April 5, 2020

Lyme, Old Lyme Churches Offer Online Services for Palm Sunday

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and in order to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order requiring no public gatherings of more than five people, the churches in Lyme and Old Lyme are again planning online services for this Palm Sunday weekend.

Christ The King added a livestream version of their 5 p.m. mass last Saturday and will be continuing that practice going forward. Christ The King is also livestreaming daily masses at 12 p.m.

Details of this weekends services are as follows:

Christ The King Church:

To view the live stream of the 5 p.m. mass on Saturday, join a Zoom Meeting at:

Meeting ID: 223 857 915
Password: 634317

and for the 10:30 a.m. mass on Sunday, join a Zoom Meeting at:


Meeting ID: 225 302 077
Password: 364282

A new link for Daily Masses will be posted as soon as it’s available.

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme:

Here is the link for today’s Palm Sunday service. 
View an update from Senior Associate Minister Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager at this link.

First Congregational Church of Lyme:

Email Pastor Susan Olson at pastorsusanolson@gmail.com or Emily Bjornberg for the URL to view the Sunday, April 5 online service, which will also be streamed onto Facebook live at: https://www.facebook.com/lymechurchct

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church:

Online services are available at this link.

South Lyme Union Chapel:

Worship services are cancelled until further notice.


Griswold Says Four Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Old Lyme Now; One Lives in Florida But Used an Old Lyme Address

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold informed us this morning in a text message that there are now four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Old Lyme. They are a 64-year-old female, a 21-year-old female  a 27-year-old male and a 53-year-old female. The latter case listed is the most recently confirmed case, having been identified after Griswold had sent out his update yesterday to town residents stating there were three cases.

Griswold noted that the 21-year-old female 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.


Webinar This Morning Offers Info on Habitat Assessments for Landowners, Volunteers

Photo by Linda Waters.

LYME — Audubon Connecticut, the Town of Lyme, Lyme Land Trust,  and partners are offering an opportunity Saturday morning (April 4) for landowners (and volunteers) in the Lyme Forest Block to participate in a free forest habitat assessment.

Join a free webinar (hosted on Zoom) from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for an overview of the assessment process.

A forest habitat assessment is an inventory of songbird and forest habitat conditions. Audubon-trained volunteers conduct the assessment, and then the assessment and accompanying report become a resource for landowners who want to manage their woodlands with birds in mind.

Landowners are under no obligation to implement recommendations.

Visit this link for more information.

An RSVP is requested. For questions, more information, and to RSVP, contact Kelly Morgan at kelly.morgan@audubon.org or 860-234-7630.


Car Parade During Shutdown Demonstrates Strength of Student, Teacher Bonds at Lyme School

The “Teacher Parade” comprising 35 vehicles winds its way through the streets of Lyme.

LYME — Describing it as “one of the most heart-lifting events that I’ve ever been a part of,” Lyme Consolidated School music teacher Melissa Rostkoski explained that the inspiration for the 35-strong car parade that wound through the streets of Lyme on Tuesday afternoon lay in social media.

She had seen a video-clip of a motivational car parade being held “nowhere round here” shortly after Lyme-Old Lyme Schools were closed March 13 due to the COVID-19 crisis and it started her thinking about trying to do the same thing in Lyme.

Rostkoski said she shared the video with her colleague and friend, Lyme School’s Physical Education teacher Bonnie Ambruso, and together they rapidly agreed, “We should do this.”

From there, the two teachers set out to enlist broad parental and faculty support for the idea and gain all the necessary approvals from the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Police and Fire Departments. Rostkoski noted that after, “lots of back and forth,” a date was set and then the detailed planning really started.

Emily Reynolds, who has two girls at the school and also runs Lyme School’s Facebook page, was soon involved. She said, “I looked at all the Lyme School bus routes and developed a master route,” adding with a smile that it turned out to be an exercise that, “required a PhD in logistics!”

Another parent, Adam McEwen was soon on board and, in Reynolds’ words, “He tested the route,” and moreover, “… it worked!”

Stacey Leonardo, who is president of Lyme School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and also a Region 18 Board of Education member, joined the effort and Reynolds described how Leonardo, “Put her graphic designs skills to work and developed a flier which we posted to the Lyme PTO pages and shared to all room parents to disseminate to the families.”

Fourth grader Lillian Reynolds expressed one of her concerns regarding the current school closure situation!

Reynolds said that, at that point, the parade concept had “really created a movement within the town.”

A few days prior to the event, Reynolds said, “Old Lyme Fire Department member Jarrod Flagg, who has children at Lyme School, reached out and wanted to help coordinate fire department support.

The Lyme and Old Lyme Fire Departments then went to work, and got drivers and firetrucks ready for the event.” She noted, “Jarrod was really committed to making this a special event for the kids.”


Keeping things in the family, so as to speak, the Lyme firetruck driver was Lyme School alumnus Will Firgelewski, pictured above, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2005.

Finally, in the true spirit of community, the Old Lyme Resident Trooper contacted Rostkoski March 30 and said he too “wanted to be part of it” and would help take care of the safety aspects of the parade.

And so it came to pass that all the Lyme School teachers, Instructional Assistants and nurse, along with Principal Jim Cavalieri gathered in the Rogers Lake parking lot a little before 4 p.m. last Tuesday in preparation for the parade. The route had taken McEwen around a little over an hour when he tested it — this time it took more than twice that length of time.

The streets were filled — but always at a safe social distance — with children and parents holding wonderful, often amusing homemade signs, waving and cheering as the parade of cars filled with their teachers and support staff drove past.  In many cases, the cars were bedecked with balloons and the drivers regularly blew their horns.

Rostkoski said, “It made everyone incredibly happy.  There were definitely some tears.  It was very therapeutic for everyone. We wanted the kids to know that we miss them terribly and would much rather be in a building with them than driving by them.”

Reynolds added, “The turnout was extraordinary. The goal [of the parade] was really to remind all of these young people that even though we are all apart, the amazing teachers of Lyme School are here for them, care about them and will support them through this challenging time. It’s all about connection – we are wired to be connected and this parade achieved that; it made everyone feel part of this special community.”

