February 15, 2019

Wildcats Boys Continue Spectacular Season

Aedan Using was the leading scorer  with 21 points against Hale Ray last night.

Old Lyme notched another victory last night at Hale Ray winning by 66 points to 47, leaving them undefeated in the Shoreline Conference.

The Wildcats were led by junior Aedan Using, who scored 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Quinn Romeo added 16 points and 6 steals, while

Connor Hogan chipped in with 12.

The Wildcats are now 15-1 overall and 15-0 in the Shoreline Conference.

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‘The Kate’ Hosts Dazzling Oscar Night Party, Feb. 24, Tickets on Sale Now

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) transforms into a glittering, Hollywood-esque venue for its Oscar Night Party on Sunday, Feb. 24 beginning at 7 p.m. at the center located at 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook. This annual red-carpet fund raising event honors the Kate’s 12-time Oscar Nominated, 4-time-winning namesake and makes for an entertaining evening.  Proceeds support quality performing arts and cultural presentations at the Kate throughout the year.

“We always look forward to this event to celebrate Katharine Hepburn’s achievements,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director. “This year is extra special as we’ll be rooting for our friend and 2017 Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award recipient, Glenn Close, who is nominated for Best Actress for ‘The Wife’.”

Delicious hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts are provided by Fresh Salt and a cash bar is available throughout the evening as the 91st Academy Awards ceremony airs live in surround sound on the Kate’s big screen. Guests will walk the red carpet, pose for photos, and have the chance to hold a real Oscar, thanks to Devin Carney, state representative and grandson of the late award-winning actor Art Carney. Carney is emcee for the event and a member of the Kate’s board of trustees.

An auction and raffle add to the fun of the evening, as well as Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook’s “Mystery Red Box” activity. Sixty jewelry boxes wrapped in vibrant red paper and white bows are available for purchase with each box containing a Becker’s gift certificate and one grand prize box holding a beautiful piece of jewelry.

The Oscar Night Party is sponsored by H&R Block of Old Saybrook, Secor Volvo, Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Comcast, Gulick & Co., Pough Interiors, and Saybrook Point Inn Marina & Spa.

For information and tickets for all shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call 860-510-0453.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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Rep. Carney, Sen. Formica Host Office Hours This Evening in Old Lyme

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

State Rep. Carney (R-23rd) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) will offer residents of Lyme and Old Lyme an opportunity to meet with them on Monday, Feb. 11, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Community Room  in a relaxed setting and discuss any legislative or local issues, including the 2019 legislative session.

All residents are encouraged to attend.

Those who are unable to attend but would like to contact Rep. Carney may do so at (800) 842-1423 or by email at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov.

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LYSB, LOL Schools Host Important Social Media Awareness Session Tonight for Parents

Does your child have a cell-phone? Then this information session is for you …

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools co-host an important information session for parents Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium.

The presenter will be Trooper Kate Cummings from the CT State Police, who is also a Statewide DARE Coordinator. 

Topics that Cummings will cover during the presentation include: 

  • Current social media trends and adolescent behavior online 
  • What is your digital footprint? 
  • Cell phone abuse 
  • Resources to keep your family safe. 

This program is free and open to the public. It is appropriate for parents and all adults who care about children. 

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Talking Transportation: Why 30-30-30 Doesn’t Add Up

How would you like a faster ride on Metro-North?  Who wouldn’t?!  How about a 30-minute ride from Hartford to New Haven, from New Haven to Stamford or from Stamford to Grand Central?

That’s the vision announced by Governor Lamont in his inaugural address.  It’s known as the 30-30-30 plan and sounds good compared to current running times (52 minutes, 55 minutes and 48 minutes respectively.)  But how can such vast improvements be done?  Ask Joe McGee, VP of the Fairfield Business Council, who’s been pitching this idea for years.

So confident was McGee of this concept that his Council recently paid $400,000 to Ty Lin Consulting of San Francisco to study it.  And which railroad expert did Ty Lin hire to spearhead the study?  Joseph Giulietti, former President of Metro-North … recently named as Connecticut’s new Commissioner of Transportation.

Though the Ty Lin study has yet to be released, McGee admits that the 30-30-30 idea is more of a goal than a possibility.  Yet, for as little as $75 to $95 million, Ty Lin thinks significant improvements can be made in speeding up service by accelerating Metro-North’s return to a “state of good repair.”

When he was President of Metro-North, Giulietti said it would take five years to get the railroad back in shape after years of neglect.  Today, Metro-North says a more realistic time frame is 10 years.

By fixing rail ties and overhead power lines to improve speeds on curves, by restoring the fourth track east of Milford and by adding express trains (at a premium fare), McGee claims service will improve quickly, maybe shaving 24 minutes off of the current 103 minute running time from New Haven to Grand Central. That would make it a 79-minute run, but not 60.

But wait.  If this was Giulietti’s idea as a consultant, why didn’t he make that happen when he was running Metro-North?  Or how will he now, as Commissioner of the CDOT, get his old railroad to adopt Ty Lin’s (his) ideas?  I asked, but he isn’t saying.

