November 24, 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Moves Temporarily to Full Remote Schedule Today Due to COVID Cases

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser. (File photo)

Reopening Depends on Results After Protocols Completed

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser announced Monday in an email to faculty, staff, students and parents that on Tuesday, Nov. 24, “Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) will temporarily move to a full remote learning model.  All other schools will remain open for full in person learning.”

Neviaser stated, “This comes as a result of a report of one positive case and one suspected case of COVID-19 at LOLHS.”

He explained that, “Due to the timing of our receipt of this report, we cannot complete our contact tracing before school is scheduled to open tomorrow,” adding, “Once we have completed that protocol, we will determine when we can return to full in person learning at LOLHS.”

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Duck River Garden Club Presents Program This Evening on ‘Backyard Native Gardening for Monarchs, Pollinators’

OLD LYME — See how scientist Fatima Matos has transformed her backyard to a butterfly haven by planting native pollinator plants in a virtual program hosted by the Duck River Garden Club (DRGC) via Zoom tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The event kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. virtual social followed by the program at 7 p.m. and concluding with an 8 p.m. business meeting for DRGC members only.

All are welcome to attend the first two segments of the program, including the free educational presentation.

A retired Pfizer research scientist, Matos now considers her garden to be her own natural laboratory, home to beneficial insects, butterflies and birds.

Her colorful presentation chronicles her ongoing discovery of “real nature up-close in my own back yard,” including how she raises Monarch butterflies indoors and outdoors, plus the importance of plant diversity. She also offers examples of what to grow for a multi-season buffet of native magnet plants with a high “buzzing factor” for pollinators.

Email DRGC Club President Karen Geisler at karengr007@gmail.com to obtain the Zoom link.

Visit www.oldlymeduckrivergc.org for more information. Like/Follow DRGC on Facebook.

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King to Stay as Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme Football Team Coach, Resignation Request Rescinded by Region #4

AREAWIDE — Region #4, which comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex, has rescinded its request for football coach and gym teacher Tom King to submit his resignation.

A joint statement issued just before 7 p.m. Monday evening and signed by both King and Region #4 Superintendent Brian J. White says, “As the Superintendent and Head Football Coach, we recognize that during the time of the Covid19 pandemic our communities and schools have put in place measures as recommended by the Department of Public Health to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community members.”

It continues, “Through discussion, we have come to an understanding about the extent of the coach’s involvement in an independent team of Region 4 football players. Coach King does understand as a role model, the concerns about community perception regarding his involvement with this team.”

The statement then notes, “We both understand and accept that as educators and professionals we have a special responsibility to our students, staff and community during a pandemic and that we must place safety above all else. It is in this spirit, that the request for Coach King to resign from the position of head football coach has been rescinded.”

In conclusion, the statement looks to the future, saying, “Moving forward we will collaborate to provide the ongoing leadership necessary to support our students, staff and communities and the importance of the values of respect, kindness and concern for each other. We are committed to working together to build a bridge within our
community in a manner that serves the best interest of Valley Regional High School and the towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement did not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neviaser said by email on Sunday, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that had prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submitted he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement. King has been head football coach at Valley Regional High School since 1997/

A petition started by the captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox on change.org, requesting that King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School garnered 2,885 signatures.

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Death of Donald W. OConnell Announced, Graduate of Old Lyme High School

Donald W. OConnell, 70, of Monroe Twp., Pa. passed away Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Twp., Pa.

Born in Lyme, Conn., he was the son of Walter and Eleanor Smith OConnell. He was a graduate of Old Lyme High School and received his bachelor’s degree from Mitchell College of New London, Conn.

For most of his life he resided in Connecticut before relocating to Monroe Twp., Pa. …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Nov. 21 in The Citizens’ Voice.

