row, defeating both Cromwell and Old Saybrook.

The Wildcats’ record in the Shoreline Conference currently stands at 2-3, and 2-5 in the season overall.

Nick Cox of Old Lyme has been the leading scorer in all the team’s games to date.

Here is a roundup of the team’s recent results:

April 21: Old Lyme Defeats Cromwell 12-6

Top scorer for the Wildcats in this a Shoreline Conference game was Nick Cox with six goals and one assist. Sam Mullaney and Mason Bussman scored two goals apiece, while Macklin Cushman and Brodie Lippincott scored one each.

April 19:
Old Lyme Secures Win Over Old Saybrook 14-8

Top scorer for the Wildcats was Nick Cox with seven goals and two assists. Sam Mullaney scored four goals and Mason Bussman added two. Liam Grethel notched one.

April 12:
Valley Defeats Old Lyme 10-7

Top scorer for the Wildcats was Nick Cox with four goals and one assist. Sam Mullaney, Kian Kardestuncer and Brendan O’Brien made up the remainder of the scoring with one goal each.

April 2:
St. Joe’s Takes Victory Over Old Lyme 17-5

Top scorer for the Wildcats was Nick Cox with two goals, while Sam Mullaney and Liam Celic each scored one.

April 25 COVID-19 Update: Nine New Cases in Old Lyme Take Cumulative Total to 1099, One New Case in Lyme Raises Town’s Total to 271

Photo by CDC on Unsplash,

LYME/OLD LYME — The Daily Data Report issued Monday, April 25, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) shows nine new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme and one in Lyme.

This case raises Old Lyme’s cumulative case total to 1099 and Lyme’s to 271.

April 5, 2022 was the most recent day on which no new cases were reported in either town.

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

Prior to April 5, the most recent 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.

Statewide Situation – Daily Update

The state’s COVID-19 Daily Positivity Rate fell to 7.81% on April 25, from 8.09% on April 22.

Yesterday’s rate of 7.81% was the state’s highest recorded COVID-19 Daily Positivity Rate since Feb. 1, 2022 when the Rate stood at 8.68%.

On April 22, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations decreased by nine to 179 from 188 on April 22.

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

Of those hospitalized on April 22, the number not fully vaccinated was 47 (representing 26.6%).

The total number of COVID-related deaths in Connecticut held at 10,834 on April 25, for the second day in a row according to The New York Times.

The next Daily Data Report will be issued by CT DPH Tuesday, April 26, around 4 p.m.

Statewide Situation – Weekly Update

This map, updated April 21, 2022 shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme are now in the Red (highest) Zone. One hundred ad eight towns (representing a total of 63.9% of the state) are now found 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.

On Thursday, April 21, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) released its latest weekly COVID-19 Alert Map (pictured above), which indicates that 108 municipalities are now in the Red (highest of four) Zone for case rates. These towns in the Red Zone include both Lyme and Old Lyme.

This number has increased by 54 from the 54 towns recorded in the Red Zone last week, thus doubling the number of towns in the Red Zone.

Although this total of Red Zone towns reflects a dramatic increase over last week’s number, it still shows a reduction in the number of Red Zone towns since  Jan. 27, when the total was 168 out of 169 towns.

This April 21 total of 108 towns in the Red Zone means more than half of the towns in the state are now in the Red Zone. The number of 108 is equivalent to 63.9% of towns in the state, which are in the Red Zone.

As of April 21, 2022 eight out of the nine towns in the Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) are in the Red Zone, with North Stonington being in the Orange (second highest) Zone.

East Lyme, Groton, Lyme, Old Lyme, Waterford, New London, Ledyard and Stonington are all in the Red Zone.

No towns are in the Yellow (second from lowest) or Gray (lowest) Zones.

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, April 28 — the map is updated weekly on Thursdays.

The color-coded zones 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

Increase in Cases in Lyme & Old Lyme Since August 2021

The cumulative total of confirmed cases for Old Lyme has now increased by 656 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 727 new cases there since that date.

Meanwhile, Lyme’s cumulative total on Aug. 26 was 114 indicating 157 new cases have also been confirmed there during the same period.

Ledge Light Health District Update

The LLHD is no longer issuing weekly updates unless there is, “any significant change in case rates, hospitalizations, etc.”

On April 14, LLHD sent this press release issued by CT DPH the same day. It begins: With the current uptick of COVID-19 cases—coupled with the upcoming schedule of spring holidays and family gatherings—the Connecticut Department of Public Health is reminding residents of the tools currently in place to help contain the spread of the virus. 