Cavalieri commented, “My staff wanted to bring a little “normal” back into the students lives. Hopefully this was accomplished as we drove by the smiling faces of the students and parents. We wanted to give them hope during this time of uncertainty. All of the students want to be back in school with their teachers and friends. They just want life to be back to normal.”

Rostkoski was anxious to express her thanks to, “Everyone that made the parade flow so beautifully and kept it safe.”  Cavalieri similarly wanted to give, “A big thank you to the Lyme and Old Lyme Fire and Police for their support and guidance in making this parade so fabulous,” concluding, “We all want to be safe and remain healthy, but we all want to get back to what we do best … being in our classrooms and teaching the kids.”

Editor’s Note: We apologize that we do not know the names of all the students, teachers and parents in these photos. Please send us those details if you wish us to add them. And we received so many wonderful photos from the parade that, contrary to our normal policy of only publishing a limited number of photos with an article, we have published almost all of them!



Closures, Cancellations & Postponements in Lyme, Old Lyme, & Locally: Updated Friday

LYME & OLD LYME: Today, we have updated our summary of closures and cancellations in our local area related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have added new information in red.

Please email us at editor@lymeline.com with any additions or corrections.  Many thanks to all who have been updating us regularly done so already.

And PLEASE continue to stay safe and healthy, do not gather in groups of more than FIVE, practice social distancing at all times and keep washing those hands …


The Primary election scheduled for April 28, has been rescheduled to June 2, 2020. Absentee Ballot Applications already received by the Lyme and Old Lyme Town Clerks will be used for the new date. If you would like to request an absentee ballot for the Primary, click here, For more information on the Primary, visit the Town of Lyme website or the Town of Old Lyme website.


Old Lyme Town Hall: Closed to the public, but town hall will be staffed and offices reachable by phone and email. People who need to conduct face-to-face business with a department must call that department to discuss whether they can schedule an appointment. Full details at this link.

Lyme Town Hall: Closed to the public. Residents may contact Town Hall during normal business hours by phone at 860-434-7733 or the Board of Selectmen by email at AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com. Full details at this link.

Lymes’ Senior Center: Closed until further notice. The town nurse will still remain open at this site Monday to Friday 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Those normally eating lunch at the center will be able to order a lunch “to go” at the Estuary Senior Center in Old Saybrook by calling (860) 388-1611 before 11 a.m. the day before. Those wishing to use this service must go to the Estuary in Old Saybrook to pick it up. Full details at this link.


Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools:

  • All LOL Schools and the Central Office are closed until at least April 20. Staff members are still working and available by phone and email.
  • Breakfasts and lunches are being are being distributed FREE for all students attending LOL Schools regardless of their economic status. Pick up hours are from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in front of the high school. Anyone can pick up a meal provided he/she has the name(s) of the student for whom the meal is intended.
  • The LOL Schools Policy & Communications Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, at 6 p.m. will be held as planned. The public will be able to view this virtual meeting on the district’s website.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB): All LYSB programs are cancelled through at least April 20. Programs will be resumed when Lyme-Old Lyme Schools re-open. LYSB staff will be in touch regarding rescheduling and/or refunds when more information is available. Staff members are working on a modified schedule and are available by phone and email. Let them know if they can help your family during this time.

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center: Closed through April 20, when the situation will be re-assessed to see if the closure needs to continue.

Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Department: All Town of Old Lyme Recreation Facilities will be closed to all team/group use until further notice. These facilities include Town Woods Park, Hains Park and Cross Lane Park.


Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library: Closed to the public until further notice. Staff will continue to answer phone and email inquiries as they are able.  Complete contact information can be found here. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to make use of online collections (e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and more) found on the library website.

Lyme Public Library: Closed to the public until further notice. Library staff will report to work and do their best to help patrons via phone and email. Interlibrary loan service has been suspended due to the large number of libraries in CT that are closed. Digital services are available 24/7 for ebooks, audio books, tv shows, and movies. Library staff will try to assist you in setting up your accounts via phone if you are not already using these services.


Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries has closed all meal sites but maintained their food pantry pick-up service. No registration is required – groceries will be brought outside to client.



See this new listing of take-out options prepared by LYSB staff

Bee and Thistle Inn: Restaurant is closed temporarily until further notice, but is now offering take out, Wednesday-Sunday, 5 to 7:30 p.m. To place your order, call the inn at 860-434-1667. Bee & Thistle Inn staff will gladly bring your order to your car. As always, the safest and cleanest food preparation is being practiced.

Kokomo’s Restaurant & Beach Bar: Open for takeout and delivery options Sunday through Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call 860-390-6403 or visit http://ow.ly/HYHe50yO8Jx to place your order now and save 20%.

Old Lyme Inn restaurant & Side Door Jazz Club:Both closed until further notice.

The Hideaway: Now offering curb side take-out. Call 860-434-1455 and order. Staff will bring your take-out to your car.

Teddy’s Old Lyme Pizza Palace: Open for pick-up orders only. Use their online ordering system at teddysoldlymepizzapalace.com


Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association has cancelled all visits. Call Cindi Taylor at 860-876-0456 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. if you would like prescriptions picked up.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) Contact our regional health center currently by phone at 860-448-4882 and/or e-mail at kmagnussen@llhd.org


9 Town Transit is still running a regular service.  Ridership was normal last week but is down 50 percent this week. May require service to be reduced, but Demand Response will continue regardless.


Florence Griswold Museum: Closed to the public through at least April 30; all programs cancelled during this time.  The Garden Luncheon scheduled for early May has been cancelled.

Lyme Art Association (LAA): LAA galleries are now closed and all programs and events are postponed at least through the end of March. LAA administration are monitoring the situation and will reassess in coming weeks. Staff may be contacted by email, and intermittently by phone.

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts: Campus closed until further notice. Early April class offerings have been postponed with plans to offer them in the fall. Open drawing sessions postponed until the end of March. The Academy is not planning to cancel the classes beginning April 20 at this time, so enrollment is still open. It is also planned to reschedule the first lecture in the portrait series — new date will be posted as soon as it is available. Staff are working at home. If you have any questions, contact stacey@lymeacademy.edu or kimberly@lymeacademy.edu or call  860.434.5232. Egg’stravaganza’ scheduled for Sunday, April 5, has been cancelled.