What seasoned professionals at CDOT have told me is that the Ty Lin ideas will cost billions of dollars and take a decade.  In other words … there’s no quick, cheap fix.

Meantime, Metro-North is planning to add six to 10 minutes of running time to all New Haven line trains for the spring timetable to better reflect the reality of current delays due to work.  For 2018, the railroad had only 88 percent on time performance (OTP).  By extending the train schedule on paper, OTP will go up and riders will have a more dependable, albeit slower, ride.

Lengthening running times, even on paper, “is not acceptable,” says McGee who hopes to release his Ty Lin study in about two weeks, fully expecting huge pushback from the railroad and east-coast consultants beholden to the MTA.

But it’s really the FRA (the Federal Railroad Administration) that’s the biggest block to faster trains.  The slower speeds they required after the 2013 Bridgeport and Spuyten Duyvil derailments won’t be raised until they’re convinced the railroad is safe.

So let the debate begin:  is 30-30-30 possible or just a fantasy?  Did Giulietti create himself a nightmare in proposing as a consultant what he may not be able to deliver as CDOT Commissioner?

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

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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Old Lyme Wins Shoreline Gymnastics Title

Lyme-Old Lyme emerged as Shoreline champions yesterday with 124.9 points at the end of the 1st Annual Shoreline Gymnastic Championships. Valley Regional were runners-up with 119.25, and Haddam-Killingworth a distant third with 66.9 points.
Britney Detuzzi of Old Lyme came in 1st place and was named AA Shoreline Champion with 35.5 points. Her full results were 1st in the vault with 9.3 points, 1st on the bars with 8.5, 1st on the beam with 8.6, and 1st on the floor exercises with 9.1.
Maria Denya, also of Old Lyme took 2nd place and was named AA Shoreline Champion with 33.1 points.Her full results were 3rd in the vault with 8.1, 2nd in the bars with 8.1, 1st on the beam with 8.6, and 2nd on the floor exercises with 8.3.
Leah Frantz of Valley Regional gained  3rd Place and was named AA Shoreline Champion with 31.85 points. She came 2nd in the vault with 8.3 points.

Chole Cahill of Old Lyme came third  on the beam with 8.2 points and took third place in the floor exercises with 8.1 points.

Congratulations, Wildcats!
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Movement to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags in CT Gathers Momentum, Petition Started

When we published a piece about Connecticut towns banning single-use plastic bags, we received an overwhelming response on our Facebook post about the article from our readers that they supported the idea of Old Lyme enacting this policy.

We’ve just learned that today two legislators, long-time environmental advocate Rep. Jonathan Steinberg and newcomer Sen. Will Haskell, will stand together at Compo Beach in Westport at 1 p.m. to announce a statewide effort to ban single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. (Attendees will congregate near the cannons)

Connecticut uses more than 400 million single-use plastic bags each year, and many of them wind up in Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River, and waterways across the state. They can have devastating effects on our wildlife and environment, and it’s time to put a stop to their menace.

Rep. Steinberg and Sen. Haskell are working hard to eliminate single-use plastic bags in Connecticut. Join them today so we can show the entire General Assembly that the movement is gaining momentum.

You can also sign a petition to ban single-use plastic bags in our state.

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See ‘Anything Goes’ Before it Goes! Today at 2 or 7pm

Philip Sweeney, as Billy Crocker, and Elyza Learned as Reno, play the lead roles in ‘Anything Goes,’ which opens tonight at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

It’s Delightful, It’s Delicious … it’s Anything Goes!

An exciting moment for the ocean liner’s passengers in Anything Goes.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s (LOLHS) spring musical Anything Goes opens tonight: Welcome Aboard!

The full cast of ‘Anything Goes’ in the dress rehearsal earlier this week.

Anything Goes follows nightclub singer Reno Sweeney on her voyage from New York City to England aboard the ocean liner the S.S. American. Reno’s friend Billy Crocker, a stockbroker, has stowed away aboard the ship in pursuit of his love, Hope Harcourt.

‘Anything Goes’ Director and professional opera singer Brian Cheney, second from right, gives some advice to Thomas Pennie (center) who plays Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in the musical.

The only problem is that Hope is already engaged to a rich British man, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.

Rehearsing a scene are from left to right, Margot Paynter (back), Olivia Rugg, who plays Evangeline Harcourt, Liam Clark who approses the role of Eli Whitney, Caroline King (back), the male lead, Billy Crocker, played by Philip Sweeney, Maggie Rommel, Madison Babcock, Sadie Frankel (black/white striped sweater in the back-plays Henrietta T. Dobson), and Hannah Morrison (red shirt-plays Hope Harcourt

The show includes memorable songs by Cole Porter that many audience members will recognize, such as I Get a Kick Out of You, It’s De-Lovely, You’re the Top, and of course, Anything Goes. 

Joining the love triangle is Moonface Martin, Public Enemy #13 who has boarded the boat disguised as a minister, and his sidekick Erma. Together with the help of the dancing sailors and two Chinese gangsters, Reno and Moonface must assist Billy on his mission to win back Hope’s heart.