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Region 4 Asks Valley-Old Lyme Co-op Football Coach to Resign

Action from a Warriors game against Old Saybrook played on the Lyme-Old Lyme Varsity Field in 2016. File photo,

AREAWIDE — The press and social media are currently swirling with articles*, opinion pieces* and comments relating to the requested resignation of the extremely popular Valley Regional High School (VRHS) football coach and gym teacher Tim King by the Region #4 Superintendent Brian White.

Region 4 comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex; each of the three towns operates their own elementary schools.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement does not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neiaser said by email, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submits he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement.

Neviaser noted in his email, “Region #18 has no involvement in any independent sports programs that are not a part of our annual budget.”

The captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox started a petition on change.org, requesting that Tim King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School. As at 12 a.m., Nov. 23, more than 2,760 people had signed the petition.

Editor’s Note: *Articles and opinions referenced for this article include:
Three local teams to compete in 11-on-11 Independent Football League by Ned Griffen, published Oct. 23, by The Day.

Players, parents upset that Valley/Old Lyme coach King being forced to resign by Ned Griffen, published Nov. 21, by The Day.

Coach asked to resign for involvement in independent football league by Sean Patrick Bowley, published Nov. 21, in the New Haven Register.

Tim King has the community — and the truth — on his side by Mike DiMauro, published Nov. 23, by The Day.

Valley Regional high school coach asked to resign by school district for involvement in independent football league formed during the pandemic in The Courant.

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Stay Unplugged Today! So Much on Offer in Lyme/Old Lyme to Encourage All Ages to Turn Off Their Devices

Unplug and take the opportunity to wander around Gil Boro’s Sculpture Grounds and see the more than 100 sculptures on display. This is just one of the numerous opportunities to take ‘time-out’ from technology this weekend.

LYME/OLD LYME — Continue to enjoy an Unplugged Weekend today!

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) invites you to de-stress and take a ‘time-out’ from technology and social media.

Mary Seidner, LYSB Executive Director

Mary Seidner, LYSB Executive Director, tells LymeLine.com, “During the pandemic, all of us (including kids) are using screens more than ever. Stress levels among youth are high, and we are seeing more anxiety, depression and other mental health issues cropping up.”

She notes, “We created an Unplugged Weekend with the middle school administration in an effort to reduce stress among youth and families in our community, and to get our kids to step away from social media for one weekend.”

Explaining how the weekend came about, Seidner says, “We put out a call to local nonprofits to join us, and the response was strong. We have a variety of activities and adventures for kids and families to get outside on this beautiful weekend and enjoy some time away from social media, and simply de-stress.  This is also a homework-free weekend for students of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.”

Seidner emphasizes, “This collaboration shows our kids how much our community cares about them. We hope that Unplugged Weekend will encourage our community to turn off our devices in favor of connection, exploration, and quality time during quarantine and social distancing. We hope to hold another Unplugged Weekend in the spring.”

Visit this link to view a listing and full details of all the events and opportunities on offer in Lyme and Old Lyme this weekend. The intent is that this is a weekend to turn off our devices in favor of connection, reflection, and quality time.

Choose some (or all!) of the following activities today:

COOLEY GALLERY … Artist Jac Lahav paintings. Look for George Washington!

FLORENCE GRISWOLD MUSEUM … Expanding Horizons Exhibit and Artists’ Trail

HIGH HOPES … Meet The High Hopes Herd! Reserve your spot

LYME LAND TRUST … Gnome Hunt … Preserve Walk and Bonfire (for teens)

LYSB … Red Tulips Bulb Planting Kits … LOL Scavenger Hunt… Food Drive

OLD LYME HISTORICAL SOCIETY … Historic Lyme Street Walking Tour

OLD LYME LAND TRUSTEyeSPY Photo Hunt … Griswold Preserve Scavenger Hunt

Finding these mushrooms is part of the old Lyme Land Trust’s EyeSPY Hunt.

