April 25, 2019

‘Drug Take Back Day’ Scheduled for Saturday

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lyme Street Fire House, 69 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) and the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Prevention Coalition will give residents another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

This event is free and anonymous — no questions asked.

Since the first Lyme-Old Lyme ‘Drug Take Back’ event in 2011, citizens have returned more than 500 pounds of medications to prevent misuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinets. Sadly, prescription drug abuse is on the rise among adults and youth, so this is a great opportunity to dispose of your unwanted medications.

The mission of the LOL Prevention Coalition is to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug use among youth by collaborating with the community to raise awareness, modify social norms, educate youth and adults, initiate policy change and promote healthy activities.
The group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at LYSB.  Join them at any meeting or contact LYSB at 860-434-7208.  Visit their website to learn more about their programs, L/OL youth survey reports, and resources.

This event is co-sponsored by LYSB, LOL Prevention Coalition, Old Lyme Police Department, Troop F State Police, and Old Lyme Fire Department.

For more information about the Drug Take Back event or the LOL Prevention Coalition, contact LYSB at 860-434-7208 or visit www.lysb.org

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Class of 2019 Holds ‘Shred It’ Fundraiser, Saturday

Shredded_paperOn Saturday, April 27, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2019 will shred documents for businesses and individuals. Anyone can bring their papers to shred to the LOLHS parking lot from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a donation.

Many people have unwanted papers sitting in boxes or on desks around their house.  The papers could be old tax returns, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, newspapers or school ditto sheets.  This fundraiser provides the community an opportunity to securely discard unwanted papers from houses or businesses.

“We are excited to hold this Shred-it Fundraiser because the demand for secure document shredding services is growing.  This fundraiser provides a low cost way to accomplish this community service,” said LOLHS senior Brynn McGlinchey, the event organizer.

Last year, this high school class conducted this same fundraiser.  It collected over 120 bags of unwanted papers and generated over $1,200.

The class used the funds for its class activities. Class activities included three dances and many community service projects throughout town.

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Child & Family’s 65th Annual Sale is May 2-4 in Waterford

How does it look? Intake for Child & Family’s Annual Sale is Tuesday in Old Lyme.

The Lyme/Old Lyme Auxiliary of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut has scheduled its Intake for donations to the Agency’s 65th Annual Sale. Donations will be accepted ONE DAY ONLY, on Tuesday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, in the Sheffield Auditorium on Ferry Road.

Note that this will be the only day to bring items for donation in Old Lyme. In addition, because the Annual Sale will be located in a smaller-than-usual venue this year, we must limit our collections and so will only be accepting donations for three hours, 10am to 1pm, on April 23.

Items accepted include art work, men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; books, records, CDs and DVDs; toys; small appliances; household items; linens; jewelry; tools; and more. All items must be in extremely good condition, i.e., clothes and linens must be clean with no holes or stains, and appliances must be working. A full list of items that we cannot accept will be available at the Intake location.

Child & Family Agency’s 65th Annual Sale will be held at St. Paul Church, 170 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, May 2–4, 2019.  For more information on the sale, call 860-443-2896 or visit www.childandfamilyagency.org.

Child & Family Agency is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture children and families to develop their strengths through service, partnership, and advocacy. With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and programs dealing with children’s health care, child abuse, family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, and child guidance, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut. Volunteers and supporters are always welcome.

For more information, see www.childandfamilyagency.org.

Questions on the April 23 Lyme/Old Lyme Intake may be directed to cfa.LOLauxiliary@gmail.com.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Lyme Land Trust at their Family Festival, Sunday

Looking for bugs at the Earth Day Family Festival 2018. File photo submitted by Lyme Land Trust.

It’s Earth Day today!

Celebrate this important day next Sunday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 2nd Annual Earth Day Family Festival sponsored by the Lyme Land Trust. During this community event at Banningwood Preserve on Town St. in Lyme, there will be a short half-mile walk from parking to Diana’s Field where there will be a host of family-friendly activities.

Scheduled activities are as follows:

  • 11 a.m. Meet for family-friendly forest walk with biologist Jim Arrigoni (meet at entrance to Banningwood Preserve)
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Geology walk with Ralph Lewis (meet Ralph in Diana’s Field)

‘Anytime’ activities include:

  • ‘Bug Discovery’ in Roaring Brook with Pat Young of the Eight Mile River Wild and Scenic Coordinating Committee
  • Fun and games in Diana’s Field with Lyme’s Park and Rec.
  • Live music in Diana’s Field
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • S’mores by the bonfire
  • Bring your own blanket and picnic!
  • Goodie bags

Bring your own water to drink.

For more information, contact stewardship@lymelandtrust.org or visit lymelandtrust.org

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A la Carte: Whether It’s Easter or Passover in Your Home, Lamb is Always Lovely!

Boneless rolled leg of lamb always makes a perfect Easter meal — but, as Lee explains, it doesn’t have to be boneless! Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash

It seems lately that Christian and Jewish holidays seems to happen within weeks, or days, of the year.

For those who think that Hanukkah is like a Jewish Christmas, it is not. And Passover is nothing like Christian Easter either. Rather, the Jewish calendar and the Christian calendar (the latter is actually the Gregorian calendar) are not the same. I was born in the Jewish year 5704. I have no intention of telling you how old I am, but if you ask a Jewish person, perhaps that person will tell you how old I am.

More important, both holidays mean that families usually sit down together for dinner. While many of those who make Easter dinner will chose ham as the entrée of choice. Jewish people will not. But both holidays might choose lamb.

In the early 70s, I bought a book about how to cook French dishes in an American kitchen, meaning that we mostly buy our food at American supermarkets. So when you see the recipe calls for Campbell’s beef consommé, that I what I used for decades. If you do, try to get a canned consommé that is low in sodium. I now use More Than Boullion. I have used many of the recipes in that book, but my favorite is the one below.

Sometimes I buy boneless lamb, but the recipe is pretty much the same. I do suggest that you use a meat thermometer and the internal temperature of the roast should be 120 to 125 degrees for medium-rare, or 130 to 135 for medium.