Anything Goes features choreography by Bethany Haslam of The Dance Center of Old Lyme, set construction by LOLHS Art Department Chair William Allik, costume design by Denise Golden, music direction by LOL Middle School Chorus teacher Laura Gladd, and direction by Brian Cheney.

Although this is Cheney’s first time directing a production at LOLHS, he has been the assistant director to Laura Gladd at LOL Middle School for the past few years as well as directed many other high school and college productions.

Cheney has also been a professional performer for more than 20 years and is an acclaimed opera singer both nationally and internationally. He says, “I think what’s been the most fulfilling thing for me is to be able to give the students a glimpse at what a professional rehearsal process is like.” Cheney adds, “It’s been great being able to support them in that way.”

“Mr. Cheney really lets you as the actor discover who the character is yourself,” says junior Philip Sweeney, who plays Billy Crocker. “Then he’ll just make any changes if there’s any problems.”

“And if you have a question, you know he has an answer for you,” adds senior Elyza Learned, who plays Reno Sweeney. “And if he doesn’t right away, he’ll get back to you.”

In addition to Sweeney and Learned, the musical stars senior Hannah Morrison as Hope Harcourt, junior Jonathan Hamilton as Moonface Martin, and senior Thomas Pennie as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. The show also features senior Liam Clark as Eli Whitney and senior Olivia Rugg as Evangeline Harcourt, and senior Kendall Antoniac as Erma.

“I hope people come see the show because we’ve worked really hard, and it’s also really funny,” says Morrison. “There’s some awesome dancing and our costumes are going to be great and our set is really cool…overall, it’s just going to be a great show!”

“It’s a classically-period, comedic piece so it’s a really funny show,” adds Cheney. “And I believe this is going to be one of the best musical performances the community has seen at the high school.”

Anything Goes opens at LOLHS on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. There are also 7 p.m. performances on Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9. Additionally, there is a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets can be purchased at this link or at the door, $12 for students and senior citizens and $15 for adults.

For more information, call the high school at 860-434-1651

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World’ by Maya Jasanoff

Having read all of Patrick O’Brian, plus his biography (see LymeLine, Feb. 22, 2018), and having read most of that other great author of sea stories in the 20th Century, Joseph Conrad, it was only natural to launch into this latest study of him by Harvard’s Maya Jasanoff.

Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was as compulsive a reader as O’Brian, but this Pole added global travel to his years. Born to Polish parents in the Ukraine in 1857, he followed his banished father to Nizhny Novgorod in Russia (this city was where Count Alexander Rostov ended in Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow: see my review in LymeLine, Dec. 17, 2017!), he returned to Poland, then went to sea from France and ended an English gentleman and author.

Jasanoff’s thesis is that, “Conrad watched the emergence of the globally interrelated world …” first from Eastern Europe, then from various sailing ships in the Far East and Africa, and finally from southern England. While early on he was “obsessed with becoming a sailor” he also found that, “in books he could travel the world.” For a life at sea, Conrad wrote “There’s rarely something to look at, there’s always something to see. People are always asleep, people are always awake. You’re never alone, you’re always isolated.”

Two delightful bits that recalled to me my few years at sea: (1) “Having matured in the surroundings and under the special conditions of sea life, I have a special piety toward that form of my past …” and (2) “For utter surrender to indolence you cannot beat a sailor ashore when that mood is on him, the mood of absolute irresponsibility tasted to the full.”

Jasanoff concludes thus with her linkage of Conrad to our increasingly interconnected world, “What Conrad had made me see, I realized, was a set of forces whose shapes may have changed but whose challenges have not. Today’s hearts of darkness are to be found in other places where civilizing missions serve as covers for exploitation. The heirs of Conrad’s technologically displaced sailors (steam replacing sail) are to be found in industries disrupted by digitization. The analogues to his anarchists are to be found in Internet chat rooms or terrorist cells. The material interests he centered in the United States emanate today as much from China.”

So perhaps it was only natural that I turned again to Conrad himself in A Personal Record, first published in 1908 when he was 50-years-old. Some jewels:
“It is better for mankind to be impressionable than reflective. Nothing humanly great—great, I mean as affecting a whole mass of lives—has come from reflection.”
“Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. An imaginative and exact rendering of authentic memories may serve worthily that spirit of piety toward all things human which sanction the conceptions of a writer of tales, and the emotions of the man reviewing his own experience.”
And, of course …
“Books are an integral part of one’s life.”

Editor’s Note: ‘The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World’ by Maya Jasanoff was published by Penguin Press, New York, 2017.

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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Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Auditions for ‘Godspell, Mama Mia and Cabaret’ Today

The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local auditions for Equity and non- Equity actors for the 2019 summer musicals – Godspell, Mama Mia and Cabaret – on Friday, Feb. 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ivoryton Playhouse Rehearsal Studio, 22 Main Street in Centerbrook, Conn.

The Playhouse is looking for actors, singers and dancers to fill all roles. Check their website for production dates at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

All auditions are by appointment. Bring a picture and resumé and prepare a song in the style of the show.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520, ext.207 or email lizzy@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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Public Forum on Proposed Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Budget to be Held Tonight, Regular BOE Meeting Follows

The Region 18 Board of Education hosts a Special Meeting this evening at 6:30 p.m. that includes a Public Forum on its proposed 2019-20 school budget.  The meeting will be held in  the Board of Education Conference Room at Center School and will be followed by a Board of Education Regular Meeting at 7 p.m.  in the same location.