Musical Masterworks: All concerts for the remainder of the season are cancelled.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds: The studio and indoor facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. However, individuals are still welcome to stroll the grounds, enjoy nature and view the public artwork outdoors at the Sculpture Grounds, so long as you practice social distancing and other infection reduction strategies as outlined by the CDC. Sculptor Gil Boro has always encouraged visitors to touch and engage with the artwork, however, at this time, he asks that you refrain from all physical contact with the sculptures.


Christ The King Church: All Masses are temporarily suspended in terms of in-person attendance. The 5 p.m. mass on Saturdays and the 10:30 a.m. mass on Sundays are being live-streamed — details for accessing the link are on the church website. Faith Formation classes at Christ the King Church are canceled until further notice. 

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme: Sunday worship services are cancelled until further notice. A service is recorded each week and then posted online each Sunday morning and also disseminated through the church website, Facebook page and email.

First Congregational Church of Lyme:  Email Pastor Susan Olson at pastorsusanolson@gmail.com or Emily Bjornberg for the URL to view the Sunday, April 5 online service, which will also be streamed onto Facebook live at: https://www.facebook.com/lymechurchct

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church: Worship services are cancelled and will be resumed Sunday, May 17. Online services are available at this link.

South Lyme Union Chapel: Worship services are cancelled until further notice.


Annual CROP Hunger Walk: The walk, which raises money for the Shoreline Food Pantries, scheduled for  Good Friday, April 10,  has been postponed.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.: All activities suspended until further notice. The Big Barn Bash scheduled for June 13 has also been postponed.

Duck River Garden Club:  A decision on whether to hold the program scheduled for April 28 at Old Lyme Town Hall will be made nearer the time.

Lyme Land Trust: All planned events through April 30 are cancelled. The Tour de Lyme has been postponed until Sunday, Sept. 13.

Potapaug Audubon: All programs cancelled until further notice.

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC): Center on Halls Road is closed and staff are working from home as RTPEC transitions to a virtual center. Children’s education programs are also suspended, but teacher naturalists are in communication with schools to implement virtual backyard nature programs for children and families. Outdoor field trips are cancelled for the time being; however, they will begin them again as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, if you follow RTPEC on social media, look for their interactive, fun and educational opportunities for all ages.

The Bowerbird: Now offering free curbside pick-up. Phone in your order or order online through their website, selecting “In-Store Pickup” at checkout. Leave a note for curbside pick-up in the comments.

Vitality Spa: Closed temporarily until further notice.


Further afield in the local region:

Connecticut River Museum: Closed until at least April 12. Staff still working either at home or in the museum. RiverFare scheduled for June 4 is postponed. Full details at this link.

Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra: All upcoming events cancelled through April 30. Instrumental Competition (March 14) rescheduled in the summer or early fall. “Spring Strings” (March 28) concert at the Garde Arts Center tentatively postponed to May 23.

Essex Winter Series: April 26 concert cancelled.

Ivoryton Playhouse: Forbidden Broadway Comes to Ivoryton and The Great Gatsby have been cancelled. Tickets still on sale for later shows in the season.

Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “The Kate”: All performances through April 30 are postponed.

Madison Lyric Stage: Double-bill of Suor Angelica and Erwartung, originally scheduled to take place in late March and early April, has been rescheduled and will now take place June 4-14. For more information, visit madisonlyricstage.org or call 203-215-6329.

Mystic Seaport: Closed through at least March 31.

SECWAC (Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council): All programs cancelled.


Red Cross Holds Blood Drive Today in Old Lyme, Appointments Required; Critical Blood Shortage Exists Due to COVID-19 Crisis

OLD LYME  –  04/02: UPDATED INFORMATION FROM THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. Kelly Isenor, External Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in Connecticut, told us yesterday afternoon that she believes they, “are still trying to add a few more appointments to Old Lyme.” So if you are thinking about donating blood today but do not not have an appointment, we recommend going down to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme anyway to find out what the latest situation is. Thank you in advance!

Isenor had responded Tuesday evening to several questions we had sent her previously. She apologized for the delay but said she had been inundated with inquiries.

She told us:

  1. “We are working to add staff and secure additional appointment slots for the blood drive in Old Lyme.
  2. We are not taking walk-ins [for the Old Lyme Blood Drive.] Appointments are necessary due to the enhanced safety protocols now in place, including the pre-screening of donors before they are allowed into the donation room.

  3. The Old Lyme Drive was moved [from the Town Hall to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme] to accommodate the additional space needed to ensure proper spacing between donor beds, as well as donor chairs in the waiting and refreshment areas.

An American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held Thursday, April 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. 

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. 

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. To date, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80 percent of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type.

Here in the Connecticut Region, 46 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 1,299 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give. 

Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need

The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

“In our experience, the American public comes together to support those in need during times of shortage and that support is needed now more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Unfortunately, when people stop donating blood, it forces doctors to make hard choices about patient care, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.” 

The Red Cross is committed to blood drive safety

“We know that people want to help, but they may be hesitant to visit a blood drive during this time. We want to assure the public that blood donation is a safe process, and we have put additional precautions in place at our blood drives and donation centers to protect all who come out,” said Hrouda.

The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including: 

  • Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
  • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
  • Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:

  • Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor.
  • Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas.
  • Using sterile collection sets for every donation. 
  • Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide. 

“Volunteer donors are the unsung heroes for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions. If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give, please schedule an appointment to give now,” added Hrouda. 

Blood donation process

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Editor’s Note: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center Launches Fundraising Effort to Overcome Closure Challenges During COVID-19 Crisis

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center on Lyme Street has launched a fundraiser to help with all its expenses while it is closed during the Coronavirus pandemic.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center (OLCLC) on Lyme St. has announced a fundraising effort to enable it to keep its doors open after the COVID-19 crisis has dissipated.

Due to the recent outbreak of the virus, the OLCLC, which was founded more than 30 years ago by the late and much beloved Connie Pike, was obliged to close for the safety of its families and staff. In line with public schools in Connecticut, it will not reopen until April 20 at the earliest.