The new Community Levels tool created by the CDC can be viewed at this link:

Ledge Light Health District 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

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

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

The following link provides centralized access to Connecticut COVID data:

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 April 1 email 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:”

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

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

Two New Shows on View at Lyme Art Association

‘The Bar at Rracis’ by Wende Caporale in pastel is one of the featured works in the Hudson Valley Art Association’s 89th Annual National Exhibition.

OLD LYME — Two new shows are on view at the Lyme Art Association (LAA) through June 2, 2022 at the LAA building located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

‘Murmuration’ by Michael Lynch in watercolor is one of the signature works in the ‘Expanding Visions’ show.

Expanding Visions is the LAA’s annual member show that showcases the varied artistic visions of the association’s membership. All types of artwork will be celebrated: hyper-realism, impressionism, abstraction, and non-representational styles.

The exhibit will be juried by Robert Pillsbury, former president of the Salmagundi Club of New York. The show runs from April 15 .

Concurrent with Expanding Visions, the Hudson Valley Art Association (HVAA) will present its 89th Annual National Juried Exhibition. This exhibition includes the finest representational paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from HVAA’s member artists.

“We are looking forward to these two strong and exciting shows,” says Lyme Art Association’s Executive Director, Laurie Pavlos, adding, “We are very pleased to welcome back HVAA and display what is sure to be a very impressive show.”

She explains, “The HVAA has been coming back for years: they love our beautiful gallery space and our visitors love their impressive and varied works. They always have a great deal of beautiful sculpture which looks fabulous in the gallery.”

She added, “Our Expanding Visions show continues the excitement into the rest of the gallery. The wide range of styles shown side by side in this exhibit makes this a very energetic show and provides something for every art lover.”

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

The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within the national historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on exhibits, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, visit or call (860) 434-7802.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Name Allison Hine as New Principal of Lyme School

The new principal of Lyme Consolidated School is Allison Hine.

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools is pleased to announce that Allison Hine has been named principal of Lyme Consolidated School and will begin her position July 1, 2022.

Hine, a resident of Old Lyme, is currently the principal of Brownstone Intermediate School in Portland, Conn. She replaces Jim Cavalieri, who is retiring after 44 years in education, 20 of those as principal of Lyme Consolidated School.

Hine has more than 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher and administrator. In addition to her work at Brownstone Intermediate School, she has served as the assistant principal and as social studies curriculum coordinator for the Stonington (CT) Public Schools.

She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher for the Old Saybrook Schools.

Hine has previously served on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education and has been an active volunteer with Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau and numerous other community organizations.

“We are pleased to have Mrs. Hine join us in her new role as Principal of Lyme Consolidated School. Mrs. Hine’s dedication and passion for our schools stood out during the interview process. Her extensive elementary school experience will allow her to continue to support the strong programming at Lyme School,” commented Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

The selection process began in February and yielded more than 40 applicants. A selection committee comprised of over 25 people conducted several rounds of interviews as well as a site visit.

A community forum and survey were also conducted as part of the selection process. Teachers, staff members, parents, and community members were asked to rank the characteristics of a leader they deemed most important, as well as provide responses to a series of questions.

Lyme-Old Lyme MS Principal Ambruso Named CT Middle School Principal of the Year

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Principal Mark Ambruso has been named Connecticut’s MS Principal of the Year.

OLD LYME — Mark Ambruso, principal of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, has been named the 2022 Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year.

Nominated by numerous colleagues, Ambruso is known for his leadership and authenticity. He is credited for fostering a positive, safe and fun middle school environment for all students.

Mark Ambruso

“Mark develops strong relationships with every student in our building,” says Renee Molnar, a guidance counselor at the school. “He goes out of his way to get to know something about everyone he meets. He makes you feel welcome and cared for and you leave any interaction with him feeling energized and motivated.”

Sponsored annually by the Connecticut Association of Schools and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the recognition is designed to spotlight the achievements of individual school leaders and at the same time increase public awareness of the critical role that principals play in the education of our youth.

The program honors those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, a passion for educational excellence, a commitment to their students and staff, and service to their communities.

Ambruso joined Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in July of 2017 from Windham Technical High School where he was principal. Ambruso previously served as the principal, and before that the assistant principal, at Bacon Academy and as a science teacher and coach at Norwich Free Academy.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award. This would not be possible without the collective commitment and exemplary efforts of my colleague and Assistant Principal, Noah Ventola, and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s faculty and staff.  Most importantly, I’d like to thank our wonderful families and amazing students.

The success of our middle school and district is a testament to the support and direction of our Superintendent, Central Office, and Board of Education. I’d like to also thank my wife and children for supporting me and sharing in my career.”

Editor’s Note: We send hearty congratulations to Mark on gaining this well-deserved honor.

Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the Lyme, Old Lyme Boards of Selectmen:- Actions of Rogers Lake Authority Spark Concern, Anger

An Open Letter to the Select-persons of Lyme and Old Lyme:

I am writing to make you aware of an immediate concern with the Rogers Lake Authority [RLA] and how they are handling recent events, especially the disrespect they showed to our community at the special Rogers Lake Authority meeting at the Old Lyme Town Hall on Tuesday, April 19th.

To give you a brief history regarding this matter, I held my monthly Rogers Lake West Shores Association [RLWSA] meeting on Monday, March 7th. It was after this meeting that I learned about the Rogers Lake Authority’s new ordinance proposal for the “No Wake Zone.” I learned that not only had they been “discussing” this ordinance for 3 years, but they already submitted and obtained the necessary permit from DEEP. Also, two of the RLA Board members are part of the RLWSA with me.

The RLWSA, as well as the other associations on Rogers Lake, were never notified of this ordinance proposal. It was at this time that I sent out an immediate text to anyone I knew in the community that this ordinance would affect. Within less than 48 hours, we had upwards of 67 community members attend the RLA regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 9th. RLA Board member, Mark Hastings, was acting chair while Dennis Overfield was on vacation, who called into the meeting via cell phone.

As the March 9th minutes state, there were many questions from upset community members who wanted answers as to why, how and when this ordinance came about. The Board was unable to provide any evidence or data that supported a reason for this extreme action. One of many concerns that was discussed was the safety risk this “No Wake Zone” will actually cause.  Congestion at each end of the lake will increase traffic back-up and possible dropped skiers will be at risk to name a few. Never mind the weed growth that would increase within the areas of the “No Wake Zones” and erosion of property which would decrease the value of lakefront homes. It was at that meeting where the community was told the DEEP permit was already obtained and we would have been made aware of the buoys, which were set to be put in this Spring, in their upcoming newsletter.

During that March 9th meeting, I informed the Board that I had been in touch with our attorney who stated the Board was out of compliance and what they were about to do was against policy. From my understanding, all ordinance changes cannot be made without a formal town committee vote from both Lyme and Old Lyme.

From this point, the RLA attempted to provide a “summary” of their actions by submitting an April 2022 letter to the town websites in which they changed the original footage measurements based on Google Earth as well as how they intended the use of the buoys. They changed the wording of where boats can pass, and they increased the no wake zones for jet skis. On top of the written summary, the Board secretly attempted to change their usually scheduled April meeting to Friday, March 25th, only to cancel and change their meeting to April 13th. However, they canceled once again and re-scheduled their meeting to Tuesday, April 19th at the Town Hall – conveniently during school vacation.

From their April 2022 summary, to changing meetings and locations, and to the April 19th Town Hall meeting, it is very clear this RLA Board is not in the best interest of the tax payer community or the health of Rogers Lake.  The RLA chair, Dennis Overfield, took an authoritative approach by starting the meeting with yelling at the crowd to be quiet, stating public comment will be at the end of their full agenda and that they will not be answering any questions. Then Mr. Overfield proceeded to carry on his meeting with his back to the entire public, which was an upward of 80 people.

After drawing out his long agenda for over an hour, the Board conveniently left out the “No Wake Zone” ordinance draft stating they “did not have the time to update it before the meeting.” But instead, the public learned of new ordinances that were being drawn up including a 40mph speed limit and a possible vessel size limit. At the very end of the meeting, Mr. Overfield asked for a motion to adjourn with community members still providing input.

This behavior of the Board, and especially of Mr. Overfield, is unacceptable. The secretive, sneaky and deceptive actions are beyond unprofessional, and the community has lost all respect and trust for the appointed Rogers Lake Authority Board.


David Evers,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the president of Rogers Lake West Shores Association.

Registration Now Open for Variety of Summer Youth Programs at Lyme Academy

This summer, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts will offer a wide range of art programs for students aged 11 and older. Photo by Kayla Lilli.

OLD LYME — This summer, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts will offer a full schedule of summer art programs for students ages 11 and up. Storied landscapes coupled with in-studio instruction by acclaimed, professional artists will provide an exceptional opportunity for students to improve their artistic skills.

The three distinctive youth programs include a Pre-College and Middle School Academy, beginning in June, and Academic Summer Intensives beginning in July. Each program has been developed in alignment with the nationally recognized, specialized arts instruction offered at the Academy.

Registration is open now.

“We are offering a unique opportunity to acquire and hone the foundational skills that form the bedrock of artistic study for a lifetime”, says Jordan Sokol, Co-Artistic Director at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. “The curriculum has been designed so that new and budding artists can participate on an entry level.”