OLD LYME PGN LIBRARY … Instant Author Kits… Stress Relief Kits

ROGER TORY PETERSON ESTUARY CENTER … Twilight Walk at Watch Rock Preserve

ST. ANN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH … Scavenger Hunt

STUDIO 80 + SCULPTURE GROUNDS … Self Guided Sculpture Grounds Tour

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Groups Campaigning for Social Justice Meet This in Old Saybrook, Sunday

The Lyme-Old Lyme Partnership for Social Justice and the Old Saybrook March for Justice have moved their weekly events to Sundays.

AREAWIDE — The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Partnership for Social Justice and the Old Saybrook March for Justice have moved their weekly events from Wednesday evenings to Sundays at 4 p.m. The next gathering will be this afternoon, Sunday, Nov. 22, and take place in Deep River, in front of the Congregational Church at 1 Church St.

A representative from HOPE will discuss the work of the HOPE Partnership to advance affordable housing.

The change is to allow the events to take place when it is light and also reflect a more convenient time for working families, youth and elderly activists.

All are welcome. It is requested that everyone should wear a mask at the event.

Upcoming events sponsored by the LOL Partnership or the Old Saybrook March for Justice will take place as follows:
• Sunday, Nov. 29 – Old Saybrook, in front of the Kate.
• Sunday, Dec. 2 – TBD

The LOL Partnership’s mission is to educate area residents on important topics of social justice and call attention to opportunities where citizens can support local, state and national social-justice efforts. For more information or to stay abreast of news, visit the partnership’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LOLPartnership4SJ or send an email to LOLPartnership4SJ@gmail.com.

The Old Saybrook March for Justice is an inclusive and welcoming coalition of friends and neighbors, who care deeply about basic human rights.

Their mission statement states, ” We are outraged by centuries of structural racism in this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter. We listen, learn and act. We understand that silence is not an option. We aim to be allies and antiracist. We are respectful, nonpartisan and inclusive. We welcome all who share our values. We educate ourselves and join in weekly marches.”

For further information, email osbmarch@gmail.com.

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Nov. 20 COVID Update: Two New COVID Cases in Old Lyme, No New Cases in Lyme; OL Has 67 Cases, Lyme 17

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we have started a new daily update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The state does not give any details of the age of those infected, their gender or the date the case was confirmed.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Friday afternoon, Nov. 20, (which was issued after the Friday, Nov. 20 weekly Ledge Light Health Department report) shows the following:

OLD LYME now has a cumulative total of 67 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This represents an increase of two confirmed cases over the 65 cases reported Thursday, Nov. 19.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

LYME has a cumulative total of 15 confirmed cases and two probable cases.

This represents no change over Thursday’s data.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The COVID-19 metric report is issued by the state once per day, every Monday through Friday. The report that is issued each Monday contains combined data that was collected on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The state will issue its next report Monday, Nov. 23.

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Old Lyme Enters ‘Red Zone’ for COVID Case Rates, Lyme Stays in Gray; OL Has 65 Cases, Lyme 17

Ninety-six percent of Connecticut, including the Town of Old Lyme, is now in the red zone for Coronavirus infection rates. Source: CT Department of Health.

OLD LYME/LYME — In the Connecticut Department of Health’s map published Thursday (Nov. 19) showing, Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town, Old Lyme is now in the red (highest) zone meaning the case rate is 15 or more cases per 100,000.

The actual rate for Old Lyme reported Nov. 19 is 18.4 per 100,000.

Old Lyme joins 144 other municipalities in the red zone, representing approximately 96 percent of the state. The previous week showed the number of towns in the red zone as 100.

The Town of Lyme, meanwhile, is in the grey (lowest) zone with less than five cases per 100,000.

The actual rate for Lyme reported Nov. 19 is 6.1 per 100,000.

Governor Ned Lamont, who is currently quarantined himself, described the surging virus statistics as, “disturbing,” during a news briefing yesterday. Visit this link for a full report published yesterday about Gov. Lamont’s news briefing by Hugh McQuaid of our LION partner CTNewsJunkie.com. 