Kristen St. Germain, who serves as president of the OLCLC Board of Directors explained the challenges that the organization is facing to LymeLine in an email, saying, “The OLCLC is a non-profit organization and solely funded by tuition and fundraising, Being closed for this amount of time and keeping our staff on payroll and maintaining our monthly expenses could put us out of business within six months.”

The aim of the GoFundMe effort is to ensure that a safe and nurturing environment will be available once more for these children and all the others who attend the Center when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

St. Germain added, “We don’t have a reserve of cash due to our non-profit status and have worked so hard to keep Connie Pike’s legacy going. Connie worked tirelessly to keep this Center around for over 30 years and we are hoping to do the same.” She noted, “We also don’t want to lose our staff at the end of this and have children return to faces they don’t recognize. Some of our staff have been around a long time and we are hoping to keep it that way.”

Putting a personal spin on the situation, St. Germain noted, “The Center helped raise my own three children and many of the teachers’ children in Region 18. We hope it is there to support them all for 30 more!”

The board and staff have opened a GoFundMe page at this link in order to raise money to support the OLCLC and allow it to continue to serve the children and their families in the local area.


Lymes’ Senior Center Offers Free, Temporary Membership to ALL Lyme, Old Lyme Residents: Membership Includes Virtual Exercise Classes

Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould. (File photo)

LYME/OLD LYME — In a welcome and positive response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould, has announced today that the Center is now offering free, temporary membership to all residents of Lyme and Old Lyme — not just those 55 and over.

She explains, “This membership would allow you to participate in all of our virtual programs. Currently, we are offering many yoga classes and other exercise classes on Zoom and Youtube, and we will be adding beginner and intermediate country line dancing classes and a Pilates class next week as well.”

Gould notes, “Coronavirus has changed our regular life quite significantly and many of the daily activities that we took for granted can no longer happen for the time being,” adding, “To that end, the Center has begun virtual exercise classes and group get-togethers to help us cope with the isolation we all feel.”

This offer of temporary, free membership to all residents will extend through the duration of the self-isolation period effort and in Gould’s words, is an attempt “to make a difference to all of our neighbors.”  As a member, you will also receive a weekly email with information about the Center’s virtual programs, boredom busters, and the Corona Virus.

If you are interested in a free membership, email seniorcenter@oldlyme-ct.gov with your details.


Old Lyme Announces First Confirmed Case of COVID-19

OLD LYME — Updated 3/31: We learned today from First Selectman Griswold that the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme is a female, aged 64.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold announced in a statement published at 11 a.m. Sunday (March 29) morning that, “Old Lyme now has our first confirmed case of a resident who has tested positive for COVID-19,” adding, “We will keep this individual and their family in our thoughts and wish them a full recovery.”

The statement continues, “As this disease has spread rapidly across the state, it is not surprising that our community has been affected as well. This news is not cause for panic. Continue to wash your hands with soap often, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, stay home and limit outside travel, and remember to call and check on your neighbors and loved ones.”

Griswold emphasizes, “The best thing we can do at this juncture is to continue to pull together as a town. If you exhibit any of the signs of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) please be sure to call your doctor right away. Isolate yourself within your home, away from other family members, if possible. If you need to call for emergency services, make sure to let them know the symptoms you are experiencing so they can use personal protective equipment upon arrival.”

Concluding, “We realize that this news is unsettling,” Griswold notes, “We are working on creating a list of mental health resources that will be available on our website for those who need help coping with stress, anxiety, and/or panic. We are keeping all information about COVID-19 on our website. You can also sign up for text alerts by texting OLCOVID19 to 888-777. We will continue communicating updates as we move through these uncharted waters. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Ledge Light Health District.”


Reading Uncertainly:  ‘Life Undercover’ by Amaryllis Fox

A lyrical memoir of an unusual woman’s life, in Washington, London, Moscow, London and finally Washington again, minus her father. Then on to the CIA, described in amazing detail, and her life afterwards as an agent around the world.

Fox’s language is engaging, plus her almost-total recall of conversations.  A compelling read, but it raises two questions: (1) How was she able to obtain the permission of her employer, the CIA, to describe in such detail her solicitation, training, and her actual work? And (2) do the details in her conversations make this almost a fictional novel?

It is as if she is being seduced by some opiate, “I feel the high of not just observing the world but actually changing it.”

At the outset she believes that “terrorism is a psychological game of escalation” practiced by all of us.” When she first goes to China undercover, she remarks “This is my first time living the lie around the clock. The years of deception yawn ahead, like an ink-black void.” It is as if the Cheshire Cat is asking her, “Who are YOU?”

Her stories provoked my own memories.

Her father, reporting on a visit to Moscow told her that his only hardship, “was the Soviet toilet paper.” How true! When I traveled with a small group to Yaroslavl, many miles north of Moscow, we were advised to bring our own. What was on offer was minuscule. Later, Fox herself  walked Red Square, stopping at Lenin’s tomb, noting that “Lenin seems smaller … petite and fragile … He looks weak and human and beautiful.” I had that same impression in 1992 on my own transit of the Square.

Later she explains to a friend her rationale for her secret work, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” That prompted my neurons to recall the famous haiku reported by Dogen Zenji when he asked the monk Tenzo why he was drying mushrooms on a steaming hot day. Tenzo replied:

If not I, then who
Dries mushrooms in the hot sun?
If not now, then when?

This is perhaps the best reward from one’s reading: the stimulation of buried memories!

The author, now a writer and exponent of peacemaking, continues her work in a different direction. She now asks “why?” continually. She suggests that, “planting a garden is the ultimate act of faith in tomorrow,” a thought worth remembering.

And finally, “ … peacemaking requires listening, that vulnerability is a component of strength … and building trust simply works better than exerting force.”

Hear! Hear!

Editor’s Note (i): We second Felix’s vote of support for Fox’s final statement.

(ii) ‘Life Undercover’ by Amaryllis Fox was published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2019.

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


Talking Transportation: Memoirs of Metro-North Conductor

Jim Cameron

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work for the railroad?

That’s what Paul Holland did for 39 years, first with Amtrak, later with Conrail and finally as a conductor on Metro-North.  His self-published “My Life As A Rear End” pays tribute to his time in cabooses, but it’s his commuter rail stories that kept me laughing.