He continued, “At the same time, experienced young artists, who may be looking towards a long-term academic study of art, can grow their skills and confidence to participate in future serious and rigorous programs such as the CORE program offered at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.”

The Pre-College Academy for students ages 14-18 offers beginner- to advanced-level art instruction through a series of workshops designed to foster creativity, build artistic skills, and develop a clear personal point of view.

Each one-week session includes learning the fundamental principles of drawing, painting, and sculpture, while introducing contemporary perspectives and dialogues.

For students wishing to explore the diverse world of illustration, workshop offerings include Illustration Essentials and World-Building.

All Pre-College programs are taught by college faculty in the Academy’s state-of-the-art facilities. These courses are ideal for young artists developing their portfolios.

The Middle School Academy, or “Apprentice Program,” offers students ages 11-13 week-long workshops concentrating on a significant artist in history.

During the summer program, students look to Edgar Degas, Sandro Botticelli and Georgia O’Keeffe for inspiration, creating original works that reflect the qualities specific to each master. The Apprentice program is a fun, hands- on opportunity to work in a professional artist’s studio, while learning about iconic artists and art movements.

The weekly classes for the Pre-College and Middle School Academy will run June 20 through Aug. 17, and range in price from $325 to $650 per session.

The Academic Summer Intensive Program is available for students ages 14 and up, offering the option of Drawing from July 11th-29th and/or Painting from August 1st-17th.

The intensive program offers students an immersive studio experience focused on the foundations of drawing and painting in the academic tradition.

Students will utilize custom north-lit studios, where they will draw daily from direct observation of live models and plaster casts, utilizing a sequential, systematic progression designed to strengthen visual acuity and develop a strategic approach to interpreting the visual experience.

The first three-week session of the two-part workshop will focus on drawing as an introduction to both perceptual and conceptual modes of observation. Students will explore the fundamental properties of light, form, structure, proportion, and gesture.

In the optional, second three-week session, these methodologies are applied to oil painting.

Students will learn to employ a direct-painting method, with focused discussions about paint-handling and color-mixing. Students are encouraged to attend the drawing session as a foundation for the painting session.

Tuition is $2250 per workshop and $4000 if both workshops are attended.

In addition to summer programming, the Academy offers ongoing workshops and classes throughout the year designed to provide a solid, skills-based visual education to develop one’s portfolio and abilities under the leadership of professional artists.

To learn more and to register for any of the programs, visit

Learn more at

A la Carte: Ricotta Cheese Pie Makes a Luscious Dessert for any Easter … or Passover!

Editor’s Note: This is a column that our dear friend Lee White wrote for us in April 2016, that somehow we failed to publish (our apologies) — but the recipe is as good today as it was then!

Lee White

This will be an odd Easter weekend for me. On Good Friday, I will pick up my Newbury, Mass., daughter-in-law. Nancy and second-youngest granddaughter, then drive up to Kennebunkport Inn. 

It all began with an e-mail from the beautiful hotel in Maine. It is less expensive to spend a day or two there in the late fall, winter and early spring, but the advertisement said it would be even less so for March and April, with a special discount of 29 percent. Hmmm, it was time to visit my cousins from Portland (she breeder of corgis, he a retired AP reporter). Perhaps a Friday night dinner at Fore Street (one of the many in Portland) and a visit with cousins Adrienne and Jerry. So I called Nancy, and asked if it was time for a road trip. (Our last had been last year in Boston to see a Bette Midler concert and an overnight stay in a boutique hotel walking distance from the concert.) She was game and said, since it was a school holiday for Casey, could she come, too? What a treat I said. She is a high-school sophomore and great company.

I called the Kennebunkport Inn, doubting there would rooms available, but we got one big room with two double beds and a twin for Friday and Saturday. Not only that, I got a reservation for us at Fore Street on Friday night. (By the way, Nancy and daughter Casey are Greek; my cousins are Jewish, as am I, so Greek Easter is the next Sunday and Passover (which isn’t a Jewish Easter but is a spring kind-of festival) isn’t until the end of April.

In any case, I won’t be making Easter dinner for anyone and, hopefully, I will be invited to Greek Easter the following Sunday. Here is what I will make. It is a luscious dessert that everyone loves.

Ricotta Cheese Pie

Photo by Taisiia Shestopal on Unsplash.

For the filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
1 cup cream
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crust:
1 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar (no sugar if using cookie crumbs)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (or chocolate wafer cookie or vanilla wafer crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter, or spray with nonstick cooking spray, a 9-inch spring form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of heavy aluminum foil

To make the crust, in a bowl combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter (this can be done in the food processor). Press crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make the cheesecake filling, in your food processor or electric mixer, mix ricotta, cream and sugar until well blended and smooth. Beat in flour and salt; then add eggs, one at a time, processing or beating until incorporated. Finally, add vanilla extract and cinnamon on and process until incorporated. Pour into prepared crust and dust top with crumbs. Take care not to over-mix.