The meeting will be preceded by a Facilities & Finance Committee Meeting in the Central Office Conference Room at 5 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend all these meetings.

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Op-Ed: Region 18 School Budget is Cause for Concern, Public Forum Tonight is an Opportunity to Raise Questions

This op-ed was submitted by Emerson Colwell of Old Lyme.

As a taxpayer in Lyme/Old Lyme, I am writing today because I am extremely concerned about the 2019/2020 School Budget. I feel like there should be a great deal more discussion around a town funded preschool program, something that will directly affect our taxes forever if adopted. Below are just a few of the questions and concerns I have about the proposal.

Region 18 has a large responsibility with the highly achieving academics in our K-12 programs. While the idea of free preschool is one that most people would feel positive about, is $400,000 an expense that you feel should come before our current program needs?

At the last Board meeting on January 16th, Mr. Neviaser clearly stated that he would not take the preschool program out if the budget does not get approved. Region 18 is willing to spend $400,000 + of taxpayer money (that has not been approved by the town) to start a preschool for 17 children and take money out of programs for our currently enrolled 1200 students to fund it?

How is spending $400,000 on a new program that will require yearly funding and take potential funds away from existing programs “for” our kids?

Why is it necessary for taxpayers to pay for every kid to go to preschool?

One “fear” brought up in favor of rushing the proposed plan is that if it’s not done this year, the cost of remodeling Center School will go up. Let’s counter that with the “fear” that the longer our facilities are left unrepaired, the larger those costs will be on the taxpayers.

For less than $400,000, Lyme Consolidated could have a new hvac system and gym floor, two costs identified as necessary in the five year plan. For $250,000, Region 18 can fully fund the entire cost of the tennis courts which were deemed unusable. Why isn’t there a rush to repair our existing facilities that are servicing our 1200 students? Why can’t either or both of these costs be in this year’s budget instead of a new program that services so few children?

I’ve heard that the school board is going to ask to borrow money in a few years to cover all the facility costs. Does it make sense to push through a new preschool program that will need continuous yearly funding when we aren’t putting money in to repair our existing programs that need immediate repair?

There was a lot of talk about kindergarten readiness. Chances are that, here in CT, most kids have been provided with some form of early education. Does anyone know exactly how many of our current kindergarteners have had zero school exposure before entering Region 18? Do we know how many people would willingly pay to send their kids to preschool? Is it really necessary for the taxpayers of Lyme and Old Lyme to pay $400,000 for all of the 17 four year olds to have a preschool experience? Especially when we have current programs that are not being funded in the 2019/2020 budget?

The proposed preschool expansion cost of $400,000 is approximately $22,000 per child for 17 children. This cost is not just this year, it’s forever. How can they forecasted the complete annual costs for the program including facilities, repairs, teachers, IAs’, and the cost of the specials programs? Will the program require an administrator? Have they created a twenty year projection of the tax impact on the people who live in town? Have the BOE thought about using existing classrooms at Lyme Consolidated or Mike Creek that already have age appropriate toilets? Then Center School wouldn’t need $180,000 for a four to three room makeover, that’s a large amount of money that could be saved. Just because a space is empty doesn’t mean that you spend $400,000 to fill it.

The current success of our K-12 schools and programs has nothing to do with whether the children attended preschool or not. It has to do with the education and support they are receiving during those years. Is the current Region 18 staff 100% happy? Are they being provided enough support? Is there money that should be used to better support our current teachers and administrative staff? I understand that they are working on a review program, that’s great. I hope they really hear the concerns of the public

I highly encourage everyone opposed or in favor of this proposal to attend the BOE meetings tomorrow night at Center School at 5 pm for facilities meeting and 6:15 pm for the proposed 2019/2020 budget.

Editor’s Note:  Information we have received indicates that the Special Board of Education Meeting, which includes a Public Forum on the proposed 2019-2020 budget for the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools, is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room at Center School.

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Two Bills in Hartford Propose Regionalizing, Consolidating School Districts

This morning we are providing links to several articles and an op-ed relating to a subject of great interest to residents of Lyme and Old Lyme.  Two bills have been proposed in Hartford that promote the regionalization and consolidation of school districts in Connecticut.

The first three were published by CTNewsJunkie.com, a fellow member of the Local Independent Online News (LION) publishers national organization, with whom we are pleased occasionally to cross-publish our stories.

The second three were published by another member of LION publishers, Good Morning Wilton.com.

Down in Wilton, Conn., there has already been a great deal happening in response to the proposed Senate Bill 738 formerly 454, including the formation of a grass roots group called Protect Wilton Schools organized by Wilton residents and opposed to the regionalization proposals.

Links are provided to each article at the end of the brief introduction taken verbatim from the article itself.