Like the colorful crowd from the psychiatric hospital on the Harlem line who’d escape, often in their pajamas, and ride his trains, obviously unable to pay.  Or the many times he was assaulted by knife-wielding thugs only to be rescued by his 6 ft. 7 in. cross-dressing frequent rider, “Rocky”.

Over the years Holland collected his stories, often scribbling them on seat-checks. Upon his retirement it took him less than a year to pen his “memoirs”, many of which are far too racy to mention in this column.  Let’s just say that the diminutive conductor was very popular with the ladies.  It must have been the uniform.

Because he truly loved his job, and had three kids bound for college, Holland worked six or seven days a week.  Railroad conductors can work split shifts of up to 16 hours a day, and with his overtime, Holland averaged about 80 hours a week.

Some passengers would ask him the stupidest questions, like the riders who would congregate in the front car for a fast exit at Grand Central.  A common query: why can’t you add more cars to the front of the train?

Occasionally, Holland would work the last train to depart Grand Central, the 1 a.m. train making all local stops to New Haven, affectionately known as “The Vomit Comet”.  It was a quiet run, though getting inebriated passengers off at their correct stop was always a challenge.

He also tells the story of the German tourist who had parked his friend’s borrowed car at a remote station, returning late at night to find it had been stripped of all four wheels.  He thought it was the local cops penalizing him for parking without a permit.

Enforcing the rules in ‘The Quiet Car’ was a thankless job, like the time a passenger kevtched about another rider eating a smelly egg salad sandwich.  Not a violation, ruled Holland.

Or the passenger angry about the woman in ‘The Quiet Car’ talking, albeit quietly, on her cellphone.  “Tell her to shut the F up,” said the vigilante.  As Holland approached the woman, he heard her say, “Have a blessed Easter” before hanging up.  Holland returned to the complainant and said, “She’s a nun, but I’ll relay your message.”  As he turned to approach the woman again, the now-penitent passenger raced after him to say, “Never mind”.  Holland said, “He must have gone to Catholic school.”

Holland insists all his stories are true.  “I have witnesses,” he told me.

Retired and living in New Milford, Holland obviously misses his job and his passengers, some of whom he still keeps in touch with.  He says that over the years passengers have changed.  “These days they don’t seem to show any respect (for authority), especially the kids.”

As “the face of the railroad” Holland says he never minded facing angry passengers, upset about delays.  “I just always told them the truth and treated them the way I’d want to be treated.”

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


Register Now for ‘Race Against Hunger Virtual 5K’ to Benefit Connecticut Food Bank

WALLINGFORD/OLD LYME/LYME — Connecticut Food Bank and JB Sports are teaming up to host a virtual 5K to help feed Connecticut residents struggling with hunger during this critical time. The Race Against Hunger Virtual 5K will run from April 13 through April 19 and is presented by Stop & Shop.

Event proceeds will help Connecticut Food Bank as it faces increased operational costs to source, transport, and distribute food. In recent weeks, demand for food across Connecticut Food Bank’s network of 600 partners and programs has grown due to job losses and to increased need to have food on hand to sustain households that may need to shelter in place for extended periods.

Race Against Hunger is a virtual event perfectly suited for a time when people are encouraged to avoid crowded public settings. Participants can register and run or walk at any time between April 13 and April 19 at a location of their choosing. Participants complete their run or walk and send in their results and the event coordinator will compile a results database. 

Participants of Race Against Hunger may register any time before April 19 and run at any point between April 13 and April 19. JB Sports and Connecticut Food Bank ask participants to follow current health recommendations and avoid running or walking closer than six feet from anyone during their virtual run or walk.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented economic challenges for our communities,” said Beverly Catchpole, Senior Director of Development for Connecticut Food Bank. “We invite people to join our virtual 5K and help us continue to meet the growing need among our neighbors.”

Race Against Hunger is organized by Connecticut Food Bank and JB Sports.

“As we try to navigate through the challenges that coronavirus has brought to our lives, it is more important now than ever that we work together to help our neighbors whose lives have been impacted,” said Rudy DiPietro, Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations at Stop & Shop. “We are proud to be teaming up with Connecticut Food Bank in the Race Against Hunger to ensure all of our neighbors have access to food and nourishment.”

JB Sports, one of the top event management companies in Connecticut, also coordinates the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race and PLR Shamrock & Roll 5K.

Race Against Hunger is presented by Stop & Shop, with additional support from Webster Bank, Prudential, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, IRIS, Barrett Outdoor Communications, 99.1PLR, Star 99.9, WEBE 108, WICC 600, 95.9 The FOX and 94.3 WYBC.

To learn more about Race Against Hunger, visit www.jbsports.com or email kaitlin@jbsports.com

Editor’s Notes:
i) Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger, and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors, and volunteers to distribute nutritious food to people in need. The Connecticut Food Bank distributes food through a network of 600 partners and programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham counties – where nearly 270,000 people struggle with hunger. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank distributed food to help provide 22.5 million meals. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram

ii) A neighborhood grocer for more than 100 years, today’s Stop & Shop is refreshed, reenergized and inspired, delivering new conveniences for customers. Committed to helping its communities enjoy better food and better lives, Stop & Shop has a longstanding history of giving back to the neighborhoods it serves with a focus on fighting hunger and helping children to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA Company and employs nearly 60,000 associates and operates over 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. To learn more about Stop & Shop, visit www.stopandshop.com


Griswold Asks People Coming to Old Lyme From ‘Possibly COVID-19 Infected Areas’ to Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

Old Lyme First Selectman  Tim Griswold.

OLD LYME — In his March 27 COVID-19 update to all residents, Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold says, “Over the past week we have received questions about summer residents returning early and out of town visitors who possibly have come from COVID-19 infected areas.”

He continues, “In response, we issued a statement on our website asking these residents and visitors to please voluntarily quarantine themselves along with other traveling family members. Ideally, the quarantine period would be 14 days and people should closely monitor their health.”

Griswold stresses, “During this time of emergency, it is even more important that we all be good neighbors to halt the spread of this disease within our community.”