Gigot d/Agneau a l’Ail (Leg of Lamb with Garlic)

From Charles Virion’s French Country Cookbook (Hawthorn, New York, 1972)

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

1 5- to 7-pound leg of lamb
8 cloves of garlic cut lengthwise into slivers
Salt and freshly ground coarse black pepper
Vegetable oil
3 cups brown sauce or canned beef consommé (I use Campbell’s)
2 cups cream sherry (does not have to be Harvey’s Bristol, but it should be cream sherry)
8 small new potatoes
4 tablespoons sweet butter

  1. Take leg of lamb out of refrigerator 3 to 5 hour before cooking time. Meat must always be at room temperature before roasting or broiling.
  2. Insert pieces of garlic all around the leg by making tiny incisions and pushing the garlic underneath. Season meat with salt and pepper. Pour on a little vegetable oil and let meat marinate until ready to roast.
  3. Meanwhile, simmer together stock or consommé and the cream sherry until liquid is reduced by half. This will be your basting sauce and gravy base.
  4. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and roast in a preheated 450 degree oven with the oven ajar. Turn frequently and baste with vegetable oil and fats accumulated during roasting. When the outside is brown and crisp, approximately 45 minutes later, take the meat out of the oven and place it in another roasting pan. Use the pan with the accumulated lamb fat to roast potatoes (separately from the lamb) for 1 to 1 and a half hours.
  5. Put butter on the meat and let it stand until 1 hour before you are ready to eat.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees. The lamb should roast slowly now so that it will remain rare and juicy.
  7. Place lamb in oven and turn it every 10 minutes, basting with the stock-sherry sauce. Compute the approximately roasting time by figuring 20 minutes per pound, subscripting the 45 minutes for the first roasting.
  8. When cooked, take the meat out of the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes. This helps keep the meat juices inside. Then slice the meat and arrange on a hot platter.
  9. You should have approximately 2 cups of gravy left. Pour some of it, piping hot, on top of the roast. The rest should be served in a sauceboat. Surround the meat with vegetables (he suggests lima beans) and potatoes which have been roasted in the lamb fat from the first roasting. Serve immediately.

About the author: Lee White (left), a former resident of Old Lyme, has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976.  She has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for the Shore Publishing newspapers, and Elan, a quarterly magazine, all of which are now owned by The Day.

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Brady Sheffield Named Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber Business Student of the Month

Brady Sheffield (second from right) receives his Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce April 2019 Business Student of the Month award from (left to right) Rich Shriver,, Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce President; Jeanne Manfredi, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Assistant Principal, and Leslie Traver, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Business Department Chair.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior Brady Sheffield has been named the Chamber of Commerce Business Student of the Month for April 2019. Brady plans on working for his uncle’s social media company to learn about running a business — a nice tie in to the business classes he has taken.

The Chamber Business Student of the Month program continues the Chamber tradition of recognizing members of the junior class for demonstrating outstanding initiative in and out of the classroom.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce established the N. Rutherford Sheffield Memorial Award for Entrepreneurial Promise & Achievement for Lyme-Old Lyme High School juniors in 1999 as a way to honor Mr. Sheffield, a 50+ year member of the Chamber who was highly regarded in our Lyme-Old Lyme community. Thirty-five juniors at Lyme-Old Lyme High School were recognized through this program.

 

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Legislators, Superintendents, Residents Express Universal Opposition to Forced School Regionalization

Special to LymeLine.com

Sitting in the front row of the audience at Monday night’s forum on school regionalization were local school superintendents (from right to left) Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) and Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook.)

Over 100 people turned out for an Education and Regionalization Forum at Old Saybrook Middle School on Thursday, April 11. The event was hosted by Rep. Devin Carney, (R-23rd), with Senators Paul Formica, (R-20th), and Norm Needleman, (D-33rd).

While the two parties differ on Connecticut road tolls, all three local officials said they are against forced regionalization of school district bills proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Senators Bob Duff and Cathy Osten, Deputy President Pro Tempore, and by Governor Ned Lamont.

Rep. Carney said there was an enormous public outcry by small towns and school districts, thousands of pieces of testimony received and hundreds of people, including students from Region 18 schools, who testified in March hearings.  While this probably means that the idea of aligning school districts with recently consolidated probate districts is not advancing, the matter of reducing and reallocating education costs is very much still alive, and pieces of proposed legislation could still become law.

“Nothing is truly ever dead until we gavel out at midnight on June 5,” Rep. Carney said, explaining the state legislative process and timelines of the ongoing session in Hartford. 

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses the audience Monday night while (left) State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) awaits his turn to speak. Almost hidden from view, State Sen. Norm Needleman (D-33rd) stands to Rep. Carney’s right.

Of the six bills introduced that address regionalization of schools or services, three have been passed by the Education Committee and further action could be taken on them:

  • Governors Bill 874 establishes an appointed Commission on Shared School Services that is charged with developing shared school services recommendations, requires boards of education (BOEs) to report on currently shared school services and requires regional BOEs to post online monthly current and projected expenditures and to submit information to their town’s legislative body. The commission would issue a report in December 2020, recommendations could be binding on towns and districts. Because of costs of setting up a commission, the bill has been referred to Appropriations Committee;
  • HB 7350 requires regional education service centers (RESCs) to distribute an inventory of goods and services to member BOEs, and the Department of Education (DOE) shall develop a report of best practices by RESCs for regional cooperation. (LEARN, at 44 Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme, is a RESC);
  • SB 1069, proposed by Sen. Needleman, which allows the DOE to study the effects of towns working together as Local Education Agencies, is intended to encourage voluntary regional cooperation and maximize efficiencies and cost savings without being mandated to become regional school districts.

Superintendents Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook), and Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) addressed how their districts have been sharing services and resources to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of curriculum along with educational, extracurricular and sports activities and programs.  Standard practices include health and dental insurance, energy, financial software, food service and supplies, plus student transportation for specialized programs.

Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Region 4 (Chester, Deep River and Essex plus the three elementary schools for each of those towns, which are not part of Region 4) school districts already share staff, Perruccio said, in an arrangement that has the flexibility to change yearly based on each districts’ demographic needs.

Perruccio said she was alarmed that the forced regionalization bills showed a lack of regard and understanding of how school districts are already sharing resources with a focus on quality of education.

Ciccone cited how the districts are coordinating to provide professional development for their teachers, and how Westbrook’s school facilities, sports programs and fields are utilized by the Town Parks and Recreation Department and local YMCA. The schools and town share legal and financial services support, as well. 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands at the podium during Monday evening’s forum.

“There is a money issue here, we need to be frank about it,” said Neviaser, pointing out that significant redistribution of wealth from school districts with higher property values and tax base already occurs. 

