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:

https://zoom.us/j/225302077?pwd=M2RQZWhIVnlINmFNSXdBTTl6a3k1dz09

Meeting ID: 225 302 077
Password: 364282

A new link for Daily Masses will be given soon.

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme:
A link will soon be available for tomorrow’s service. We will post it here as soon as we receive it.
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 Sunday, April 5.

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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.

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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!

 

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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 …

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

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.

MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS

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.


SCHOOLS/YOUTH/DAYCARE

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.

LIBRARIES

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.


FOOD PANTRIES/SOUP KITCHENS

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.

 

LOCAL FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS NOW OFFERING TAKE-OUT

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


HEALTH SERVICES

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


TRANSPORTATION

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.


ART INSTITUTIONS

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.


RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

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.


LYME & OLD LYME BUSINESSES, CLUBS, ORGANIZATIONS & EVENTS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.”

 

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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.

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Non-Essential Businesses Must Close by 8pm Monday, DECD Defines ‘Essential’ Businesses That Can Stay Open

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23), whose District includes Lyme and Old Lyme, sent us the detailed information announced yesterday by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) regarding which businesses are deemed essential in the state pursuant to Executive Order 7H.

That order had directed all businesses and nonprofit entities in the State of Connecticut to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.

Executive Order 7H also directed that, no later than today, Monday, March 23, at 8 p.m., each non-essential business or nonprofit entity must reduce the in-person workforce at each business location by 100% from pre-state of emergency declaration employment levels.

This order excludes any state or local government agencies, quasi-public agencies, political subdivisions or other entities that do not constitute businesses or nonprofits.

The details announced yesterday by the DECD identify all essential businesses in a docment titled, Business Exemptions for Coronavirus – Executive Order 7H, which includes 12 different categories of businesses.

If the function of your business is not listed as one of the Business Exemptions, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an Essential Business, click here.

Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.

If you have further questions not answered above, submit them to DECD at decd.covid19@ct.gov.

If you have questions for State Rep. Carney, email him at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.

 

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Lyme Selectmen Issue Call for Volunteers; Also, Info on Help for Vulnerable Residents, How to Stay Informed

Lyme Town Hall

The Lyme Board of Selectmen have issued the following updates:

Call for Volunteers

The coronavirus is the biggest public health challenge Lyme has faced in generations.  The board wants to make sure none of our vulnerable residents are facing this challenge alone.

In preparation for anticipated needs in days ahead, the Town of Lyme is issuing a call for volunteers who are willing and able to help isolated individuals in our community.  We anticipate a need for volunteers who can pick up and deliver groceries, medications and other supplies; and volunteers who can offer ongoing emotional support by phone or email. In the future, there may be additional ways that you can help.

The volunteer coordination effort will be led by our Social Services Director and our Town Clerk, supported by our Emergency Management Department and Second Selectman.

Email the Lyme Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help.  She will be compiling a list of resident volunteers.  If you have other expertise you think may be valuable in serving others during the coming days, mention that in your email.

Help for Vulnerable Community Residents

The Town of Lyme is continuing its preparations to help its most vulnerable citizens through the days ahead.

The Town has a list of the community’s most vulnerable residents, which has long been maintained by our Social Services Director and the Emergency Management Department. The board wants to make sure, however, that no one who is isolated and vulnerable in the community is overlooked in the coming days.

If you know someone in Lyme who is isolated – or if you, yourself, are a vulnerable individual as a result of your age or other reason – notify the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org.  If you do not have access to email, call Town Hall at 860-434-7733.

Stay Informed …

The Town website is being updated regularly with the latest news and information.

  • For the latest word on the Town of Lyme’s public health response to the coronavirus, click here.
  • For the current status of town facilities, click here.
  • For other important community updates related to the coronavirus, click here. All residents are encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on the website’s home page to receive important public health updates by email.
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Carney Summarizes Lamont’s Latest Executive Order Detailing Business Restrictions Starting Monday; Also, Gives More COVID-19 General Updates

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23), whose District includes Lyme and Old Lyme, issued the following statement earlier this morning, which summarizes Gov. Lamont’s most recent Excutive Order and gives other pertinent COVID-19 information.

“Governor Lamont today signed his ninth executive order pursuant to his emergency declaration, taking further actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut.

This order:

  • Places restrictions on workplaces for non-essential businesses. This goes into effect Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. through Wednesday, April 22, 2020,
  • Under this restriction, all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.
  • Non-essential businesses or non-essential not-for-profit entities shall reduce their in-person workforce at any workplace locations by 100% not later than March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

**Important note for businesses who are deemed non-essential**

Any other business may be deemed essential after requesting an opinion from DECD, which shall review and grant such request, should it determine that it is in the best interest of the state to have the workforce continue at full capacity to properly respond to this emergency.