The statement to which Griswold refers states, “Take your temperature two times a day and watch for symptoms.  If you feel sick and have symptoms call ahead to a doctor’s office or emergency room or clinic. Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.”

Visit this page on LymeLine, Lyme, Old Lyme Leaders, Emergency Services Urge Residents, Visitors to ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’, for more advice from our towns on how to stay safe during this pandemic.


Old Lyme Board of Finance Denies Lyme Academy’s $15K Budget Request, Seeks More Info

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center, which comprises part of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The France Foundation now rents 40,000 s.f in the buidling.

OLD LYME — At its regular meeting this past Tuesday (March 24), Old Lyme’s Board of Finance considered a budget request for $15,000 from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The meeting was held in the town hall but most board members called into the meeting, along with member of the press and public, to avoid the dangers of convening in person and spreading the coronavirus.

It soon became clear that board members were facing a problem in determining whether to approve the request because there was minimal supporting information explaining why the Academy needed the funds and how they were going to use them.

Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell noted that the only documents received by the board were a Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statement for the Academy, each for a nine-month period. He mentioned that these showed total assets and endowments at $8.6 million with $1.8 million potentially owed to the University of New Haven (UNH).

Finance Director Nicole Stajduhar noted the Academy’s endowment was listed at $7.4 million of which only $1 milion is unrestricted and that, “The $1.8 million note [to UNH] is still there.” although Russell had commented, “There is an idea it may be forgiven if the property is sold outright.” Stajduhar also highlighted that it appeared the Academy’s $800,000 mortgage had been paid off, though it was not clear by whom.

Board member Bennett (BJ) Bernblum opened discussion of the request saying, “There are lots of questions in my view. These numbers don’t show an entity in dire trouble,” and concluding, “I personally am reluctant to make an award at this point.” He added, however, that he would be willing “to reserve the right” to allocate some monies to the Academy at a later date if more information were presented.

Alternate member Judith Read agreed with Bernblum, saying, “There’s not enough information to justify handing out a $15,000 grant to them.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold was more conciliatory towards the Academy reminding the board the institution was no longer a college and its revenue would consequently be impacted by that situation. He noted the Academy was engaged in an ongoing process of developing a strategic plan, which was,”really a road map going forward,” and commented, “The burn rate through their funds must be extensive.”

Griswold mentioned that the Academy had leased part of its property to The France Foundation, but the Academy’s ability to enter into any further leases was restricted by Old Lyme’s Zoning Regulations, which require the Academy only to lease to educational institutions. He also pointed out that the Academy, like other non-profits, “May need an indication of our support,” in order to apply successfully for grants and other funds, but he conceded, “I guess we need to await something more concrete,” from the Academy in terms of supporting information for the request.

Board member Janet Sturges said she had met with Lyme Academy Interim Director Frank Burns and in the interview, he had conveyed, “Lots of promise … lots of hope,” causing Russell to remind the board, “They’re asking for $15,000. We could give them less.”

Bernblum followed up, saying, “One of the concerns is whether they’re staying in business,” but added, “I think it’s politically wrong to deny them. I would rather postpone.”

That compromise was well received but Stajduhar pointed out the board needed to award something at this point to be what Russell later described as “a placeholder.” Member David Kelsey proposed the board should award $1,000 to the Academy for the 2020-21 financial year and Russell emphasized, “There could be an additional amount,” if more information about the request were presented.

The motion was passed unanimously.




First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME — Lyme First Selectman Steve Mattson issued a statement at 2:10 p.m. today as follows:

The Connecticut Department of Public Health today confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 within the Town of Lyme.

The first thing I want to say, on behalf of the entire Lyme community, is that our thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery are with this individual, their family and their loved ones.

For the community at large, our main goal continues to be slowing the spread of the virus. The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued – everything from frequently washing your hands to eliminating all non-essential travel.

For the most up-to-date information on the state’s public health guidance and other resources, residents are encouraged to visit www.ct.gov/coronavirus. We need to take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice. These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.

The Town’s COVID-19 Response Team and our Emergency Management Department are continuing to follow the comprehensive emergency response plans we have developed, practiced and refined over many years.

Our first responders – our fire company, our volunteer ambulance service and our Emergency Management Department – are mobilized and ready.

Our volunteer coordination effort has begun in anticipation of furthering outreach to our most vulnerable residents.

We continue to communicate and work closely with the Ledge Light Health District, the State Department of Public Health, the Governor’s office and other state and local partners.

The Town website and Facebook page continue to be updated with the latest public health news and information.

All residents continue to be encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on our website’s home page to receive important public health updates by email.

Our emergency response team will be on the job until it’s over.

We will get through this, together.

Stay Safe. Stay at Home.


A View from My Porch: Keep Calm and Carry On

Original 1939 UK poster. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

The title of this essay is derived from a poster designed by the British government in the late 1930s to maintain morale when war against Germany became imminent. This essay roughly considers “a day in the life” of Southeastern Connecticut residents as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts each of us and our collective ability to “carry on” our lives as usual. I will present the key elements of this crisis, drawing from the wealth of real data that have become available, and define some of the terms used by our public health professionals so that you can better understand the basis for the required actions.

The Statistics: 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) reported on March 23 that there were 618 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state; with multiple cases in each of Connecticut’s eight counties. Fifty-four patients were hospitalized, and 12 residents have died. Over 60 percent of Connecticut cases are in Fairfield County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 50,000 cases and nearly 700 deaths across the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports over 415,000 cases and nearly 19,000 deaths worldwide. Note that these numbers change, and probably increase, daily. 

Excuse me in advance, but this isn’t our first rodeo; and we’ve successfully dealt with pandemics in the past. These include the HIV/AIDS crisis that began in the mid to late 1970s, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. 

Unfortunately, our response to COVID-19 was late and disorganized with mixed and confusing messages coming from the highest levels of the federal government. As a result, testing for the disease started late, supplies of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves for health care personnel became scarce, and were not replenished in a timely manner.  The same was true of essential hospital equipment like ventilators, which are the “breathing machines” used for treating patients in severe respiratory distress. 