Fifty-one percent of New London’s school budget is paid by the state, he said., as is over 60 percent of Norwich’s, 33 percent of Montville’s and 14 percent of East Lyme’s school budgets. Meanwhile, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools receive less than one percent of operating expenses from the state.

“There was no mention of improving educational outcomes in these regionalization proposals,” commented Tina Gilbert of Lyme. “It is because of our school district’s focus on that, we are in the top four in the country in education.  There is no discussion of parent involvement in schools; we are not wealthy or privileged people, we chose to live in this school district for our children.  What it takes to build [highly performing schools] is parent involvement, working with parents.”

When asked if they moved to their town because of the quality of the schools, a high number of people in the audience raised their hands.

While the majority of questions and comments addressed specifics of proposed legislation, the overarching issue of state fiscal problems and how to address government spending arose. Lyme and Old Lyme residents were some of the most vocal about the impact of proposed legislation on property values, taxes and the quality of local school districts.

“The majority of the state doesn’t have a problem, town government works in Connecticut, but Hartford is not responsible,” said Curt Deane of Lyme, pointing out a seven-page summary of education service-sharing produced by LEARN in February.  “The initial [regionalization] proposals would have raised my property taxes by 50 percent overnight. Taxes go up, property values go down. People have to understand, this is going to hit our property taxes and hit hard. This isn’t going to go away.” 

“We can’t be a state with only great little towns and not great cities,” Sen. Needleman said, citing imbalances of health care outcomes and school performance between wealthier communities and the state’s large cities. He continued, “While we don’t want to mess up what we have, we can’t turn our backs on the disparities.”

The legislators encouraged voters to speak up, write letters, follow grassroots organizations such as Hands Off Our Schools or form their own group to express concerns to elected officials.

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Death of Doreen Meyer Announced; Celebration of Life to be Held in Lyme, May 11

Doreen Meyer

Doreen Meyer, age 86, passed away peacefully April 4, 2019 at home after a short illness with her family by her side. She was born in 1932 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Stanley and Helen Arnold. She married her true love Robert Charles Meyer, in June 21, 1953 and they shared 66 wonderful years together.

She graduated from the prestigious Katherine Gibbs School in Newark, NJ. Doreen was a devoted wife and mother who took pride in providing a warm and nurturing home every day of the year for her family. She was accomplished at sewing, knitting, rug hooking, cooking and baking, as well being extremely knowledgeable about the history, repair and restoration of antiques. Her hands and feet were rarely still and not a Sunday went by without a “made-from-scratch” dessert for her beloved husband. Few could keep up with her abundance of energy.

For many years Doreen worked at Coffee’s Country Market, Old Lyme, where she greeted everyone with her beautiful smile. All who knew her were attracted her warm, kind and sweet personality.

Doreen will be forever remembered by her husband, Robert; their daughters, Kim Morgan and Heidi Meyer; sister and brother-in-law, Gail and Bud Nemec; six grandchildren, Devon Rust, Lindsey Morgan, Meredith Chapman, Ryan Meyer, Madeleine Meyer Schumacher, Olivia Meyer Schumacher; four great-grandchildren, Levi Morgan, Wyatt Rust, Andy Rust and Tristan Meyer as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. Doreen was predeceased by her son, Keith Meyer and sister, Audrey Lindquist. All whom she loved and touched deeply. She will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate to know her.

Forever in our hearts.

Please join us for a Celebration of Life on Saturday, May 11, at 1 p.m., 8 Oak Tree Lane, Lyme to remember Doreen.

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Shoreline Arts Alliance Now Accepting Applications for ‘Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent’

Kayla Bryan, who was last year’s Instrumental Music Scholarship winner, is shown above performing in the 2018 Top Talent Showcase. Photo © Judith L. Barbosa.

Shoreline Arts Alliance announces the opening of applications for the 39th annual Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent. This program is open to juniors and seniors residing within Shoreline Arts Alliance’s 24 town region and who want to pursue an education in the arts. Applicants can apply in seven different categories of study. The winner in each category will receive a $1,000 scholarship for continuing education and/or supplies as well as a mentorship from a professional artist in the winners chosen field. Applications are now available on the website and will be open until April 24, which will be followed by in-person auditions, interviews, and portfolio reviews on May 3 and 4.

Applications for the scholarships can be found on the Shoreline Arts Alliance website. Applications can be submitted online or through a mail-in form. An in-person audition, interview, and/or portfolio review is required for each application and will take place at the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT on May 3 and 4, 2019. These in person auditions/interviews/portfolio reviews give the students the opportunity to learn about presenting themselves and their art before a jury of professionals.

Students who reside in the 24-town-region (region includes all of Middlesex County, Madison, Guilford, North Branford, Branford, East Haven, Lyme, East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Salem) and are interested in the arts are encouraged to apply. The categories are, Theatre, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Creative Writing, Dance, Visual Art, and, our newest category, the Jeffrey Dobbs Scholarship for Excellence in Painting.

These seven categories are judged by professional, working artists in each field of study. These professionals pay special attention to detail, to the students commitment to the art form of their choosing, and give valuable feedback to each student. Judges choose a winner in each category and they may also choose a special recognition in any given category. Winners and special recognition winners will be asked to participate in a showcase on May 14 at Evergreen Woods.

The Scholarship in the Arts program is meant to educate, encourage, enrich, and engage the students through audition practice, interview practice, and valuable feedback from professional artists. Students who are serious about their careers in the arts will be given important lessons on interviewing, preparing a portfolio for review, and auditioning. This preparation, in a safe and judgement free environment, will allow the students to feel comfortable in future interviewing/auditioning/portfolio review processes.

Visit www.shorelinearts.org/top-talent to learn more about this program, find submission information, and to download the application or apply online. A $25 non-refundable fee is required for each application. Contact Shoreline Arts Alliance for further information by emailing office@shorelinearts.org or calling 203.453.3890.

Editor’s Note: Shoreline Arts Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)3 based in Guilford, CT. Shoreline Arts Alliance is the state appointed arts council for a 24 town region including all of Middlesex County, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, Branford, North Branford, Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, and East Lyme. Shoreline Arts Alliance’s mission is to Transform Lives through the Arts and we do so by educating students, encouraging artists, engaging the community, and enriching the cultural landscape of the Shoreline and beyond. Shoreline Arts Alliance offers free programs and services across the State of Connecticut. To learn more about these programs, visit www.shorelinearts.org or contact office@shorelinearts.org or 203.453.3890

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Talking Transportation: Tolls Are in Trouble

Jim Cameron

Governor Lamont’s tolling plan is in trouble.  I knew it last weekend when I got a call from Dan Malloy.