Ledge Light Health Department (LLHD) issued their weekly COVID report at 11:41 a.m. today. It shows Old Lyme as having 19 new cases in the past two weeks whereas Lyme had “<5”.

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total of 65 confirmed cases and two fatalities, while Lyme has a cumulative total of 17 confirmed cases and no fatalities. (The state report details the Lyme cases as 15 confirmed and two probable.)

A total of 620 PCR tests were administered to Old Lyme residents in the past two weeks with a positivity rate of 3.7, whereas the respective numbers for Lyme were 108 tests and a 2.8 positivity rate.

Stephen Mansfield, LLHD Director of Health, prefaces the report saying, “Our contact tracers continue to report that they have observed many cases associated with family and social gatherings; this is particularly concerning as we head into the holiday season.”

He adds, “We are also seeing a significant number of cases associated with sporting events, as well as person to person transmission within foodservice establishments; these foodservice cases have been almost exclusively employee to employee, rather than employee to patron.”

Finally, Mansfield notes, “Cases associated with schools and long-term care facilities are increasing as well.”

 

 

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Drive-Thru Flu Clinic Scheduled This Morning in Old Lyme

OLD LYME —11/19 UPDATE (in red below): Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is hosting a Drive Thru to Beat the Flu clinic Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School. The school is located at 53 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

All participants will be required to wear a mask, stay in their vehicle, and practice social distancing.  Participants are NOT required to be residents of Lyme or Old Lyme.

Regular flu shots or nasal sprays will be provided at no cost to individuals 19 years and older.

A quadrivalent flu shot (not the high dose for seniors) will be given to anyone 19 years and older.

Anyone aged 19 – 49, who is in good health and not pregnant, may have the flu mist nasal spray.

District residents that need the high dose vaccine should contact their pharmacy, medical provider, or the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Southeastern Connecticut.

It is recommended that people wear a tank top, short sleeve shirt or loose-fitting clothes for easy access to the upper arm if receiving the flu shot..

A flu consent form is required for each participant. Forms can be downloaded from www.llhd.org or obtained at the Drive-Thru. Any questions, call 860-448-4882.

This flu clinic is being offered by LLHD in partnership with Old Lyme Emergency Services Department, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association and LLHD MRC.

Ledge Light Health District serves as the local health department for Lyme and Old Lyme, as well as East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington, Stonington and Waterford, Conn.

As a health district, formed under Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-241, LLHD is a special unit of government, allowing member municipalities to provide comprehensive public health services to residents in a more efficient manner by consolidating the services within one organization.

The Director of Health and staff of LLHD work to promote health and wellness among the more than 151,000 residents that the district serves. By enforcing the Connecticut Public Health Code, conducting health education programs, monitoring disease outbreaks and nurturing our environment, LLHD is focused on promoting healthy communities.

LLHD’s mission statement – to prevent disease, illness and injury; to protect and nurture our environment; and to promote improved health and prosperity for all residents – describes in more detail their slogan of “promoting healthy communities.”

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Pop-Up Book Sale Outside Old Lyme Library Today

OLD LYME — Phoebe’s BookCellar is hosting a Pop-up Sale this coming Saturday, Nov. 21,from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m.  outside the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

A large selection of the BookCellar’s newest and gift quality books will be offered. Stock up on holiday gifts or stay-at-home reading.

Payment will be accepted by cash or check only.

Masks and social distancing are mandatory.

Visit the newly reimagined BookCellar (inside) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to view the full range of reading materials now on offer.
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Tiffany Farms Hosts Outdoor ‘Pop-Up’ Farmers Market This Morning

There will be a ‘Pop-Up’ Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

LYME — After a successful summer season, The Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms had closed down mid-October for the winter.