And so, on March 10th, Connecticut Governor Lamont joined several governors in nearby states and declared both a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency. A public health emergency gives the state authority over quarantine, while a civil preparedness emergency grants the governor broad powers over state institutions, allowing him to restrict travel, close public schools, some businesses, and public buildings.

As a result, only “essential businesses”, which include: grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices, hospitals, childcare, auto repair, banks, and emergency services remain open. Restaurants may remain open, but for takeout and delivery only. Schools were closed on March 31, and there is some thought that they may remain closed through the end of the semester. Hospitals have changed visitation rules.

I will not list the “non-essential” businesses. Tele-commuting is encouraged when at all possible. These restrictions and closures have resulted in significant displacement of workers and unemployment has grown.  

Important Terminology: 

COVID-19 is a disease triggered by a coronavirus, which is a relatively common virus that can cause both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. 

In the past, most coronaviruses weren’t dangerous and caused only mild respiratory problems. However, in early 2020, following a late 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type of coronavirus. Officials named this new virus “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus2 “(SARS-CoV-2)”. This highly contagious and virulent microorganism is the agent that causes COVID-19; which can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, septic shock, and death.

Older adults and any individual with a serious underlying medical condition are at higher risk for COVID-19’s more serious complications. The CDC notes that people may be most contagious when they are at their sickest. However, note that many cases are still mild to moderate and not life-threatening. These can be treated at home.

You may have also heard this virus referred to as “novel”, which, very simply, refers to a virus that has not been seen before, or has never infected humans before. As such, it’s unlikely that anyone will have immunity, or antibodies that protect them against the novel virus. 

Public health professionals stress the need to “flatten the curve” as a means of controlling this disease. The curve refers to the rate of growth of new cases displayed graphically (i.e., the projected number of new cases over a specific period of time). A “flattened” curve staggers the number of these new cases over a longer period, so that people have better access to care, and do not overburden the healthcare system. 


The virus is spread primarily from person-to-person, commonly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, saliva, or from some hard surfaces on which the virus may live for four or five days and remain infectious for even longer.


The best way to prevent this disease is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC still recommends social distancing to reduce the probability of contact between individuals carrying the infection with others who are not infected. 

The goal is to minimize disease transmission, and its resultant morbidity, and ultimately, mortality. The minimum recommended measures include:

  • Allow six feet of interpersonal space, which means avoid crowded social activities, like going to pubs, bars, and restaurants, sporting events, theaters and cinemas.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently; use hand sanitizers.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Use the “usual” coughing and sneezing protocols.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

Testing is a good thing:

It is correct that testing does increase the number of individuals identified with the disease, but it also provides the data required to target resources and plan for future needs. Testing is now widely available. All acute care hospitals have the ability to test, although for those that utilize the DPH lab in Rocky Hill, testing is reserved for patients that have been admitted to the hospital.

There are also a number of outpatient testing sites that use private labs, and do not need to comply with the admission restriction. All sites require a physician’s order, who, at present, must make an appointment for the patient.

Critical and Immediate Issues:

This crisis will not end soon. Only one source predicts an end by April 12, which is Easter Sunday in the United States. Most experts agree that an end date is difficult to predict, but 60 days is feasible.

There is currently no vaccine or “miracle” drug specifically targeting COVID-19 — no antiviral drugs are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients with COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and collaborators are working on development of candidate drugs for rapid testing and evaluating re-use of drugs approved for other diseases. Current treatments often focus on protecting against opportunistic infections and alleviating symptoms while the disease “runs its course.”

We do not yet know what the recurrence rate is for patients, who have recovered from COVID-19. 

Americans have never really faced the rationing of healthcare services. It is clear, however, that we must plan for a possible surge of critically ill patients and identify additional space in which to provide care. Unfortunately, it may be possible that our medical professionals will need to make decisions regarding assignment of scarce resources like ventilators. 

I am confident that the United States will allocate resources to support our citizens and small businesses that face economic hardships as we move through this crisis. 

Make certain that you know the source of the information about this disease. The most reliable data comes from Connecticut DPH, Ledge Light Health District, and the CDC. 

Finally, God save the United States if we ever reach the point when we have to value a life lost in this pandemic less than a life lost in an economic downturn (whatever that is.)


Lyme, Old Lyme Leaders, Emergency Services Urge Residents, Visitors to ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’

LYME/OLD LYME — The boards of selectmen of both Lyme and Old Lyme and their respective Emergency Management Services are urging ALL RESIDENTS OF LYME AND OLD LYME AND ALL VISITORS TO OUR TOWNS to follow the guidelines from both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Connecticut.

The Lyme Board of Selectmen state in their most recent Public Health Update, “The main public health goal going forward continues to be slowing the spread of the virus.  The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued. ”

They continue, “We must all take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice.  These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.”

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge spoke to LymeLine by phone yesterday and had the same message, saying, “People must follow the CDC Guidelines and practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, and stay home whenever possible, especially when you feel unwell.”  He added that people should cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or  elbow when they cough or sneeze and not touch eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.

The consistent advice from both towns is, in the words of the Governor, “Stay Safe, Stay Home.”



Town of Lyme Closes Public Library, Transfer Station, Hamburg Recycling Center, Town Garage; All Employees To Work from Home

Lyme Public Library is now closed  until further notice in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

LYME — Following the March 21, Governor’s order requiring all non-essential activities to cease, the Town of Lyme is taking the additional steps listed below in an effort to further reduce the exposure of residents and employees to the COVID-19 virus.  Municipalities are considered an essential service and the Town plans to continue operations where possible, though sometimes at a reduced level.