The former Governor and I know each other going back to his days as Mayor of Stamford, but he’s only called me once before (many years ago when he sought my endorsement in his run for a second term as Governor.)

This time he was calling about my recent column about the Transportation Strategy Board, the panel that 18 years ago was tasked with prioritizing our state’s transportation needs and how to pay for them.

It wasn’t my fawning over then-TSB Chairman Oz Griebel that prompted Malloy’s recent call, but instead my characterization of the “lock box” on the Special Transportation Fund as having, to quote one wag, “more back doors than a hot-sheets motel on the Berlin Turnpike.”  The Wag’s words, not mine.

“That comment was not helpful, Jim,” said Malloy.  “We’re just trying to get this tolls idea across the finish line and your comments aren’t helping.”

That’s when I knew that the tolls plan is in real trouble.  (Why is he calling me, of all people?)  Not that there weren’t earlier warning signs that trouble was brewing.

The first was Governor Lamont’s somersaults on tolling from being in favor, then promising trucks-only tolling and finally settling (again) on tolling all vehicles.  Voters felt betrayed.

Then Lamont pulled millions in car sales taxes from the STF, potentially bankrupting the transportation fund by 2022.

Those moves gave grassroots No-Tolls groups new-found fertile soil, picketing and tapping into the media’s love of controversy by offering up great photo ops.

Sure, the Republicans helped fan the flames with their so-called “information sessions” in local communities, providing a forum to attack Lamont and tolls while resurrecting their “Prioritize Progress” bonding plan, asking our grandkids to pay for the roads and rails we use today.

Then there were the “no tolls votes” in local communities, non-binding of course, but a clear indication of local sentiment.  Even Stamford’s Board of Representatives voted against tolls.  Polling by Sacred Heart University, though perhaps poorly worded, showed 59 percent of respondents were against tolling.

But wait.  Where are the pro-toll voices?

Well, a coalition of Hartford lobbyists did try to organize an expensive campaign to support Lamont’s tolling vision, seeking money from construction companies and consultants who’d make a lot of money if tolls were approved.  But a reporter somehow got hold of their pitch book, detailing the campaign, and it now seems dead in the water.  Talk about “not helpful.”

Now, Governor Lamont is on a Magical Misery Tour, holding press events at every crumbling bridge, viaduct and train platform in the state.  Against those backdrops, he pitches the need for billions in funding achievable only, he says, through tolling.

In the last couple of months, Metro-North has had two major power meltdowns as circuit breakers, transformers and sub-stations have failed, slowing trains and disrupting service.  Commuters take such crises in stride knowing full well they’re riding in shiny new railcars on a century-old railroad crumbling beneath them.

But people upstate couldn’t care less.  It’s not their problem, so why should they pay tolls or support mass transit?

Cynicism abounds that toll revenues would really be spent on transportation and not get diverted.  Nobody trusts Hartford.

Tolls, my friends, are in trouble.

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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Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ to be Performed This Afternoon by Cappella Cantorum

The conductor for Cappella Cantorum’s April concert will be Simon Holt.

This spring brings a treat to area concert-goers: Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will direct the chorus and professional soloists and orchestra.

Audiences will enjoy Mendelssohn’s lyricism and use of orchestral color in this Romantic oratorio that depicts the events in the life of the prophet Elijah. Chorus selections include the well-known anthems, “Lift Thine Eyes to the Mountains” and “He, Watching Over Israel.”

A reception will follow the concert.

Tickets are $30 purchased in advance, $35 at the door. They may be purchased from chorus members or on-line at www.CappellaCantorum.org.

For more information, visit the website or call 860-941-8243.

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ECSO and Chorus To Perform Free Concert of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ This Evening

Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) and Chorus will perform Mozart’s Requiem at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, Conn., on Sunday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. General admission seating is free and the doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation has given a significant grant to ensure that this concert is an accessible benefit to all of Southeastern Connecticut and beyond.

The Foundation had the following statement: “Kathryn Lord, Jeffrey Lord and Joel Suisman, Trustees of The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation, are excited to have offered grant support to the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra to once again bring its production of Mozart’s Requiem to the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. This free concert is a wonderful community activity for our Norwich neighbors to enjoy. The music, singing and ethereal acoustics provided by the Cathedral venue make this event a real ‘happening’ for Norwich.”

The Knights of Columbus have given additional significant sponsorship to make this event possible, as well as the American Group.

Soloists who will join the performance include soprano Carley DeFranco, baritone Gregory Flower, tenor Ethan DePuy, and mezzo-soprano Caroline Olsen.

Caleb Bailey, Executive Director of the ECSO commented, “We have a strong commitment toward enabling access to members of our community, and free concerts help realize this goal, along with our reduced-price offerings. We are so grateful for this grant from the Lord Foundation which helps us continue to share the music with our region in exciting ways.”

Goodwill donations collected at the event will benefit the ECSO and the St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich, CT.

The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus (ECSC) was founded as a subsidiary of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in 1967 with Connecticut College Choral Director James F. Armstrong directing. The ECSC is comprised of approximately 80 volunteer, auditioned singers of all ages. They perform with the ECSO annually in a subscription concert as well as independently in two choral repertoire concerts, a December holiday concert, and Palm Sunday concerts in Norwich.

Following a recent search for a new director, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus (ECSC) has appointed Wendy K. Moy as its Director. Ms. Moy succeeds past ECSC Director Mark Singleton, who led the Chorus for nearly 20 years, and heralded in a period of growth and artistic vibrancy.

The Ecso’s 72nd season’s lineup, curated by Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, includes major repertoire selections from Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Mahler and many more. These performances will bring a wonderful range of sounds to the Garde stage in New London. In addition to these timeless composers, a new work by Michael Torke has been commissioned, which will feature violinist Tessa Lark performing a bluegrass-style concerto.

Along with the esteemed guest artists who will grace the front of the stage will be many familiar faces from within the ECSO’s own sections. Stephan Tieszen, the ECSO’s Concertmaster for 30 years; principal bass, Tom Green; and principal violist, Barbara Wiggin, will all make featured appearances throughout the season. The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus will join the ECSO for Verdi’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Mass in C Major.