Any essential business or entity providing essential goods, services or functions shall not be subject to these in-person restrictions.

Not later than 8 p.m. on March 22, 2020, the Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) shall issue lawfully binding guidance about which businesses are essential.

Those ESSENTIAL businesses to remain OPEN shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Essential retail, including GROCERY STORES and big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries;
  • Food and beverage retailers (including liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees) and restaurants, provided they comply with previous and future executive orders issued during the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency;
  • PHARMACIES, gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Essential health care operations including HOSPITALS, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, elder care and home health care workers,
  • Companies and institutions involved in the research and development, manufacture, distribution, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology therapies, health care data, consumer health products, medical devices, diagnostics, equipment, services and any other healthcare related supplies or services;
  • Essential infrastructure, including utilities, wastewater and drinking water, telecommunications, airports and transportation infrastructure;
  • Manufacturing, including food processing, pharmaceuticals, and industries supporting the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military;
  • The defense industrial base, including aerospace, mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing/production workers, aircraft and weapon system mechanics and maintainers;
  • Essential services including trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing, mail and shipping services;
  • News media;
  • Legal and accounting services;
  • Banks, insurance companies, check cashing services, and other financial institutions;
  • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations;
  • Construction;
  • Vendors of essential services and goods necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses, including pest control and landscaping services;
  • Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and the provision of goods, services or functions necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

To read this executive order, click here.

To see an update on Connecticut’s coronavirus response efforts, click here.

State launches framework for the donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

At the direction of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the state has activated a framework for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection that are utilized by people providing healthcare services.

Members of the public, businesses, and philanthropic organizations that wish to donate these vital materials should fill out the online form located at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.

United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut will be working with DPH to collect the input of donation requests and will ensure that donated items are appropriate for the needs of hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The specific items being requested by the state at this time include:

  • N95 Respirators
  • Face Masks/Surgical Masks
  • Face Shields
  • Surgical Gowns
  • Gloves (nitrile, or non-latex)
  • Thermometers
  • Thermometer Covers (if applicable to type of thermometer)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Other Medical Items

This donation framework will remain in place to support additional donation efforts in the future.

Department of Revenue Services extends filing and payment deadlines for personal income tax returns to July 15, 2020

At the direction of Governor Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is extending the filing and payment deadline for personal income tax returns 90 days, to July 15, 2020. The extension also applies to Connecticut estimated income tax payments for the first and second quarters of 2020.

This extension for Connecticut personal income tax return filing and payment aligns with the U.S. Treasury’s announcement earlier Friday, where it indicated federal income tax filings and payments would be extended until July 15, 2020.

Connecticut taxpayers who are owed a refund may still file with DRS. The easiest way to file – and the fastest way to receive a refund – is through online filing, including via the DRS online Taxpayer Service Center, which is easy, secure, and free to use. Since Connecticut’s personal income tax return begins with federal Adjusted Gross Income, it is often beneficial to complete one’s federal income tax return first.

Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the DRS website, where additional updates will be posted.

Governor Lamont and DECD speak with 5,000 small business owners and leaders about the impact of COVID-19 on businesses

Yesterday, Governor Lamont and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) David Lehman hosted a conference call with over 5,000 small business owners and leaders from throughout the state to discuss what the state has done and is planning to do to support businesses impacted by COVID-19. During the call, the governor discussed the state’s new bridge-loan program that is being set up to help small and medium-sized businesses. Details continue to be finalized, and more information is anticipated to be released next week.

To listen to the full audio of the hour-long conference call, visit the state’s COVID-19 business resource page.

Earlier this week, DECD launched the COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit, which will be dedicated to help businesses in Connecticut navigate the resources available to them during this crisis. Small businesses seeking guidance can reach this unit by calling 860-500-2333.

DMV announces series of additional extensions and waivers for vehicle registrations, emissions testing, and other credentials

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that it is adding vehicle registrations, emissions testing, and several other items to the extension period for Connecticut residents with expiring credentials. In addition to extending the expiration date of DMV credentials, late fees associated with eligible expired credentials and compliance issues will also be waived during this extension period.

The extensions announced today apply to vehicle and boat registrations, emissions testing, new residents, disabled parking placards, business licenses, suspension-related matters, inspections, school bus proficiency tests, and flashing light permits.

For specific information on today’s announcements and details about each of these extension periods, click here.