Regionalization and Consolidation of School Districts Has Towns on Edge

HARTFORD, CT — The concept of regionalizing and consolidating school districts to save the cash-strapped state is not a new one, but two new bills pushing the initiative have moved the issue front and center this legislative session.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, proposed a bill which would force school districts in towns with less than 40,000 residents to consolidate with a neighboring district.

Senate bill 454 would force the regionalization of a large number of towns in the state, merging their school districts with larger municipalities or cities. Only 24 municipalities in Connecticut …

Read the full article by Jack Kramer and published at 5 a.m. on CTJunkie.com Jan. 28, at this link.

Education Committee: ‘Let’s At Least Talk About Regionalization’

HARTFORD, CT — A routine meeting of the Education Committee drew a standing-room-only crowd because the agenda included an item on school regionalization.

The Education Committee voted unanimously to draft 30 “concepts” as bills. One of those “concepts” was …

Read the full article by Jack Kramer and published at 1:47 p.m. on CTJunkie.com, Jan. 28, at this link.

OP-ED | Proposal For Forced School Consolidation A Nonstarter

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from covering local and state government on and off for the last 23 years, it’s that breaking up fiefdoms is a terribly difficult thing to do. And nowhere is that simple truth more evident than in the reaction to a couple of bills floating around the Capitol that propose to force smaller school districts to consolidate with larger ones.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, has put forward legislation that …

Read the full op-ed by Terry Cowgill and published Feb. 4, on CTNewsJunkie.com at this link.

Another of fellow members of LION publishers, Good Morning Wilton.com, has been covering the developments.  Here are links to a selection of their articles:

Bill that Would Consolidate Wilton & Norwalk School Districts Proposed in Hartford

Wilton residents up in arms over a state bill proposing regionalizing school districts have formed “Protect Wilton Schools,” to organize efforts to try to stop the bill completely. At a meeting Thursday night attended by more than 200 people, organizers provided information about the legislative process and the plans they’ve started building to coordinate opposition.

The bill was introduced by the State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-11), who represents New Haven. It calls for …

Read the full article by Heather Borden Herve and published Feb. 1, on GoodMorningWilton.com at this link.

“Protect Wilton Schools” Group Formed to Respond to Hartford’s School Regionalization Push

Wilton residents up in arms over a state bill proposing regionalizing school districts have formed “Protect Wilton Schools,” to organize efforts to try to stop the bill completely. At a meeting Thursday night attended by more than 200 people, organizers provided information about the legislative process and the plans they’ve started building to coordinate opposition.

The effort to defeat the bill was organized by …

Read the full article by Heather Borden Herve and published Feb. 1, on GoodMorningWilton.com at this link.

School Consolidation Wrap Up: The Latest in Wilton’s News on SB 454/738

Since last week’s grass roots start of Protect Wilton Schools, the group organized by Wilton residents opposed to regionalization of school districts in Connecticut, there have been some new developments. Here’s the latest on what’s new, and some helpful links to information and news about the issue.

New Logo and Hashtag:  Hands Off Our Schools

Protect Wilton Schools introduced a hashtag for residents …

Read the full article by Heather Borden Herve and published today, Feb. 5, on GoodMorningWilton.com at this link.

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Two Bills Push for Opioid Treatment After Narcan

We thought this article by Jack Kramer and published by our friends at CTNewsJunkie.com would be of interest to many readers in Lyme and Old Lyme in light of the recent presentation in Old Lyme about the use of Narcan.

HARTFORD, CT — Two bills that would allow or require first responders to take someone to an emergency treatment facility after being given Naloxone as an overdose reversal drug have been submitted to the legislature’s Public Health Committee.

The woman whose tragic loss of her son to a drug overdose caught President Donald Trump’s attention believes the bills are big steps forward in the state’s continuing fight to stem the opioid and heroin drug crisis, which killed about three people a day in the state of Connecticut the past two years.

“When a person has been given Naloxone (Narcan), …”  Visit this link to read the full article.

Editor’s Note:CTNewsJunkie.com is a fellow member of the Local Independent Online News (LION) publishers national organization and we are pleased occasionally to cross-publish our stories.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Host Super Bowl Scholarship Breakfast This Morning, Music by Braiden Sunshine

The annual Super Bowl ‘Scholarship Breakfast’ hosted by the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions promises yet again to be a lively and delicious event this year.

Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 3, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School cafeteria, this year’s breakfast hosts ‘The Voice’ superstar Braiden Sunshine, who will provide musical entertainment during the event.  Enjoy the Good News Clowns and their balloon creations, face painting and silly antics.

Meanwhile, the school’s award-winning Techno Ticks FIRST Robotics Team 236 will also be on hand to demonstrate their new robotic creations up close … and personal!

Feast on a hearty menu of blueberry pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, tater tots, fresh fruit, coffee and OJ. Door prizes include restaurant and salon certificates, and other items donated by local businesses.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform at the LOL Lions Super Bowl Breakfast his morning.

During the event, the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions will conduct free, quick, non-contact eye screenings for people 2 to 92 years of age, using “Spot,” an instrument resembling a Polaroid camera. From a distance of three feet, “Spot” checks for six eye diseases, and within seconds it produces a detailed test report.  This state-of-the-art equipment is used in the new Lions’ PediaVision preschool eye screening program.