Visit www.ectsymphony.com for more information and follow the ECSO on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) @ectsymphony

The ECSO offers a range of affordable seating options from $62 to as low as $12 for attendance to one concert. The ECSO will continue to offer those under 40 years of age and active or retired military members $12 tickets in premium sections. Patrons can also take advantage of the Pick 4 subscription, which enables people to schedule ECSO concerts around their busy lives.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1946, the mission of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, educate, and connect our communities through live orchestral music.

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RTPEC Introduces ‘Birding Basics’ This Morning at Rocky Neck State Park

When will the ospreys return to nest at Rocky Neck State Park?

This morning, Sunday, April 14, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, a naturalist from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center located in Old Lyme will lead a group looking for early spring migrants and welcoming back Ospreys to their breeding grounds. Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme is an ideal habitat for a wide variety of bird species.

Join this group to explore these habitats and their occupants.

This program is free, but you are requested to register here

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Letter From Paris: And So It Goes On … Brexit, That Is

Nicole Prévost Logan

“Order, Order!” barked John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons before announcing the results of the third-time-around vote on Theresa May’s Brexit “deal” .  “The ayes to the right 286, the noes to the left 344,  the left have it.”

It was that fateful day, March 29 – chosen by the Prime Minister as the deadline to decide on the “divorce” of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).  The masterful and funny Speaker was able to control his troops and even to provoke laughter, telling one Member of Parliament (MP), “Get a grip, man, do yoga, it will be beneficial to you.”

In retrospect, not much progress had been made to resolve the Brexit issue on the British side since the June 23, 2016 referendum. It seemed that the government was taking its time and fantasizing about the legal elbow room it actually had to make decisions. (See my previous articles published on 3/5/2016; 4/6/2017 and 12/29/18)

Action in the House of Commons started really in earnest on Nov. 15, 2018 when Theresa May’s original deal was voted down. A second vote on the same motion, and a third with almost identical text were also rejected by the MPs. By drawing red lines, the tenacious but inflexible Prime Minister made it hard for herself to negotiate.

During the winter months, the parliament at Westminster offered the world a spectacle of one “decisive week” after another with votes ending in an inability to reach a majority. By March 14, Theresa May had lost her voice and the headlines in the press read “Game over.”

On the eve of the March 29 deadline, the situation turned surrealistic with two superimposed pictures (to use the words of Le Monde special envoy to London) of a vote on May’s deal and eight others on alternative proposals the MPs had organized on their own.  In a dramatic gesture, Theresa May used her last joker – stepping down from office – in case her deal was supported.   

The Prime Minister described the situation as “the end of a process” with the MPs having said no to everything : to the deal, to the absence of a deal, to Brexit, to Article 50 itself, to the eight separate proposals. In the face of this total collapse of a possible way out of this impasse, Donald Tusk, European Council President announced an extraordinary summit in Brussels on April 10.

A surprising amount of information and live coverage is now appearing on the French media,  shedding a new light on Brexit.

One report showed to what extent the public opinion was in fact manipulated.  More than 80 percent of the British press was hostile to Europe and contained “fake news” items.  The “Brexiteers” promised that the Commonwealth would save the UK. The famous red bus of Boris Johnson traveled throughout the country, displaying the number of 350 million pounds sterling ($455 million) in giant letters . That is the amount “BoJo” (Boris Johnson’s nickname) claimed that the UK is sending the EU every week instead of using it to fund the National Health Service (NHS). 

A Canada-based web site called AggregateiQ, created by Dominic Cummings, utilized private data collected from social networks and used it to “microtarget” individuals with “dark ads.” The “Vote Leave” site used a strategy comparable to that used by Cambridge Analytica, a company heavily implicated in the 2016 US election manipulation.

Other reports helped better understand why re-establishing a border between the two Irelands was a visceral impossibility. The Good Friday agreement in 1998 brought peace back but the catholic and protestant communities in Belfast, are still separated.

In this fragile context, the Irish people fear that a 300-mile external border with the EU would jeopardize the hard-won peace agreement. Trying to solve the problem of a border is an attempt at squaring a circle. The only solution might be a border at the bottom of the Irish Sea.  The backstop which allows the border to remain open until a final treaty is signed, is only a temporary solution.

It was not until the 11th hour – or less than one week before the March 29 deadline – that a significant turn occurred in London.  Prime Minister May entered into talks with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, in spite of their sharp disagreements.  It was such a breakthrough that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond declared on April 5, “the threat of the UK crashing out of the Union is heavily diminished.”  The Conservative party began to lean toward a “soft Brexit” and the possibility of the UK remaining in the Custom Union.

During all these months, the Europeans showed a consensual unity.  Their only caveat being that another delay would have to be justified by a clear plan such as general elections or a second referendum.  Their patience though began to wear out by early April as some divergences of opinion emerged. 

The priority for Angela Merkel is to avoid a no deal Brexit and she will bend over backwards to make that happen.   Although sharing many views with the UK in economy or trade, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, confirmed his alignment with the collective position. 

The “flextension” of one year suggested by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, might not appeal to everybody. President Macron and EU Commissioner Juncker sound tougher on more delays. However, Macron reaffirmed on April 1, that he will stand by the decision made by Brussels and will not use his veto.   

The repeated postponements requested by Prime Minister May (April 12, May 23, June 30) forced the MPs to cancel their Easter recess. Much more serious, is the imbroglio caused by the colliding of the Brexit discussions with the European elections scheduled to take place May 26.

This long saga turned rather nasty when Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, ultra Brexiteer, tweeted on April 5, “Let us stay [in Europe] and this way we will be able to damage the Union from the inside and oppose our veto on any Brussels decision”.

And so, the suspense goes on.  During these final hours, the two Houses of Parliament are scrambling to find a solution and seem to agree that a no-deal Brexit is unacceptable.  The Europeans do not want to push the UK out of the Union.

Chances are that the outcome will be Britain remaining in the Custom union, an à la carte solution, which was almost obvious from the beginning.  The British should take heart.  It only took 22 years for Norway to establish relations with the EU through the European Economic Area (EEA), and 29 years for Canada to negotiate with Europe through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)!

Since all the thorny issues – the City, fishing , citizens’ rights, Gibraltar, etc – are included in the 27 pages of the non legally-binding Political Declarations, a  second part of Article 50 (in other words, swept under the rug ) will have to be negotiated later . Brexit will continue to haunt both the divided British opinion and also Europe .