Businesses experiencing issues regarding supply chains, delivery of goods, or business continuity should contact FEMA’s emergency operations center

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is encouraging businesses in the state that are experiencing issues regarding supply chains, delivery of goods, or business continuity to contact the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center by emailing NBEOC@fema.dhs.gov. This is a 24/7 operation and they can assist in directing the inquiry to the proper contact.”

State Rep. Carney concludes, “As always, if you have any questions or would like to speak with me about a concern, please email me at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.”

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Positive COVID-19 Case Confirmed in East Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

EAST LYME — (Press Release from LLHD) Today, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 within the jurisdiction of Ledge Light Health District (LLHD). The individual, an East Lyme resident, is a 44-year-old female.

“Positive cases of COVID-19 within our jurisdiction have been expected, as community transmission of the virus continues to occur in Connecticut. LLHD staff will assure that all appropriate CDC protocols regarding positive cases and potential contacts are followed.” said Stephen Mansfield, Ledge Light Health District’s Director of Health.

Ledge Light Health District’s main objective is to slow the spread of the virus. “The single best way to slow the spread is to practice social distancing. LLHD recommends that all individuals limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice.” said Mansfield. Social distancing is crucial in helping to reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who are infected.

Ledge Light Health District continues to work with local and state partners to prepare for widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Residents and businesses are urged to access up-to-date information regarding the pandemic from reputable sources including the Ledge Light Health District website (www.llhd.org), Facebook (@LedgeLightHD), Twitter (@LedgeLightHD), and Instagram (@LedgeLightHD).

Editor’s Note: Ledge Light Health District – LLHD – serves as the local health department for East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington and Waterford, Connecticut. 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.

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New List of Take-Out Options in Lyme, Old Lyme Now Available

LYME-OLD LYME — The staff of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) have prepared a list of take-out options in Lyme and Old Lyme.  Many of these are new and have been created in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many thanks to the LYSB staff for their efforts inpreparing this and we hope our readers will support these local establishments during these challenging times.

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Teleconference Explores How Lyme-Old Lyme Towns, Non-Profits Can Best Help Families in Need During COVID-19 Outbreak

LYSB Director Mary Seidner

Old Lyme Social Services Coordinator Jen Datum.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED MARCH 19, 11:50am: In response to the current Coronavirus situation, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) Director Mary Seidner and Old Lyme Social Services Coordinator Jen Datum hosted a teleconference Wednesday morning with all the non-profit organizations and social services in Lyme, Old Lyme and the local region involved in helping families in need during the widespread shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The aim of the teleconference was to give the organizations an opportunity to discuss their current operations, needs, and concerns. After gathering the information shared during the teleconference, Seidner and Datum’s plan is to compile a resource directory for the citizens of Old Lyme and Lyme with the intent of sharing it widely.

Present at the meeting were representatives from:

  • Ledge Light Health District
  • Thames Valley Council of Community Action
  • Lymes’ Senior Center
  • Town of Old Lyme
  • Town of Lyme
  • Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church
  • Christ The King Church
  • First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
  • First Congregational Church of Lyme
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Schools
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce
  • Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library
  • Mentoring Corps Community Development
  • 9-Town Transit
  • Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

LymeLine.com was also invited to join the teleconference.

Each agency or organization gave an overview of how its operations have been affected by the enforced and/or elective shutdowns due to the virus and how it is responding in the sense of adding or changing its services. A summary of the reports given by the individual agencies/organizations is at the foot of this article.

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge then summed up all the responses, saying “There is a lot of commonality here,” noting that areas in which support was being given fell into five broad categories. These were

  • mental/emotional/spiritual support
  • logistical issues such as picking up prescriptions, groceries, meals, etc.
  • transportation challenges, i.e., getting to and from appointments, from one location to another, using buses, etc.
  • providing economic support to businesses suffering financial hardhip due to either enforced closure or a serious drop in traffic as a result of people either staying at home or being financially challenged
  • clear and comprehensive communication to Lyme and Old Lyme residents and businesses.

He proposed that all the organizations should “start co-ordinating, combine resources, and minimize duplication,” and went on to say that an email would go out after the end of the teleconference asking each organization to confirm details of what had been discussed. Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau will process all those responses to combine them into both written information and a website for general release to the public.  It is hoped that the website will be up and operational Wednesday or Thursday.

Seidner mentioned during the teleconference that some substantial philanthropic donations had been made to support individuals or groups that are experiencing hardship from the Coronavirus pandemic. She said a fund would be set up that she and the First Selectmen of Lyme and Old Lyme would manage in association with the Social Service Directors of each town. Details of the fund and how to donate to it will be given on the new website.