The Lyme-Old Lyme community is invited to participate in this fun event.  The annual breakfast is the Lions’ primary fundraiser for four $1,500 Lions’ scholarships awarded each year to deserving high school students resident in Lyme or Old Lyme.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children under 12.  For more information on Lions’ scholarships and the PediaVision program, visit www.lymeoldlymelions.org.

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The Mystery of the Sinking Sailboat … in Hamburg Cove, Dinardi’s ‘Before & After’ Video Goes Viral

The submerged boat in Hamburg Cove. Photo by Frank Dinardi.

Frank Dinardi of East Haddam has become an overnight social media sensation with an extraordinary video that he captured of a boat initially at its mooring in Hamburg Cove,Lyme, and then subsequently after it had sunk last week.  His video has now been viewed over 150,000 times and he also has taken numerous photos that are posted on his Facebook page of various stages of the whole sad episode.

He told LymeLine.com via an e-message, “I work for a local landscaping company and we do a lot on Hamburg Cove. I’ve been watching the boat all year along with the neighbors on the cove wondering what it’s doing in the water and why it hasn’t been taken out?” adding, “It’s a boat that often catches my eye in the summertime as I think it is beautiful and I’ve photographed it with my drone in the summer too.”

Dinardi continues, “When I saw the ice building up around it I had to go back and grab some photos of it and decided to take some video. On the evenings and weekends I operate a growing photography and videography business called Frank’s Sky Sights. So I had gathered some video a couple weeks ago and then last weekend somebody had wrote me telling me that the boat sank and I should go check it out.”

He concludes, “So I went down there and flew around the boat again with my drone and was able to get the footage of the boat underwater. I went home and put that video together and it instantly became a hit on social media.”

The link to Dinardi’s first video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yay0xDhZmO8

He has now prepared a follow-up video in which he answers many of the questions that have been raised from the first video.  The link to the second video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C244qqEIzi0&fbclid=IwAR1Gmutmin5w-u-Mjhdcx42IqpvGx7CWsE1lkQ46F9CAVeytSYQK6DMIyqw

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It’s Groundhog Day! Will There be Six More Weeks of Winter? Find Out on a Walk in Lyme Today

Join the Lyme Land Conservation Trust for a walk on Groundhog Day, Saturday, Feb. 2, to investigate whether the groundhog has seen his shadow, and seek other signs of Spring.

The approximately two-hour walk will be about three miles long in the Selden Creek, Ravine Trail and Brockway-Hawthorne Preserves  with an option for walkers to drop out after 1.5 miles. There are a few moderate hills.

Everyone is welcome. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for possible slippery areas. Bring a bottle of water. A snack will be provided.

The walk will be led by Wendolyn Hill, Open Space Coordinator of the Town of Lyme and Lyme Land Trust Board member. Meet by 1;30 p.m. at the Selden Creek Preserve Parking lot on Joshuatown Rd. in Lyme. The parking area is on the left about four miles from Rte. 156.

Registration is appreciated at openspace@townlyme.org

Inclement weather cancels. Check for updates at http://www.lymelandtrust.org/event/ground-hog-day-walk

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Active, Veteran Military & EB Employees Invited to USS S. Dakota Commissioning,Thursday

On Jan. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson at 951 Bank Street, New London, CT, will host the official kick-off reception to celebrate the commissioning of the USS South Dakota (SSN 790) the Navy’s next generation Virginia class fast attack submarine.

The invitation-only event will honor the first sailors of the original USS South Dakota. In addition, all active and veteran military, and those who built the new submarine at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. are welcome at the event. See below for details of how to obtain tickets if you are active or veteran military or an EB employee.

Commanding Officer Cmdr. Craig L. Litty, Chief of Boat YCOB-HMCS Adam Goulas, South Dakota’s former Governor Dennis Daugaard, the USS South Dakota Commissioning Committee and a host of high-ranking Connecticut government officials will be in attendance along with Harley-Davidson® representatives and other VIP guests.

There will be entertainment, food and beverages by RD86 Restaurant of New London, and guest speakers at this official kick-off reception.

Additionally, there will be a private viewing of the Commemorative USS South Dakota 2018 H-D Street Glide® motorcycle and 1956 Ford Thunderbird Medal of Honor Car hand painted by word-renowned artist, Mickey Harris, who will also be in attendance and speak about these fabled machines. Both historic pieces will be displayed together under one roof from Jan. 29-31 only at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson.

The public is invited to visit the dealership to see these vehicles on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 12 through 7 p.m. Food and beverages will be complimentary from 12 to 2 p.m. and a happy hour will occur from 5 to 7 p.m.

After the commissioning, the Commemorative Street Glide® motorcycle will be on its way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in South Dakota. A motorcycle ignition key will remain on board the submarine and any USS South Dakota sailor can ride the bike when visiting the museum. The bike will stand ready as the crew’s official motorcycle and will help build bonds between the CT-based sailors and the State of South Dakota as they experience the excitement of riding a motorcycle on open road.