Some may think it is the UK’s vocation is to be independent from Europe and turned toward the rest of the world.  It certainly seems British people consider EU membership a straight-jacket. Interestingly, these are the same reasons General Charles de Gaulle gave persistently more than 50 years ago as to why he was against the original entry of Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC).

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Lyme Public Hall, Town of Lyme Celebrate Earth Day with Town-wide Clean Up Through April 22

The Lyme Public Hall Association and the Town of Lyme are currently sponsoring a town-wide roadside clean-up through April 22 in celebration of Earth Day.  Plastic trash bags are available free to the public at the Hadlyme Country Store at the corner of Ferry Rd. and Rte. 82.  Bags can also be obtained at the Reynolds Store at 254 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, the Lyme Public Library, and the Lyme Town Hall.

Residents are invited to collect litter that has accumulated along the roads over the winter months. This year there are also be blue bags available for  recyclable bottles and cans. The Town of Lyme will pick up bags left along the roadside.

For more information, visit lymepublichall.org or email wdenow@comcast.com.

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Letter From Paris: And So It Goes On … Brexit, That Is

Nicole Prévost Logan

“Order, Order!” barked John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons before announcing the results of the third-time-around vote on Theresa May’s Brexit “deal” .  “The ayes to the right 286, the noes to the left 344,  the left have it.”

It was that fateful day, March 29 – chosen by the Prime Minister as the deadline to decide on the “divorce” of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).  The masterful and funny Speaker was able to control his troops and even to provoke laughter, telling one Member of Parliament (MP), “Get a grip, man, do yoga, it will be beneficial to you.”

In retrospect, not much progress had been made to resolve the Brexit issue on the British side since the June 23, 2016 referendum. It seemed that the government was taking its time and fantasizing about the legal elbow room it actually had to make decisions. (See my previous articles published on 3/5/2016; 4/6/2017 and 12/29/18)

Action in the House of Commons started really in earnest on Nov. 15, 2018 when Theresa May’s original deal was voted down. A second vote on the same motion, and a third with almost identical text were also rejected by the MPs. By drawing red lines, the tenacious but inflexible Prime Minister made it hard for herself to negotiate.

During the winter months, the parliament at Westminster offered the world a spectacle of one “decisive week” after another with votes ending in an inability to reach a majority. By March 14, Theresa May had lost her voice and the headlines in the press read “Game over.”

On the eve of the March 29 deadline, the situation turned surrealistic with two superimposed pictures (to use the words of Le Monde special envoy to London) of a vote on May’s deal and eight others on alternative proposals the MPs had organized on their own.  In a dramatic gesture, Theresa May used her last joker – stepping down from office – in case her deal was supported.   

The Prime Minister described the situation as “the end of a process” with the MPs having said no to everything : to the deal, to the absence of a deal, to Brexit, to Article 50 itself, to the eight separate proposals. In the face of this total collapse of a possible way out of this impasse, Donald Tusk, European Council President announced an extraordinary summit in Brussels on April 10.

A surprising amount of information and live coverage is now appearing on the French media,  shedding a new light on Brexit.

One report showed to what extent the public opinion was in fact manipulated.  More than 80 percent of the British press was hostile to Europe and contained “fake news” items.  The “Brexiteers” promised that the Commonwealth would save the UK. The famous red bus of Boris Johnson traveled throughout the country, displaying the number of 350 million pounds sterling ($455 million) in giant letters . That is the amount “BoJo” (Boris Johnson’s nickname) claimed that the UK is sending the EU every week instead of using it to fund the National Health Service (NHS). 

A Canada-based web site called AggregateiQ, created by Dominic Cummings, utilized private data collected from social networks and used it to “microtarget” individuals with “dark ads.” The “Vote Leave” site used a strategy comparable to that used by Cambridge Analytica, a company heavily implicated in the 2016 US election manipulation.

Other reports helped better understand why re-establishing a border between the two Irelands was a visceral impossibility. The Good Friday agreement in 1998 brought peace back but the catholic and protestant communities in Belfast, are still separated.

In this fragile context, the Irish people fear that a 300-mile external border with the EU would jeopardize the hard-won peace agreement. Trying to solve the problem of a border is an attempt at squaring a circle. The only solution might be a border at the bottom of the Irish Sea.  The backstop which allows the border to remain open until a final treaty is signed, is only a temporary solution.

It was not until the 11th hour – or less than one week before the March 29 deadline – that a significant turn occurred in London.  Prime Minister May entered into talks with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, in spite of their sharp disagreements.  It was such a breakthrough that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond declared on April 5, “the threat of the UK crashing out of the Union is heavily diminished.”  The Conservative party began to lean toward a “soft Brexit” and the possibility of the UK remaining in the Custom Union.

During all these months, the Europeans showed a consensual unity.  Their only caveat being that another delay would have to be justified by a clear plan such as general elections or a second referendum.  Their patience though began to wear out by early April as some divergences of opinion emerged. 

The priority for Angela Merkel is to avoid a no deal Brexit and she will bend over backwards to make that happen.   Although sharing many views with the UK in economy or trade, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, confirmed his alignment with the collective position. 

The “flextension” of one year suggested by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, might not appeal to everybody. President Macron and EU Commissioner Juncker sound tougher on more delays. However, Macron reaffirmed on April 1, that he will stand by the decision made by Brussels and will not use his veto.   

The repeated postponements requested by Prime Minister May (April 12, May 23, June 30) forced the MPs to cancel their Easter recess. Much more serious, is the imbroglio caused by the colliding of the Brexit discussions with the European elections scheduled to take place May 26.

This long saga turned rather nasty when Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, ultra Brexiteer, tweeted on April 5, “Let us stay [in Europe] and this way we will be able to damage the Union from the inside and oppose our veto on any Brussels decision”.

And so, the suspense goes on.  During these final hours, the two Houses of Parliament are scrambling to find a solution and seem to agree that a no-deal Brexit is unacceptable.  The Europeans do not want to push the UK out of the Union.

Chances are that the outcome will be Britain remaining in the Custom union, an à la carte solution, which was almost obvious from the beginning.  The British should take heart.  It only took 22 years for Norway to establish relations with the EU through the European Economic Area (EEA), and 29 years for Canada to negotiate with Europe through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)!

Since all the thorny issues – the City, fishing , citizens’ rights, Gibraltar, etc – are included in the 27 pages of the non legally-binding Political Declarations, a  second part of Article 50 (in other words, swept under the rug ) will have to be negotiated later . Brexit will continue to haunt both the divided British opinion and also Europe .