But Jen Tiffany, who is co-manager of the Market with her husband, Bill Hurtle, told LymeLine, “Throughout the market season we were asked time and again, “Have you ever thought of opening an Indoor Farmers Market or a Pre-Holiday Market?”

Tiffany explained, “The indoor market is an unsurmountable thought at this point in light of the current pandemic, but the pre-holiday idea seemed doable.”

She and Hurtle kicked the idea around a while and then asked their vendors whether they would be willing to commit to the concept.

In Tiffany’s words, “We got a resounding ‘thumbs up’ from the non-seasonal vendors,” and so they immediately set about planning for a “Pop-Up Market.” which will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the usual Tiffany Farms location at 156 Sterling City Rd. in Lyme.

So if you’re looking for somewhere to buy your favorite market items or do your Thanksgiving food shopping in a healthy, outdoor environment that supports local farmers and vendors, this ‘Pop-Up Market’ is the place for you!

Vendors include:

  • Tiffany Farms will have a freezer full of quality pasture-raised beef
  • Biscotti and Beyond will offer cookie trays in addition to their usual fare
  • Donderoor Orchards will be selling a plethora of pie selections and “other yummy choices”
  • Sankow Farm will have a variety of lamb and cheese products
  • Bittersweet will offer a selection of teas and spices
  • Wave Hill will have a large bread selection
  • Chatfield Hollow will be selling their fabulous mushrooms
  • The Traveling Chef, who makes the most delicious tomato sauces

Masks are mandatory at the Market and, with a twinkle in her eye, Tiffany asks patrons, “To keep one cow-length apart while shopping,” adding that people should also, “Stay home if not feeling well.”

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Old Lyme PD’s Thanksgiving Food Drive Continues Today

Sorting the food donated during the Food Drive is a Herculean task organized by LYSB Director Mary Seidner (center) in photo and assisted by Leslie Massa (right) and Arleen Sharp (left). File photo by B. Groth.

Old Lyme Police Officers will hold their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive on three dates starting Saturday at the Old Lyme Marketplace near the Big Y. The dates and times are as follows:

Wednesday, Nov.  18, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All food donated will be forwarded to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) for distribution to families in need.

Food will also be given to stock the mini-pantries at Lymes’ Senior Center and the Town of Old Lyme Social Services.

After local needs are met, all remaining food is given to Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

Arleen Sharp (left) and Leslie Massa continue their sorting efforts. File photo by B. Groth.

Donations of non-perishable food can be taken directly to the Old Lyme Police Department at 294 Shore Rd., or to LYSB at 59 Lyme St. between Nov. 16 and  Nov. 23.

Families in need of food should contact LYSB at www.lysb.org/holidaygiving or 860-434-7208.

 

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Voter Participation Extremely High in Presidential Election in Both Lyme (88%), Old Lyme (91%)

LYME/OLD LYME — At the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting held Monday, Nov.16, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold reported that there are 5,933 registered voters in Old Lyme and 5,408 voters cast ballots for the President/Vice President, which equates to a participation rate of 91 percent.

As a comparison, Griswold noted 5,364 votes were cast for Joe Courtney in the Congressional House election. Griswold reported the remaining offices drew voter participation rates in the “high 80s to low 90s [percent]”

In his most recent Selectman’s Update, he reported there were 2,641 absentee ballots cast, which equate to 44.5 percent of the total.

Griswold also commented at the Selectmen’s meeting that the board needs to consider whether to make the change of voting location to Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School as a permanent one. He said, “It would have been disastrous at Cross Lane [voting location]” for this election, which had such a high turnout, but noted, “We wouldn’t have to have all voting at the schools.”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal asked whether voting for primaries would be at the middle school.

Griswold responded that the board needs to review options and make a plan since the current motion in effect in Old Lyme only approves use of the middle school through the end of the year and the Governor’s COVID Executive Order expires Feb. 9, 2021.