Bake about 50 to 60 minutes, or until cheesecake is set, yet moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the edges of the cheesecake will have some browning). Remove from water bath and cool in a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

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 the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Requests Trail-Walkers Pay Special Attention While Lords Meadow Construction is Ongoing

In the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is asking that visitors use only this parking area at 33-1 Lords Meadow when accessing the Lay-Allen Preserve or the McCulloch Family Open Space. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission owns a small parking area and connecting trail at 33-1 Lord’s Meadow that provides hiking access to the Old Lyme Land Trust’s Lay-Allen Preserve

Hikers interested in a longer walk can also access the McCulloch Family Open Space via this trail and the Land Trust Preserve.

There is active construction in the neighborhood underway on several nearby building lots.

The Open Space Commission asks that visitors only use the designated parking area in the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners. 

Visitors are also requested not to block the adjacent private driveway.

Anti-Lamont PAC Launched with $500K Donation From Former RTC Chair Kelsey of Old Lyme Reports Spending $300K, Second Donor Also Gave $500K

OLD LYME  — CT Truth PAC,  the independent-expenditure group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski with television and web ads attacking Gov. Ned Lamont, reported Sunday it has spent about $300,000 of the $1 million provided by two wealthy businessmen.

Formed in February with an initial contribution of $500,000 from David Kelsey of Old Lyme, the super PAC collected another $500,000 last month from Thomas E. McInerney of Westport, according to the campaign finance report filed Sunday with the State Elections Enforcement Commission …

Editor’s Note (i) Visit this link to read the full article by Mark Pazniokas titled, Two donors provided total of $1M to anti-Lamont PAC and published April 10, 2022 on

(ii) Visit this link to read our earlier article published Feb. 15, 2022 about the launch of CT Truth PAC.

“Star of Freedom” Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse

This lively scene from ‘Star of Freedom’ features (from left to right) actors Danny Adams, Ayla Stackhouse, Richard E. Waits, and Ben Hope. Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Steele.

IVORYTON — Last Thursday, April 7, a new musical written by Connecticut writers took the stage in Ivoryton, sparking laughter, cheers and a standing ovation.

Star of Freedom, with music and lyrics by Jeff Blaney and book by Lawrence Thelen, opened the Playhouse’s 2022 Season.

Based on Blaney’s concept album Exodus, Star of Freedom takes the audience on a journey with Sean and Chloe as they search for the meaning of home in 1860s America.

The two come from completely different worlds – one an Irish immigrant, the other an African-American slave – but when the Civil War forces their lives to intersect, they demonstrate what it means to be American during the 19th century.

At a time when America is struggling with its identity, it is worth looking back to another difficult time in history that ultimately led to a stronger and more unified nation. Though today, the flaws and scars that this history left behind are still visible, Star of Freedom offers a ray of hope through the lives of these two very different characters.

Star of Freedom is at times funny and whimsical, while at other times painfully sad, yet it never loses its focus as a love story in a time of strife.

Blaney’s intimate and refreshing score (played by the actors on stage) is steeped in Irish and Southern traditions, making it both contemporary and nostalgic at the same time; while Thelen’s book is timely and theatrical.

Conceived and directed by the Playhouse’s own Artistic Director, Jacqueline Hubbard, this world premiere musical features a strong line-up of actor/musicians, including Danny Adams as Sean, and Ayla Stackhouse as Chloe.

The nearly 30 other characters in the story are handled by Brian Michael Carey*, Luke Darnell*, Richard E. Waits * and Ben Hope,* who also musical directs. Karilyn Ashley Surratt joins the creative team as choreographer.

The show has sets and lights designed by Marcus Abbott; costumes by Elizabeth Saylor; and sound by Adam Jackson.

Star of Freedom runs through Sunday, May 1, 2022. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm; evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

There will be one Thursday matinee on April 7 at 2 p.m. and one Saturday matinee on April 9 at 2 p.m.

This season, the Playhouse is back to full capacity for the first time in two years, yet audience safety remains the primary concern. Masks are no longer required, though recommended, and patrons must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result for admittance. Knowing all audience members are COVID-free will provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $25 for students. Tickets go on sale beginning March 1 and are available online at or by calling the box office at 860.767.7318.

For information on group rates, call the box office.

For more information on the entire 2022 season, visit The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*Denotes a member of Actors Equity.