Some may think it is the UK’s vocation is to be independent from Europe and turned toward the rest of the world.  It certainly seems British people consider EU membership a straight-jacket. Interestingly, these are the same reasons General Charles de Gaulle gave persistently more than 50 years ago as to why he was against the original entry of Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC).

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Important Documentary on Anxiety in Kids to be Screened; Includes Interview with Olympian Michael Phelps

An interview with Michael Phelps is featured in ‘Angst,’ which will be shown at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School tomorrow evening. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) is sparking a community conversation about anxiety through a screening of a brand-new documentary, Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.  On Tuesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m., LYSB will host a special screening of the documentary at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium to open up a dialogue between local families, community leaders and experts.

The event will feature a viewing of the 56-minute film, followed by an informative panel discussion.

Indieflix producers Scilla Andreen and Karin Gornick have one goal: to start a global conversation and raise awareness around anxiety. Through candid interviews, they utilize the power of film to tell the stories of many kids and teens who discuss their anxiety and its impacts on their lives and relationships, as well as how they’ve found solutions and hope.

The film also includes a special interview with Olympian Michael Phelps, a mental health advocate and one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

In addition, the documentary provides discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, along with the help, resources and tools available to address the condition.

Part of the beauty of this film is the openness of the children and young adults featured; for some of them, the Angst project marks the first time they are publicly sharing their experiences with anxiety. Our hope is that their candidness and bravery will inspire our community to do the same.

While Angst documents the struggles some people have with anxiety, it also reveals their hope for the future. Noah, a teenager in the film, describes it this way: “Anxiety doesn’t define me. It’s not just a curse; it also gives me strength.”

“Everybody needs to know that anxiety disorders are real, common and treatable instead of viewing them as a personal choice or something to be ashamed of,” said Dr. Jerry Bubrick, Senior Director of Anxiety Disorders Center, Child Mind Institute. “Getting help early is crucial in giving people the tools they need to feel better. We just need to start the conversation.”

“We felt it was important to make a movie that could raise awareness to open up the conversation and provide hope,” said Andreen, IndieFlix CEO and Angst Producer. “So many people struggle with anxiety and have trouble talking about it. We want to change that.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., impacting 54 percent of females and 46 percent of males, with age seven being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Everyone involved in the development of Angst has a personal experience with anxiety – from the producers to the interviewees.

“The conversation surrounding mental health really hits home for me,” said Michael Phelps. “Many people don’t understand how debilitating mental illness truly can be, and even more than that, how common it is, yet people are afraid to have the serious discussions about it. I welcomed the opportunity to be a part of Angst to further the dialogue around mental health and to help people understand the impact anxiety has on our mental state and encourage people, especially kids, to ask for help.”

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Director Mary Seidner commented, “We have seen a steady increase in the number of inquiries from parents whose children are experiencing issues with anxiety.  We hope the Angst documentary will open a discussion in our community and give parents tools to help their children manage anxiety.”  In addition to the community screening on April 9, LYSB is sponsoring a screening during the school day for Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on April 11 as part of the school’s Wellness Day.

 Angst can be viewed in screenings held in schools and communities and is not available online.  This program is free and open to the public, and sponsored by LYSB’s Timothy P. Buckley Memorial Fund.

For more information contact Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau at 860-434-7208 or www.lysb.org

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New Orleans Musicians Offer Free Concert This Evening to Benefit Old Lyme Church’s Immigration Assistance Fund

Tom McDermott

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) has announced that News Orleans musicians Tom McDermott and Ned Sublette will perform a free public concert at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 6, in the FCCOL Meetinghouse, to benefit the church’s Immigration Assistance Fund. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The concert will be followed by a free pizza dinner held in the Fellowship Hall supplied by the Pizza Corner restaurant in New Britain, which is owned and operated by Malik Naveed bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf, two local residents who sought sanctuary at FCCOL and later received a temporary stay of deportation allowing them to pursue their efforts to obtain legal status in the U.S.

Admission to both the concert and dinner is free, but donations will be welcomed during a free will offering. All proceeds from the evening will go towards funding the church’s efforts to help immigrants like Malik and Zahida, and the Torres family from Waterbury.

Earlier this year, the church announced it was working with immigration experts to return Glenda Cardena Caballero to her husband Miguel Torres while her deportation case winds its way through the immigration appeals process. Last August, Miguel and their two children Nathaly (11) and Keneth (7) – all of whom are U.S. citizens – watched helplessly as Glenda was taken from them by ICE, placed on an airplane and deported to Honduras.

Glenda had been in the US since 2005; she had complied with all of ICE’s directives; and her case was under appeal in the court system. Despite following immigration rules and regulations, ICE agents deported her suddenly and arbitrarily, leaving her family bereft and heartbroken.

The church’s goal is to bring Glenda home to her family in the U.S. while her case continues to wind its way through the appeals process.

McDermott is an internationally recognized pianist and composer, and a fixture in the world of New Orleans music. His work was featured in the HBO series “Treme” – where he played himself several times throughout the series. He has released 17 albums, including 90 original songs – in styles ranging from jazz to Brazilian choro, to ragtime, to swing, to classical compositions.

Mcdermott has played Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, most states in America and a couple dozen countries abroad. He’s been reviewed a half-dozen times by the “New York Times,” as well as the “Wall Street Journal,” “Rolling Stone” and other media; and has lectured at Harvard on New Orleans, American music and his unique house.

Sublette is an American composer, musician, record producer and author. His books include “The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans” and “The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square.” His most recent book, published with his wife Constance, is “The American Slave Coast,” which documents the slave-breeding industry that flourished in the 19th century US. Musically, he is known for fusing country-western and afro-Caribbean styles in his albums “Cowboy Rumba” (which reached Number 1 on the World Music Charts Europe) and “Kiss You Down South.”

His music label, Qbadisc, releases Cuban music in the US. In 2006, Willie Nelson released Sublette’s song “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other” in the wake of the success of “Brokeback Mountain.” For the past several years, Sublette has organized and led “Postmambo” tours of Cuba and Haiti, exploring the intersections of music, dance and ritual, and how those expressions have shaped our world.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari

“I’m not trying to predict the future,” Yuval Harari argued in an Edge (an international group of the curious – see www.edge.org) discussion with Daniel Kahneman (March 5, 2015). “I’m trying to identify the horizon of possibilities that we are facing.”