In a phone conversation after the meeting, Roberge expressed how pleased he was to LymeLine.com that three disparate groups, namely the Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme respectively, the youth of the two towns, and local non-profits have now all been successfully brought together through this teleconference. He noted that prior to this, each group, Town, or organization had been acting independently but now areas in which they can work together more effectively and efficiently will be identified and a plan implemented for those areas.

Roberge said he saw it as the first seeds of “creating a Task Force for the two towns that would serve the needs of the whole Lyme-Old Lyme community,” during this time of coping with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Updates reported by each organization present at the teleconference:

  • Kris Magnusson of Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) reported that, as at the time of the teleconference, no cases of Coronavirus have been reported in New London County. LLHD has increased communications by phone and mail. LLHD has been maintaining situational awareness through weekly teleconferences with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH). They are conducting countless activities related to preparedness and communicating regularly with town leaders and community partners. Drive-through testing starting at L+M but only for those referred by their family physician.
  • TVCCA mentioned fuel assistance benefits have been extended through the spring. Utility shut-offs have been postponed indefinitely. Tax assistance is postponed for the moment.
  • Meals on Wheels continues.
  • Stephanie Gould reported that Lymes’ Senior Center is closed. All groups, programs, and activities at the Lymes’ Senior Center are canceled until further notice. The nurse will hold her regular 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday to Friday schedule to address senior needs. If readers call the Estuary by 11 a.m. on a Monday, they can pick up five frozen meals curbside at the Senior Center — no need to get out of the car. A donation of $3 per meal is requested and can be left in the trunk where it can be picked up by the volunteer placing the meals there. Frozen meals can also be picked up two at a time at The Estuary on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Amy Hollis from 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.
  • Superintendent Ian Neviaser reported that Lyme-OldLyme Schools are closed for two weeks, though he anticipates the closure to last much longer based on the latest information he has received. The state of Connecticut gave permission Monday for schools to move to online distance learning.  LOL Schools are surveying parents to determine internet access/device availability and also lunch needs. Lunches will be available where needed from Thursday. LOL Schools are working to distribute devices to all 7-12 graders so that they can participate in distance learning. Neviaser noted things are moving very fast and the schools are keeping everyone informed as rapidly as possible.
  • Town of Old Lyme – all town buildings closed. Town hall operations are still functioning. Information is on the Town website about how to contact whoever you need in town government.  More at this link. 
  • Kathy Tisdale reported for the Town of Lyme – Town website has been reorganized around the Coronavirus emergency. All town buildings will be closed.  Selectmen have encouraged all meetings be postponed. More at this link. 
  • Joe Comerford said 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.
  • Bill Archer said Lymes’ Senior Center is empty, clean and ready to be used as a respite center.  A plan is in place to serve community members over 60 and/or those with special needs.
  • Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association has cancelled all visits. They are calling through their phone lists to check on people. Call Cindi Taylor at 860-876-0456 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. if you would like prescriptions picked up.
  • Local churches:
    • Christ the King – Bishop mandated that no further public masses should be held from Tuesday. The church is always open and updates are given on the website.
    • Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church – The office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and the church is focussing on online resources.  The Priest-in-Charge said she thought it highly unlikely any Holy Week services wuld be celebrated this year.
    • Senior Minister Steve Jungkeit reported that First Congregational Church of Old Lyme has moved everything online, including giving services, having meetings, etc. , via Zoom. Teams of callers are calling each person in the congregation to reach out and “see what needs there are.”
    • Lyme First Congregational Church said all Sunday worship services are cancelled from March 22 onward. The pastor will post a modified worship service online on March 22.
  • Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Director Katie Huffman stated that the library is closed as is the book drop.  She requested patrons keep their currently borrowed books at home. Staff are working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and available for research needs, educational resources by phone.
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce President Rich Shriver noted that some local restaurants have started take-out services and “certainly could use all of our support.”

Editor’s Note: Kudos to Mary Seidner and Jen Datum for getting everyone together at such short notice and also to all participants for the strong spirit evident universally to help and support all members of our Lyme-Old Lyme community to the greatest extent possible in this time of crisis. Many remarked on how forward-thinking and pro-active it was to hold the teleconference and move forward positively and efficiently from there.

 

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And Here’s Something We All Need … 23 Pieces of Good News Regarding COVID-19

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Christina Ausley from SeattlePI was thinking things were just too depressing so she decided to look for some positive news about the coronavirus.

She found, “there’s a handful of worldwide news doling out glimmers of hope in the midst of frightening times,” so, in her words, “we’ve rounded up all the good news about the virus worth catching up.”

Here’s her article, Stay positive: Here are 23 pieces of good news regarding COVID-19, which was published on NewHavenRegister.com today.

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