State Rep. Carney Announces Re-Election Bid for 23rd District That Includes Lyme, Old Lyme

Incumbent State Rep. Devin Carney (R) has announced he is seeking a fifth term in the 23rd District, which includes both Lyme and Old Lyme. Photo submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) has announced that he is running for re-election as State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. This is his fourth re-election bid, and if elected, it will be his fifth consecutive term in office.

Rep. Carney was first elected in 2014 and currently serves as Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee and  Ranking Member of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Education Committee, Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, and the House Republican Screening Committee.

In addition, he serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Future Caucus and Clean Energy Caucus and is an Assistant Republican Leader.

During his tenure, Rep. Carney has maintained a strong attendance record at the Capitol and has continued to be active in community events in all four towns of the 23rd District.

Rep. Carney has been commended for his accessibility, bipartisanship, and work ethic during his tenure as State Representative. In late 2021, he was one of only two legislators, nationally, to receive the Millennial Action Project’s Rising Star Award for his work trying to bridge political gaps and for his advocacy on issues important to younger generations.

“I’ve always worked hard to put the people of the 23rd District first – above special interests and party interests,” said Carney.

He continued, “To me, this is my responsibility as Representative. I am always honored to go to Hartford to be the voice of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook; and I take that job extremely seriously, especially at a time of uncertainty and concern in government.” 

Rep. Carney’s committee assignments have put him at the center of many important policy debates at the Capitol.

On the Transportation Committee, he has been integral in working to reduce the Connecticut gas tax, improve state bridges and roads, and to improve operations at the DMV.

On the Education Committee, Rep. Carney has fought forced regionalization and worked to ensure communities have local control over educational decisions. 

“Our local public schools are a source of pride for our communities and the state should not be able to dictate what we teach or how we teach it,” said Carney. “As long as I am State Representative, I will fight government overreach, forced regionalization, or any measures that will weaken the quality of our local schools.”

Serving on the Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, Rep. Carney has focused on growing our local economy and jobs, boosting business development, and stopping higher taxes.

“The COVID pandemic created so many issues for our local and state businesses and now it’s the time for the state to take a step back and allow them to grow,” Carney said.

He added, “We have to get people back to work and encouraged to train for jobs that are in-demand. In addition, Connecticut continues to remain unaffordable for many, and I will always oppose higher taxes on our seniors, families, and businesses. As Connecticut continues to come out of the fog of the pandemic, it is essential that government works to give people a break and not to expand its size and scope even further.”

In addition to his legislative work, Rep. Carney works locally in finance and volunteers for many local organizations. He serves on the board of trustees of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, and as board treasurer of Old Saybrook Senior Housing. 

He is a member of both the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club of Old Saybrook, which serves all four towns of the 23rd District.

He is a lector at Grace Church in Old Saybrook and a member of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

He was also recently named as a board member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators on the basis of his  environmental record.

He currently lives in Old Lyme but grew up in Old Saybrook, where he graduated from Old Saybrook Public Schools.

Rep. Carney has already qualified for Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program grant by collecting over 175 contributions and nearly $10,000. 

He commented, “I was thrilled to reach my fundraising goals quickly this campaign and am incredibly grateful to all of those who continue to have faith in me. As this session moves along, I will continue to be available to listen and to bring the people’s voice to Hartford.”

Rep. Carney concluded, “I look forward to visiting many constituents during my campaign to hear their needs and address their concerns. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the people of the 23rd District.” 

Editor’s Notes: i) For further information on Rep. Carney’s campaign, visit
ii) This article is based on a press release issued by Rep. Carney.

Lyme-Old Lyme Students Present Findings from Community Survey at Forum

These Lyme-Old Lyme students led the 2022 Community Forum, which presented the findings of the 2021 Community Survey.

LYME/OLD LYME — On March 29, results from the 2021 Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB)/Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) Youth Survey were discussed at a Community Forum at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

This survey was conducted in December 2021 with 662 students in 6th through 12th grade reporting on behaviors and trends related to alcohol, marijuana, vaping, other substances, and mental health.

Eight Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) High School students participated in a youth panel to offer parents and other community members an opportunity to learn directly from them what it is like to be a teenager in Lyme-Old Lyme.

Highlights from their well-spoken, direct dialogue with the audience included kids growing up much too fast in a time of easy access, reduced perception of harm of substances, perfectionism, being over-scheduled, and being inundated with social media platforms from a very young age.

The Youth Survey reported that alcohol is still the number one substance used by LOL students with average age of first use being reported at 14.0 years old. Lifetime and recent use trends of alcohol have reduced since 2019, but national trends advise that we should understand that a “COVID Effect” might be in play resulting from isolation and lock-down.