Lyme Town Clerk Linda Winzer announced that of the 2,012 voters on the election roll, 1,774 voted representing 88 percent of the total.  The number of absentee ballots issued in that town was 811 representing 40 percent of the votes cast.

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Nov. 19 COVID Update: Three New COVID Cases in Old Lyme; Two New, One Probable in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, today we will start a new daily update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The state is now issuing a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The state does not give any details of the age of those infected, their gender or the date the case was confirmed.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Thursday afternoon, Nov. 19, shows the following:

OLD LYME now has a cumulative total of 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This represents an increase of three confirmed cases over the 62 cases reported yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 18.

There have been two fatalities in Old Lyme.

LYME now has a cumulative total of 15 confirmed cases and two probable cases.

This represents an increase of two confirmed cases and one probable case over Wednesday’s data.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

The COVID-19 metric report is issued by the state once per day, every Monday through Friday. The report that is issued each Monday contains combined data that was collected on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme Coaches, Athletes Feature Prominently in Shoreline Conference Fall Awards

Emily DeRoehn is the 2020 Shoreline Conference Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.

LYME/OLD LYME — Emily DeRoehn has been named Shoreline Conference Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.

Lyme-Old Lyme boys’ soccer coach Ally Gleason and girls’ volleyball coach Erin Crayton were both named Shoreline Conference Coaches of the Year for their respective sports. Kendra Flaherty was named Shoreline Conference Girls’ Soccer Assistant Coach of the Year.

Additional honors awarded to Lyme-Old Lyme High School players included:

GIRLS’ SOCCER
First Team

Emily DeRoehn
Ellie Zrenda

Second Team
Sam Gray, Alexis Fenton and Grace Lathrop made the second team and

Honorable Mention
Abby Manthous
Stephanie Mauro
Lauren Wallace

BOYS’ SOCCER
First Team
Mike Milazzo
Anders Silberberg

Second Team
Avery Welch

Honorable Mention
Tim O’Brien and Jesper Silberberg

GORLS’ VOLLEYBALL
Second Team
Melanie Warren
Abigail Sicuranza

Honorable Mention
Abby Speckhals

CROSS COUNTRY
Boys’ Team
Aidan Powers

Girls’ Team
Maddy Morgado
Alyssa Spooner

Congratulations to all these excellent athletes!

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Griswold Launches Effort to Raise Funds to Purchase Unique ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ Rescue Boat for Maritime Museum in Maine

A smiling Mervin F. Roberts of Old Lyme, age 99, is pictured here on Oct. 31, 2020 at his home in Old Lyme. Roberts is the man after whom a very special life saving boat is named. The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) hopes to acquire the boat for its maritime museum.

OLD LYME — At Monday’s Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting, First Selectman Timothy Griswold opened an item of New Business saying it was, “… something really intriguing.”

He went on to explain that he had been connected with Samuel ‘Sam’ Reid, who serves as president of the non-profit Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) of Kittery, Maine. This organization is currently working on a major project to restore the 112-year-old life saving station, which was originally part of the US Life Saving Service (a forerunner of the US Coast Guard.)

A photo of Wood Island Station from earlier this week. The ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ will live inside the building and travel down the marine railway into the sea. Notice the new pier structure at lower right. The marine railway structure is also now in place, ready to be completed in 2021.

The WILSSA plans to create a maritime museum in the old station and restore the marine railway, which was used to launch rescue boats. Griswold said the life-saving station, which is sited on Wood Island off Kittery Point, “fell into disuse … and the Town [of Kittery] was going to demolish it.” The WILSSA was formed in 2011 with the immediate aim of saving the station from demolition.

This is a recent photo of the pier (right side) and marine railway (left side) structures at Wood Island. Neither is completed yet, but both are getting close. Notice the wooden door in the sea wall that will be removed for the marine railway to pass through.

The organization’s website states, “After three years of construction, and $3.8 million so far, the entire building has been cleaned of hazardous materials, the structural elements rebuilt, the exterior restored and the north wall and shed rebuilt.”