Professor Harari, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an Oxford PhD, wrote this incredibly imaginative alternate view of the entire 200,000-year history of our species, Homo sapiens, on this earth, a mammal with a uniquely large brain. He suggests we have survived and prospered, perhaps too much, through the use of myths: “large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths,” even though we now know, “there are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.”

Harari re-thinks just about every “myth” that confuses our practices as human beings.

This “history” challenges our numerous “misconceptions” by stepping back from all we thought we knew, separating the growth of human existence through three “revolutions” of human existence: the cognitive (when we learned to think and communicate), the agricultural (when we shifted from nomadic movement to a more sedentary life), and the scientific (when we began asking “why” and “how.”).

In doing so he manages to skewer, with both rational argument and good humor, most of our cherished beliefs. And how little we actually know about our predecessors, saying, “a curtain of silence shrouds tens of thousands of years of history,” simply because of our lack of language and surviving relics.

What about the disappearances of many earlier species? We’ve been taught that climatic conditions or perhaps asteroids were the causes. Harari argues that we, homo sapiens, are more likely responsible for their demise than crashes or dramatic climate changes (ice ages, he notes, have occurred about once every 100,000 years). Our earth’s climate “is in constant flux” and most species have been able to adapt.

But many could not adapt to us!

As a student of risk management, I was interested to learn that our Agricultural Revolution, beginning about 12,000 years ago also increased our concern about our future, linked with the new “fundamental uncertainty of agriculture.” That is when we constructed “an imagined order.” Harari cites both the Code of Hammurabi (circa 1776 BCE) and the American Declaration of Independence (1776) as “imagined orders” that enabled “us to cooperate effectively and forge a better society.”

Acceptance of these “imagined orders” became “ embedded in the natural world and shaped our desires.” They “existed within the community network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals.” Imagined orders both free and imprison us …

They are, Harari argues, how humans “organized themselves into mass cooperative networks.”  They result in “imagined hierarchies” and “unjust discrimination” such as the Hindu caste system and the Babylonian separation of human beings into “superior men,” “commoners,” and “slaves.”

But, for example, do the “fundamental values” of equality and individual freedom (liberty) contradict each other? Harari suggests they do but that “this is no defect. Such contradictions are an inseparable part of every human culture. In fact, they are culture’s engines, responsible for the creativity and dynamism of our species.”

Money is also a shared myth. It is wholly imaginary but it does create healthy inter-dependence. Money is a “purely mental revolution” to “represent systemically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services.”

Today, “more than 90 percent of all money – more than $50 trillion appearing in our accounts — exists only on computer servers.” Bitcoin, indeed! Money is the “apogee of human tolerance,” based on two “universal principles: convertibility and trust.”

Harari steps back and also studies religion, “a system of human norms and values founded on a belief in a superhuman order.” Religion moves from animism, to polytheism, to monotheism, to dualism, to socialist humanism, and, most recently, to evolutionary humanism. It appears to be a human construct.

Questions always remain: “Are we out of the global economic crisis, or is the worst yet to come? Will China continue growing until it becomes the leading superpower? Will the United States lose its hegemony? Is the upsurge of monotheistic fundamentalism the wave of the future or a local whirlpool of little long-term significance? Are we headed toward ecological disaster or technological paradise?”

Our most recent “revolution,” the Scientific, says Harari, began on July 16, 1945 at 05:29:53 with the explosion of the first atomic bomb. It also coincided with the explosion of population: 500 million in 1500 and 7.3 billion in 2015. One of the keys to our scientific progress has been “our willingness to admit ignorance,” leading to insatiable curiosity and constructive, mathematical observation. But we also have an “obsession with military technology.”

Is it time to “rethink the idea of continual progress?”

Are we obsessed with “growth?” Harari answers, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, the modern economy has been growing like a hormone-soused teenager.”  But is perpetual growth an illusion or “will this idea burst like all bubbles?”

His reply: “When growth becomes a supreme good, unrestricted by any other ethical considerations, it can easily lead to catastrophe.” Or will “ecological turmoil endanger the survival of homo sapiens itself?” Will only rats and cockroaches survive our insanity, as also suggested by Elizabeth Kolbert in The Sixth Extinction?

And what about “the pursuit of happiness?” Harari suggests a biological approach to happiness, that our natural system releases serotonin and other organic compounds to produce “ephemeral eddys of good fortune,” but never long-lasting and always returning us to a median level of euphoria. “Happiness” is, to him, entirely subjective, despite the story of Huxley’s “soma.”

How will it all end? Will advancing technology produce cyborgs of all of us, enabling individuals to “live” for hundreds of years, or will we simply destroy our species, leaving smiling cockroaches?

Harari’s last questions are: “What do we want to become?” and “What do we want to want?” Unanswerable, of course, but we are innately curious and creative!

Editor’s Note: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is published by HarperCollins, New York 2015.

Felix Kloman

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, 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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Old Lyme BOS Schedules Special Meeting to Announce Citizen of the Year; Region 18 BOE Sets Date for Budget Referendum

UPDATED: The date of the referendum was incorrect in our original article.  We apologize for the error.

At their meeting on April 1, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen settled on Tuesday, April 16, to hold a Special Town Meeting to announce the 2018 Citizen of the Year.  The announcement, which is normally made at the end of January, had to be postponed this year.

Also on the agenda will be two additional items as follows:

  • To consider and act on a proposal for the Town of Old Lyme to add 200 s.f. of Town-owned land to the area it is currently leasing out at the Boughton Road Fire Station at 189 Boston Post Road, Old Lyme, CT., to allow for an additional antenna to be installed on the cell tower now on the site and to make room for supporting equipment to be kept/ installed there.
  • To consider and act on proposed amendments to the Town’s Solid Waste Ordinance.

Copies of the proposed lease amendment and of a plan showing the current and proposed additional leased area and copies of the proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance are available on the Town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, and in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall during normal business hours.

Also on April 1, at the Public Hearing on Region #18’s 2019-20 proposed budget, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education set the date for the referendum on the budget as Tuesday, May, 7, with the District Budget Meeting the evening before on Monday, May 6, in the Center School Board of Education Conference Room at 6:30 p.m.

All residents of Lyme and Old Lyme, who are age 18 or over and US citizens, are eligible to vote in the referendum.  Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.at Lyme Town Hall for Lyme residents and Cross Lane Firehouse for Old Lyme residents.

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