An alarming statistic shows that the number of students, who think drinking every day is harmful, decreased from 50.9 to 27.7 percent in just two years. Similar numbers were reported for binge drinking (five or more drinks at a time) and using marijuana one to two times per week. 

The panel of students offered some insight for this drop in perceived harm. 

One reason they provided is that during isolation kids turned to their phones and social media for entertainment and communication. They explained that Snap Chat, TikTok, and Instagram normalize drinking and drug use, and kids don’t actually realize the amount of danger they can be put in with substance use. 

Social media also supports a climate for bullying, social influencing, negative mental health and self-image. The Youth Panel reported feeling that kids aren’t ready for today’s social media in Middle School or younger. Panel members encouraged parents to educate themselves and think about their own choices for their young children when it comes to phones and social media.

Survey data revealed that the mental health of our youth has followed national trends and reduced over the past two years. 

Of the students surveyed, 70 percent reported feeling stressed, 60 percent reported feeling anxious, 28% reported feeling so sad over the past two weeks that it limited daily activity, and 21 percent reported thinking about suicide. The Youth Panel agreed with these numbers and strongly encouraged audience members to understand the challenges of growing up as a teenager right now.  

Teens are inundated with pressures, intense schedules, social media influences, and the connection with drugs and alcohol plays a definite role. The survey data shows that youth, who reported marijuana use, identify coping with stress and other challenges as a primary reason they use. 

The survey also showed that only 40-60 percent of students (grade-dependent) feel that their families have clear rules around alcohol and drugs. This is an important statistic because the October LOLPC Community Survey showed that 100% of participating parents reported clear rules around alcohol. 

This is an opportunity for parents to recognize the importance of early, consistent, and on-going conversations around drugs and alcohol. The Survey and Youth Panel identify parents as role models with parental disappointment being one of the main reasons kids choose not to drink or use drugs.

The panel reported that kids are watching their parents and how they deal with stress, cope with life around them, and how they role model substance use. One student said “That’s what we are going to absorb and see as normal. My advice is to keep talking and to do the kinds of things that are healthy and good because kids are watching.”

Marijuana use, perception of harm, and its connection to our kids’ mental health was also discussed at the Forum  

The survey data shows the average age of first use of marijuana in LOL is 14.1, and by 12th grade, 19 percent of students reported trying marijuana, but the Youth Panel felt that number was under-reported.  

They also shared that teens acknowledge drinking and driving is very dangerous, but that “smoking weed” and driving is something that “kids do all the time.” This is another area for us to keep discussing with our kids and each other, with recent adult-use cannabis legalization and its impact on our communities.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition is a DFC grant-funded community organization dedicated to prevention and supporting all youth and families. 

For more information about this survey, LOLPC campaigns and programs, or to become involved, visit or contact Alli Behnke, MSW at

Editor’s Note: Alli Behnke, MSW is the LYSB Prevention Coordinator.

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Grad Rows in Winning Oxford Boat at Famed UK ‘Boat Race’

Liam Corrigan (right) rowed for Oxford University in Sunday’s ‘Boat Race.’ This photo was taken during practice the day before. Oxford defeated Cambridge in the actual race, which was first rowed in 1829. Photo by B. Corrigan.

LONDON, ENGLAND/LYME/OLD LYME — The UK’s most prestigious rowing event known as ‘The Boat Race,’ was held on the River Thames this past Sunday, April 3.

The race, which features two teams, respectively from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, dates back to 1829 for the men’s event and 1927 for the women’s.

This year, Liam Corrigan, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) in 2014 and rowed for the US in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was in the bow of the winning Oxford eight boat.

The Oxford boat approaches Hammersmith Bridge on the River Thames while competing in Sunday’s Boat Race. The Cambridge boat in the foreground remained in second (last) place throughout the race.

View the race at this link beginning at 1 hour 50 minutes on the video.

His parents, Brian Corrigan and Joan Rivington of Lyme, were there on the banks of the Thames to witness their son’s success.

The men’s Boat Race on the Thames has been held annually since 1856, except during the First and Second World Wars (although unofficial races were held during that time.)

It was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2021 was held on the River Ely to reduce the crowds.

Liam rowed for both LOLHS and the Blood Street Sculls before going to Harvard University, where he was captain of the men’s team. He went on to be selected for the US Men’s Eight, which rowed in the Tokyo Olympics last year, taking fourth place.

It is noteworthy that Austin Hack of Old Lyme, a fellow LOLHS graduate — but from 2010 — was also selected for the same US Eight boat as Liam Corrigan at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Congratulations, Liam!

A la Carte: Spring is Here … Celebrate with Spring Minestrone

Lee White

I have spent the past few weeks with friends, first with the Oscars (yes, we all saw the slap and, with all the brilliant actors and crew from the amazing movie, CODA, they knew what Will Smith was saying. I myself don’t read lips, but I knew what he was saying.)