There is limited availability for the private reception on Thursday, Jan. 31. All military and Electric Boat employees should use the links below to register for tickets today:
For active, retired or veterans, visit: https://militarymembers.eventbrite.com
For all Electric Boat Employees visit: https://ebemployees.eventbrite.com

For the preview days, Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Wednesday, Jan. 30,
which are open to the public, use the link below:

For the general public, visit https://bikeandcarpreviewdays.eventbrite.com
for reservations or information on Jan. 29-30 events at Mike’s

The Virginia Class is the first class of submarines developed for post-cold war missions. These fast-attack submarines have the newest technology the Navy has to offer. The USS South Dakota (SSN 790) is armed with four torpedo tubes as well as two Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT), each capable of holding six vertical launch Tomahawk missiles that can hit on-shore targets up to 1,240 miles away. 

The ship is 370 feet long, 10 feet longer than a standard football field.  It is 34 feet wide and is nearly as tall as a 12-story building.  The USS South Dakota will be manned by 132 crew members: 15 officers and 117 enlisted servicemen. The employees of General Dynamic Electric Boat will also be acknowledged for their building of this new submarine.

Established in 1899, Electric Boat has established standards of excellence in the design, construction and lifecycle support of submarines for the U.S. Navy. Primary operations are the shipyard in Groton, CT, the automated hull-fabrication and outfitting facility in Quonset Point, RI, and an engineering building in New London, CT.

 A proud supporter of the United States Military, Mike’s Famous® is the largest Harley® dealership in southern New England. In 2015 Mike’s Famous® received the Military Community Support Award as Business of the Year by the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.

Mike’s Famous® is the official Toys for Tots headquarters for southeastern Connecticut, and serves as host for the Gift Run, one of the oldest bike runs in Connecticut which is celebrating its 40th year in 2019. The business resides in a historic former Coca-Cola® bottling factory, circa 1939. The 55,000 square foot factory houses a museum-like experience including automobilia, collectibles, signage, and Coca-Cola® and Harley-Davidson memorabilia. About J&L Harley-Davidson Sioux Falls South Dakota: 

J&L Harley-Davidson in Sioux Falls, SD calls riders from all over the country. Their flagship store is located in Sioux Falls, SD. They have been a strong partner in the Sioux Falls and surrounding communities for over 41 years.

While Harley-Davidson® Motor Company donated the USS South Dakota Tribute 2018 FLHX H-D Street Glide® to the Navy League of South Dakota, J&L Harley-Davidson has sponsored the bike including providing the H-D® parts and labor for the life of the motorcycle, and coordinating the painting of the bike which will be on permanent display at the Sturgis Motor Cycle Museum & Hall of Fame. 

*The Navy League of the United States, South Dakota Council and Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson are working in partnership on the events listed above. The United States Department of Defense is not affiliated with these events in any manner and does not endorse or otherwise have any relationship with Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company® or any of their affiliates.

Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson is located at 951 Bank Street New London, CT 06320. For further information, visit mikesfamous.com

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Needleman Announces Bill To Hold Utilities Accountable

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), whose 33rd Senate District includes Lyme, announced that he has submitted a bill that would hold utility companies accountable to better serve their customers, requiring them to improve their response times after power outages and increase vital staffing.

“An Act Concerning Utility Response Times For Restoration of Electric Service and Utility Minimum Staffing Levels,” Senate Bill No. 469, would require companies to restore electric service on an improved schedule after power outages, also requiring them to establish minimum staffing levels for line crews.

“In the last several years, response times to perform repair work after storms and outages by utility companies like Eversource have grown precipitously, causing significant delays in restoring power to Connecticut residents and businesses relying on it,” Sen. Needleman said. “It’s no coincidence, I believe, this comes as Eversource continues to reduce its repair staff and equipment, instead increasingly relying on private contractors from outside of their system. Without adequate staff, in the event of severe weather, Eversource will waste time and inconvenience customers.”

The bill’s announcement comes as Eversource is requesting a rate increase from the Public Utilities Regulation Authority, according to the Hartford Courant, citing the increased costs of repairing systems after severe storms. If that rate increase passes, the average customer could see their bill jump $1.85 per month or more than $20 annually as soon as this year.

“Why should Eversource receive a rate increase for this work when it drags its heels doing it in the first place? Connecticut taxpayers and businesses were already inconvenienced when their power remained off for days during these storms, and they shouldn’t be punished twice,” Sen. Needleman said. “If Eversource had invested in effective weather responses in the past, instead of reducing staff and equipment to save money, they wouldn’t need to ask for $150 million in repairs.”

“Businesses lose money every second their power remains out,” Sen. Needleman said. “As a business owner myself, I know these problems first-hand. My manufacturing plant in Michigan has lost power one time in 14 years, while my manufacturing plant in Centerbrook sometimes loses power for no reason at all. Connecticut needs to attract businesses, and unstable electrical systems will only drive them away.”

According to the Energy Information Agency, Connecticut residents are already charged the third-highest rates for electricity in the country in both price and expenditure.