Through an advertisement on Facebook, Reid heard about an old coast guard rescue boat for sale in the southeastern Connecticut area, which was named the Mervin F. Roberts. Griswold said it transpired that Mervin Roberts of Old Lyme had indeed owned the boat from around 1998 to 2006, when he sold it to David Smith of Essex. Smith now wishes to sell the boat.

Ben Clarkson at the helm of the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ in 1997.

Griswold described the history of the boat prior to Roberts acquiring it, noting it was purchased by Ben Clarkson, a former resident of Old Lyme, when Clarkson ran The River School in Old Saybrook. Clarkson had acquired three boats in the early 1990s from a seller, who had purchased them as surplus items from the Burnt Island Life Saving Station (near Boothbay Harbor, Maine) in the mid 1960s.  As a surprise, the school named one of the boats after Roberts, who was in Griswold’s words, “… involved in the school.”

When the school fell on hard times, the boat was given to Roberts in lieu of a loan he had made to the school.

Moving to recent events, Griswold spoke about how Reid had visited Old Lyme and met with both Roberts and Smith. Reid brought with him an expert on boats of that era, who confirmed, to quote Griswold, “This is a boat that was just like the one at the [Wood] Island.” During the visit on Oct. 31, Roberts presented Reid with the piece of artwork shown in the lead photo of this story. The artwork is intended as a donation from Roberts to the WILSSA.

A late 1940s photo showing the marine railway at Wood Island. There was no pier historically.

Griswold also reported that, “Pan Am Railways [of Waterville, Maine] has volunteered to donate the railroad track and fabricate the cradle to get the boat into the water.”

Noting, “Now we have to get the boat up to Maine … I have accepted the challenge to raise the funds to help pay for the boat and transport it to Maine,” adding, “We all know and love Merv.”

Stressing that, “This is nothing to do with the Town,” Griswold clarified, “I just wanted to let people know. I think it’s pretty fantastic. This is a private endeavor, not a town-led thing.” He explained he was, “Going to work to get a letter finalized [soliciting funds.]”

During public comment at the meeting, Reid spoke by phone to the board of selectmen, saying, “Thank you for your kind comments. I can’t wait to bring this boat up to Maine. I hope you will all come to Maine to celebrate this.”

Reid clarified separately by email that “The first step in learning about the history of this boat came from an article [by Michele Dickey] that I read about Mervin Roberts in the LymeLine!  I emailed to the publisher [Olwen Logan] and she helped connect me to Tim Griswold and Mervin.”

A rare photo of a “pulling surfboat” launching down a marine railway in Gloucester Mass. Sadly this station and its railway are now both demolished.

LymeLine also obtained additional information about the Mervin F. Roberts from Reid. He described the boat as, “a 1930s US Coast Guard rescue craft – a modified “Type SR pulling surfboat”.”  He added that a national expert, Tim Dring, has confirmed that only 110 of these were ever made, and only five survive.

Dring is a retired US Navy Commander and former chairman of the board of the US Life Saving Service Heritage Association, which Reid describes as, “The national organization of all things life saving station.” Reid is also a member of that board.

A rare photo of a “pulling surfboat” launching down a marine railway in Gloucester Mass. Sadly this station and its railway are now both demolished.

The Mervin F. Roberts appears to be the only one of the five remaining boats that can still be used in the water.  These boats were built in the Curtis Bay Yard south of Baltimore, Md.  Her length is 25 feet, 6 inches.  Her beam is 7 feet, 3 inches.  She weighed 2,066 pounds before an inboard engine was later added.  Originally she was powered by eight rowers directed by a helmsman. These “surfmen” would go out and assist mariners in distress at any time of the year, often in extremely challenging conditions. 

By an extraordinary coincidence, one of the original 110 boats was in place at Wood Island in 1947.