The following Friday, we watched UConn ladies in the Final Four.

On Sunday, I watched them alone.  Sigh.

I had also made two cakes, the one called Emergency Chocolate Cake because it is dairy-free and can usually be made easily with pantry and refrigerator staples. During the Friday game, we all made make-your-own ice cream sundaes with slices of the cake.

During half-times, we talked politics and food. Libby is cleaning up her gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens, while the rest of us talked about how lucky we are to get incredibly superb frozen vegetables.

And now that I don’t have a garden, I do have a big freezer and buy pounds of Whole Food and Trader Joe’s frozen sweet peas, corn, beans and broccoli (I am also buying the broccoli, plus cauliflower, from the produce aisles). 

Ingredients for the following recipe can all be found without driving almost an hour. And feel free to add other vegetables and change the ones you can’t find. I have been using fresh asparagus for some weeks. Is it fresh and local? Probably not, but they are lovely, the tips tight and the green stalks wonderful upright.

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner.

Spring Minestrone
From Real Simple, April, 2022

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only sliced into thin rounds
3 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 cups lower-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup ditalini pasta
4 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
4 ounces cups green Swish chard
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil plus small leaves for serving
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add leeks, celery, crushed red pepper (9if using), and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks soften, about 4 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Add pasta to pan. Return to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in beans during final 3 minutes of cook time. Remove from heat.

Stir in chard, basil, lemon juice and remaining 1 ¼ teaspoon salt. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Top with parmesan (if using) and small basil leaves.

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 along with the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at

Has the Pandemic Affected You or Your Business? Old Lyme Opens Applications for ARPA Grants to Businesses, Nonprofits, Town Entities

UPDATED 12:15pm — see changes in red: The Town of Old Lyme has formally announced two new ways for Old Lyme small businesses and nonprofits to seek American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Today the Town released two grant applications, in which organizations can either seek economic recovery or create community initiatives to address the negative impact of the pandemic.

The deadline for application submissions to either grant is May 2, 2022.

Applicants for the “Economic Recovery Grant” will submit information substantiating any pandemic-related economic losses between March 3, 2021 and April 1, 2022 per the restrictions of the Federal funding. The Economic Recovery application is for small businesses and for 501( c)-3 or 501( c)-19 nonprofit organizations located in Old Lyme.

The maximum amount granted under the Economic Recovery Grant will be $10,000.

A separate grant will be available for businesses and nonprofit organizations, who wish to apply for a “Community Initiative Grant.” This grant is for those organizations seeking funding for programs and initiatives that will help address the negative impact of the pandemic and create new transformative opportunities in Old Lyme.

Initiatives can address issues such as mental health, early childcare, infrastructure, and tourism & business patronage, among others. Funds must be expended and final reports submitted to the Town prior to Dec. 31, 2026.

The Community Initiative Grant is also open to Town of Old Lyme Government Boards, Commissions, and Departments with initiatives that meet the objectives of the funding.

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for both an Economic Recovery Grant and a Community Initiative Grant.

Outside of these two grants, all pandemic relief services for individuals and households will continue to be coordinated through the Town of Old Lyme Social Services Office.

Old Lyme residents who have suffered economic loss due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact the Town of Old Lyme Social Services Office at 860-434-1605 x228 or 

The Economic Recovery Grant applications will be assessed by an outside consultant, who has been hired to oversee the grant process. The consultant has provided a similar oversight process to other Connecticut towns including East Windsor and Somers. 

The Town’s ARPA Committee will finalize the recommendations for both grant categories and submit them to the Town’s Board of Selectmen for approval. The Town will share its grant decisions on its website. 

The two grant programs are just one aspect of the Town’s total spending of the $2.162 million received in ARPA funds. The remaining funds will be allocated to town projects in the coming months. The Town’s ARPA Committee will assess the total volume of requested small business and nonprofit grants before voting on the funding cap for each category.

“The results from last December’s community survey indicated that many Old Lyme organizations had been impacted financially by the pandemic,” said Thomas Gotowka, Chairperson of the Town’s ARPA Committee.

He continued, “We now want to identify those small businesses that were hit the hardest, and those organizations that re-directed their resources in order to help us get through the crisis; and assist them with funds from Old Lyme’s grant programs.”

The fillable-pdf applications are now available at

Printed applications are available at the reception desk in the Old Lyme Town Hall foyer entrance.

Applications can be submitted online, postal mailed, or brought to the Town’s secured lockbox via the instructions on the application.

A complete set of rules and regulations governing the funding can be found on the application.

For more information, contact