“Eversource should provide the services it already pledges to its customers, not be rewarded for failing to implement adequate weather-related response and repair strategies,” Sen. Needleman said. “When Connecticut taxpayers are already charged one of the highest prices in the country for electricity, they should feel confident their service will remain stable, not prepare for days of outages whenever severe storms rear their head. S.B. 469 will hold Eversource and other utility providers accountable for the services their customers deserve.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the first selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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Letter From Paris: It’s Been a Rocky Ride, But Will Macron Still Make It?

Nicole Prévost Logan

France always seems to stand out by doing the best or the worst through social and political upheavals.  The movement of the gilets jaunes has been like an earthquake shaking the system to its foundations.    It has created the most serious political crisis the Fifth Republic has known since its creation by General de Gaulle in 1958. 

It is a pivotal moment for France and many other Western democracies when the mechanism of political institutions does not seem to work any more. 

The gilets jaunes are the voice of a rural population never heard before and which feels abandoned.  It is a lower middle class of workers and retirees, who can’t make it to the end of the month and feel squeezed between the very poor — benefiting from social relief — and the more affluent middle class. 

At first overwhelmingly supported by the public opinion, their number –occupying roundabouts and tolls — has reduced from over 280,000 on Nov. 17, to about 84.000 today. Public opinion is becoming weary of the continuous violence.

“Act XI” is taking place as this article is being written. 

French President Emmanuel Macron.

A spectacular fist fight on the footbridge linking the Quai d’Orsay and the Tuileries garden marked the month of January.  Over time a hard core of  gilets jaunes has become more radical, asking for the dissolution of Parliament, the suppression of the Senate, and basically total destruction of the system in place.  It refuses dialogue while chanting “Macron. Demission” (Macron. Resign.)  

The Rassemblement National (RN) extreme right party of Marine Le Pen and the communist party or France Insoumise (LFI) are riding the wave. They help circulate false news to discredit Macron and his government.  The terrorist attack in Strasbourg in early December or the recent deadly explosion due to a gas leak in the center of Paris were just diversion tactics by the Executive, they say. 

On Jan. 23,  France and Germany signed the treaty of Aix La Chapelle to reinforce cooperation between the two countries and facilitate trans-border relations.  The treaty was followed by the announcement of outrageously distorted news on social networks that Alsace-Lorraine was being returned to Germany. 

Eighteen months into his mandate, Macron started  to suffer a catastrophic collapse in the polls. It was not a first for a French president:  Sarkozy and Hollande before him suffered the same disaffection soon after their election. For Macron though, the intensity of the fall was all the more spectacular as his victory had created a surge of hope.

Today he is trying to turn the tide around and pull the country out of its crisis.  And his method? A “Great Debate” throughout the country lasting until March 15.

On Jan. 13, the president posted a “Lettre aux Français” suggesting four themes open to discussion: taxes, public services, energetic transition, and political institutions, including immigration.  France is being turned into a laboratory to experiment with new forms of government – representative, participative or direct (with frequent referendums).

The hard core of gilets jaunes declined to participate.

Macron’s initial step was to face some of the 35.000 mayors of France.  First 700 of them in Normandy, then two days later 700 in the Lot department (Occitanie region.)  It was an impressive show of participative government in action.  Selected mayors presented their grievances related to very concrete and local problems: closing schools, disappearance of public services, medical “desertification,” lack of accessible transports, inadequate internet and phone access, hurtful impact of giant shopping malls on small business, and the demise of downtown areas of small town and villages.

Each speaker was polite, direct and, at times, quite tough. Macron’s performance was phenomenal.  As each speaker took the microphone, the president was taking notes furiously.  For close to seven hours, he absorbed the remarks then answered each one, recalling the interlocutor’s name.  His language was familiar, bringing smiles to the faces in the audience and devoid of any demagoguery. 

For instance, he expressed his opinion on how dangerous popular referenda can be, especially when based on false information — citing the UK’s Brexit vote as an example. Overall it was refreshing to witness courteous and constructive exchanges, far from the heinous invectives to which the president has been submitted lately. 

The “Great Debate” is a courageous, but risky exercise.  Talking to the mayors was the easy part. It will be harder for him to convince broader public opinion — including the moderate gilets jaunes — how to make a synthesis from all the wide array of  grievances and turn them into immediate and concrete measures?

Macron must meet some, if not all, of the demands being made by the gilets jaunes without appearing to be weak and submissive. In spite of the popular pressure for lower taxes and more benefits, he cannot afford to lose his objective, which is to reform France and make it economically competitive. Finally, time is short since there will only be two months left after the debate before the European elections are held. 

Violence hit cities throughout France causing widespread damage.

The violence brought on by the weekly street warfare in Paris, Bordeaux and many other cities has tarnished the image of France abroad.  The damage caused  to the urban landscape, small businesses and whole sectors of the economy can be numbered in millions of Euros. The loss of one point of France’s GDP has even become worrisome for the IMF. 

On Jan. 22, Macron invited 125 of the most important world CEOs, who were on their way to the Davos Economic Forum, to  a lavish lunch at the Chateau de Versailles, in order to reassure them of his country’s viability and stability prior to a possible Brexit.

The polls have risen slightly in favor of Macron but the president still faces an uphill battle. France is fortunate to have a young president full of energy … but the jury is still out on his future.

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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