As of yesterday, Tuesday, March 24:

    • The Lyme Public Library will close until further notice. Please follow the Library’s website at www.lymepl.org for instructions regarding the availability of online access to books and other information.
    • All Town Hall employees will be instructed to work from home. Employees will be limited to a few hours each week at the Town Hall to maintain their department’s operations and address any required activities that may be received by U.S. mail. Such visits will be coordinated to assure only one employee is present in the building at any one time. Each department will monitor their emails and do their best to assist residents when possible. The email addresses of the major Town departments can be found on the website at www.townlyme.org/town-departments.
    • The Town’s Transfer Station will close and disposal of landfill materials will not be possible until further notice.
    • The Hamburg Recycling Center will close and recycling will not be possible until further notice.  Residents will either need to hang onto their recyclables for disposal at a future date or dispose of them as household garbage – that is, via their trash service with Jansky Rubbish who will be remaining open and servicing the town.
    • Town Boards and Commissions are instructed to hold any essential meetings via conference call only and encouraged to delay any business that is not mandatory. The Governor’s orders have approved such meetings, provided agendas are published on the Town’s website and provisions are made for interested residents to participate via phone. More information regarding the procedures to be used will be forthcoming and posted on the Town’s website when finalized.
    • The Public Works Department will operate on a reduced schedule and will respond to emergencies only. The Town Garage will be closed.
      Summarizing the situation in light of actions taken previously:
    • Lyme’s first responders – the fire company, ambulance service and Emergency Management Department – have prepared and are on standby should their services be needed.
    • The Town has developed a list of vulnerable community residents, who will be contacted and followed up with on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure that all residents have the support they require. Should an individual resident enter into isolation and wish to be included on this list, email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide your name, street address, email address and phone number so that they can be included.
    • A volunteer list has been developed for Lyme residents interested in helping to make follow-up calls to the Town’s vulnerable citizens, and provide additional help that may become needed in the community. If interested in volunteering, email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide your name, address, phone number and, if relevant, any specific skills you can offer..

Seidner Announces New Fund to Help Most Vulnerable Residents in Lyme, Old Lyme; All Donations up to $10K to be Matched by Benchmark Wealth Management

Benchmark Wealth Management partners Thomas J. Britt (center, left) and Richard W. Stout III stand with Executive Assistant Aileen Deutermann (left) and Operations Assistant Heather Moore. Benchmark is offering to match all donations to the newly-formed Lyme-Old Lyme Coronavirus Relief Fund up to a total of $10,000. Photo submitted.

LYME-OLD LYME – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new charitable fund has been established to provide financial support to the most vulnerable residents of Lyme and Old Lyme.  The Lyme-Old Lyme Coronavirus Relief Fund will be managed by the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), in partnership with the Social Services Departments of the two towns.  Early donations have already been put to good use helping vulnerable citizens in both communities with essential needs such as groceries, fuel, diapers and assistance with rent.

Shortly after the fund was established, Benchmark Wealth Management announced it would match all donations on a one-to-one basis up to a total of $10,000.  Asked by email why Benchmark had decided to make such a generous donation, Rick Stout responded, “Tom [Britt] and I live in Old Lyme and have raised our families in the Lyme-Old Lyme community.  Doing good is a tenet of our business philosophy.”  Stout and Britt are the partners of the company.

Stout continued, “Current events will impact everyone, so where and when we can help, Benchmark is committed to doing so,” noting, “Additionally, we are actively supporting area businesses and nonprofits and their employees personally.  Small businesses and their employees, nonprofits, the self-employed and everyone working in the gig or tip-dependent economy is facing great uncertainty.”

He concluded, “Benchmark hopes to spur donations by those who are in a position to do so with our donation and challenge.”

All donations are tax deductible and can be made online at www.lysb.org/covid19.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Director Mary Seidner comments, “Our communities are working together in unprecedented ways, and it is the hope that this fund will support our vulnerable residents on a path toward stability and recovery.”

Donors or residents with questions are encouraged to contact Seidner at mseidner@lysb.org or 860-434-7208.

Editor’s Note: Benchmark Wealth Management is located at 83 Halls Rd., Ste. 201, PO Box 525, Old Lyme CT 06371. For further information, call 860-434-6890.


Town of Old Lyme Launches ‘Stay Informed’ Program, a ‘One-Stop Information Shop’ for Residents (Roberge)

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge. (File photo)

OLD LYME — Updated 2:30pm Old Lyme Emergency Director David Roberge took time out of his hectic schedule yesterday to tell us about the “Stay Informed” campaign launched by the Town in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the program, in Roberge’s words, is to be, “a one-stop shop for persons looking for information from the Town,” during this challenging period.

He noted that in order to opt in for free text alerts regarding Emergency Notifications and Safety Communications from the Town of Old Lyme, readers should text OLCOVID19 to 888-777. Roberge said, “After signing up, you’ll receive daily text information from us.”

Roberge also mentioned that the Covid-19 Information from Old Lyme Emergency Management page of the Town’s website is where you can find all the supporting information related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The page offers numerous links on the left hand side to external websites or webpages including the State of Connecticut, Town of Old Lyme, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), Ledge Light Health District, lists of where to obtain take-out meals locally, and how both to get and give help regardless of whether you are an individual or a business. These links all help people answer questions related to their specific needs and basically fall into five categories as follows:

  • Health: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Commodities: where to obtain/purchase food, meals, products, etc.
  • Transportation: how to travel to and from places
  • Small business: how to request help locally and/or from the state
  • Pet problems: finding a veterinarian, seeking assistance

Roberge explained, “Old Lyme has formed a Task Force with members from the Town, LYSB, Social Services, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, and numerous local non-profits. The whole effort is being approached collectively and communicated via multiple platforms including websites, social media, and printed materials.” He noted, “All the information is being updated as frequently as possible.”

Roberge also recommended that all residents should sign up to receive Official Town E-Alerts if they have not already done so, pointing out that “It’s the easiest way for the Town to communicate with its residents any time — not just in Corona time!”

Stressing, “There are links on the Town website to “Get Help or Give Help” with buttons saying ‘I want to help’ and ‘I’m in need of help,‘ Roberge said,”Anyone should feel they can use these buttons to give or request assistance. We’re doing our very best to help everyone, including the business community.”

His final advice to residents was, “Remember to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and minimize contact with others.” He urged residents to read the information from the State of Connecticut on Covid-19 and follow their recommendations. He ended by echoing Gov. Lamont’s words, “Stay safe! Stay home!”

Editor’s Note: LymeLine.com is proud to be a partner in these efforts and is providing daily updates of Closures & Cancellations as well as all the latest community news. Please keep us updated by emailing editor@lymeline.com with any changes to your business or organization’s situation.