Asked how he felt about Griswold’s response to the Mervin F. Roberts ‘situation,’ Reid told LymeLine by email, “The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association is so grateful to Tim Griswold and the Selectmen of the Town of Old Lyme for discussing the idea of helping raise the funds to pay for the lovely old Coast Guard surfboat, the Mervin F. Roberts. Honoring Mervin in this way is so special.  We will preserve this rare boat for a rare man.”

Reid added, “For this boat to be heading back to its home state of Maine is wonderful and knowing that it is going to Pan Am Railways in Waterville this winter is outstanding.  This freight railway company is leading the way in the restoration of the only-in-the-nation marine railway at Wood Island Station.  They will take very good care of the Mervin F. Roberts.”

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

Commenting on future plans for the Mervin F. Roberts, Reid wrote, “To have this one-of-a-kind boat operating on the rare marine railway will be the gem of the future museum at Wood Island Station.  Educating the public for generations to come about the brave men that rowed out to save others is such an important mission.”

Reid concluded, “We can’t wait to finish the project and welcome our many friends in the southern Connecticut area to come join us in celebrating this milestone.”

Editor’s Note (i): As a tribute to our own beloved Mervin Roberts, who is now 99 and still living in Old Lyme, Griswold is hoping to raise $$6,750.00 to cover the cost of the ‘Mervin F. Roberts’ boat and its transport to Maine. There the boat will help tell the story of the brave men of the early Coast Guard. If LymeLine readers would care to contribute to this effort, this is the link to make a tax-deductible donation to the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association.

(ii) This video offers a beautiful overview of the Wood Island Life Saving Station

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Old Lyme Historical Society Launches 2021 ‘Then & Now’ Calendar

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Historical Society launches its 2021 Then & Now Calendar this afternoon, Thursday, Nov. 19, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 55 Lyme Street front yard – wear your masks!

This will be will be an outdoor, drive-thru Launch Party to celebrate the new 2021 Old Lyme Historical Society Calendar.
Walk-ups are requested to wear masks and social distance.

Calendars will be on sale at $12 each.

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One New Confirmed COVID Case in Old Lyme, Total Now 62; Lyme Holds at 13 Cases + 1 Probable

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 18, shows Old Lyme as now having 62 confirmed COVID-19 cases. This represents an increase of one case over the 61 cases reported on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and includes two fatalities.

The same report shows 13 confirmed cases for Lyme and one probable case. This represents no change from Tuesday’s data.

There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

This COVID-19 metric report is issued by the state once per day, every Monday through Friday, usually around 4 p.m. The report that is issued each Monday contains combined data that was collected on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The report does not supply details of age or gender, nor date the case was confirmed.

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High Hopes 2020 Holiday Market Goes Virtual, Shopping Continues Through Nov. 28


OLD LYME —
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. of Old Lyme is hosting its popular Holiday Market as a virtual event this year. The market opens this coming Sunday, Nov. 15, and concludes on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

Florals galore will be on sale in the Virtual Holiday Market.

Over 70 artisans and small businesses will be participating in the Virtual Holiday Market, which will enable you to shop the portals of a diversified list of vendors from the comfort of your couch.

Vendors will offer a unique array of goods from sweet treats to all-natural soaps and skincare products, home and holiday décor, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry from raw materials, to specialty holiday foods and the perfect holiday tablescape.

An email sent in August to vendors and supporters said, “The High Hopes family remains committed to the Market’s mission to create a vibrant, experiential marketplace, which promotes local artisans and small businesses while raising awareness for High Hopes’ therapeutic and equine assisted activities.”

Take a sneak peek at the online shopping directory at this link, select a vendor category and start planning your shopping. Each listing notes whether items are available for shipment or local pick-up or both, and also special deals to be offered during the Holiday Market.

For more information, contact Trudy Burgess at tburgess@highhopestr.org or (860)434-1974 ext. 123.

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