January 29, 2020

Carney, Formica Host Pre-Session Legislative Update Tonight in Old Lyme, All Welcome

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

LYME/OLD LYME/OLD SAYBROOK – State Representative Devin Carney (R-35) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20) will host a legislative update to speak with residents prior to the start of 2020 legislative session, which convenes Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

The event will be held Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 6 to 7 p..m. at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall is open to the public and area residents, who wish to discuss issues affecting the district, bill proposal ideas, or other legislative related topics.

If you are unable to make the event but would like to speak to either legislator, you can email Rep. Carney at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov, or call him at 800-842-1423 or email Sen. Formica at Paul.Formica@cga.ct.gov or call the senate offices at 800-842-1421.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration

Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2020 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 27 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School.

Children who will be five-years-old on or before Jan. 1, 2021 are eligible to register for the 2020 Kindergarten class.

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones.

Please bring to registration your child’s

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization/Health Records
  • Three forms of proof of residency

If you cannot register on these days or would like additional information, call either school at these numbers to place your child’s name on the Kindergarten list and/or have your questions answered:

  • Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233
  • Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools look forward to welcoming your child.

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CT Chapter of the Sierra Club Hosts ‘Forum on the Environment’ in Old LymeThis Evening; All Welcome

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

OLD LYME — Will Connecticut take the steps needed now to address climate change?

The Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club hosts a meeting Monday, Jan. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Old Lyme Town Hall Meeting Room to gather together all those who are interested in the topic and ready to learn, share and take action.

The publicity flyer for the event states, “Climate change is happening faster than predicted. Here in Connecticut, people are being impacted by rising temperatures, coastal and inland flooding, tornadoes and other unusual weather.” The Sierra Club believes urgent and bold action is necessary and that Connecticut lawmakers can do much more in 2020 to reduce climate-destroying emissions in our state, and put us on a path to a clean and renewable future.

Come together to learn and discuss what the state can do on climate and other environmental issues, and how you can make a difference.

For more information and to RSVP, visit this link.

The Old Lyme Town Hall is at 52 Lyme Street.

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Achieve Multiple Honors at 2020 Scholastic Art Awards

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) senior Sarah Conley won three major honors at this year’s Scholastic Art Awards. The painting above, ‘Itchy,’ was included in her portfolio.  All of the images in this article show award-winning artwork by other LOLHS students at the same event. All images submitted.

HARTFORD /LYME-OLD LYME — In keeping with a long tradition of success at the Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards, 10 Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students are being recognized at the event this year. The Awards Celebration is scheduled for this afternoon, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. in the Hartford Art School’s Lincoln Theater. Visit this link for a full listing of all award winners.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Sarah Conley not only received Gold Keys in both Painting and Printmaking, but also the Connecticut Art Administrators Association prestigious award for Best in Printmaking.

‘Voyeur’ by junior Connie Pan.

Juniors Connie Pan, Aidan Powers and Marina Melluzo received Gold Keys in Painting, Digital Art and Drawing respectively, while another junior, Jack Conley, received a Silver Key in Drawing.

Honorable Mentions included seniors Summer Siefken and Sam Dushin for Drawing, junior Olivia Bartlett in Mixed Media, junior Sonia Bair in Drawing, and sophomore Olivia Shaedler in both Drawing and Ceramics.

This triptych titled, ‘Pilot’ is by junior Aidan Powers.

All Scholastic Art Award accepted works are on display at the Hartford Art School’s Silpe Gallery through Jan. 31. Gold Key works will also go on to be juried at the national level.

Year after year, students from Lyme-Old Lyme High School bring home major awards from this contest so, one must ask, why is the art program at LOLHS so successful?

‘Self-portrait’ by junior Jack Conley.

Adam Raiti, who teaches digital and three-dimensional art at LOLHS, suggests there are a number of reasons. First and foremost, he believes that the fact, “Lyme-Old Lyme Schools hire teachers who are artists” represents a major difference over many other high school art programs. Apart from being a teacher, Raiti, who is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is an extremely successful freelance illustrator and designer.

Similarly, LOLHS Art Department Head William Allik, a Wesleyan University graduate, is a highly respected artist, whose work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country. Raiti explains, “We can both bring our real world experiences to the table,” noting that sometimes he sets tasks for his students drawn from work commissioned by his business clients.

‘Turning Out The Light’ by junior Sonia Bair.

Both teachers are classically-trained artists, but Allik, in keeping with the trends of those times, focused on abstract painting during his undergraduate years. After graduation, he continued his art career on the West coast of the US and, in his words, soon “figured out I didn’t want to be an abstract painter.” He returned to the East and was admitted to the élite New York Academy, where his studies included anatomy and cast-drawing.

Allik thus learned what were then perceived as the old-fashioned and outdated skills of the Renaissance Great Masters, which he describes as having been “flushed out in the 70s” with the meteoric rise of modern art. He developed a passion for realism and representational art, which were not then in vogue, but ultimately have stood the test of time, and enabled him to teach his students – in the simplest of terms –“to draw well.”

‘Containment’ by junior Maria Melluzo.

Allik points out that all the top art schools in the country are now looking again for the “traditional skills” and the fact that every year LOLHS graduates are being admitted to schools like RISD, Pratt Institute, Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Parsons is testament to his focus on teaching students, in his words, “to learn to speak the language of drawing.”

Allik still insists his students take mechanical drawing working by hand with a T-square and triangle on a drafting board, rather than, as would happen in most high schools, using a computer. He emphasizes that, “being able to draw well is a very versatile talent,” citing the professions of architecture, interior and industrial design, and engineering as examples in which, “drawing is the language millions use in their daily lives.”

‘Reflecting the Light’ by junior Olivia Bartlett.

Apart from the tremendous length, depth and breadth of experience of the faculty, Raiti notes another reason the Art Department thrives at Lyme-Old Lyme is the “phenomenal support from the administration and the community.” He comments that the department is “treated with respect” in a community with a history rooted in the arts, asking rhetorically, “Where else can you be [at high school] within walking distance of a remarkable art college [Lyme Academy], the oldest art association in the country [Lyme Art Association] and a nationally-acclaimed art gallery {Florence Griswold Museum]?

‘Portait #3’ by senior Summer Siefken.

Rick Lacey, who graduated from LOLHS in 2007, went on to receive a BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and is now an instructor at the college, has nothing but praise for both Allik (Lacey graduated before Raiti joined the high school) and the program at his high school. Now an acclaimed artist himself, Lacey says, “The program at the high school is truly unique in the state and perhaps even the country. Will [Allik] shows that the teaching of classical drawing methods is still extremely important … he finds ways for students to begin to understand the concepts of perspective, proportion, and composition … he really has had many years of great success at all levels.”

‘Coil Pot’ by sophomore Olivia Schaedler.

Lacey recalls that when Allik joined the high school, “There were only six of us in the whole program,” but now Allik has “Full classes all day long,” noting enthusiastically, “He is really on to something and the students pick up on that.” Lacey describes Allik as, “… an incredible teacher that can work with any student,” adding on a personal note, while simultaneously giving a resounding endorsement of the art program at LOLHS, “I’m so proud I went there.”

‘Driveway’ by senior Sam Dushin.

Editor’s Note: Parts of this article were previously published in the summer 2019 edition of ‘The Day Education Guide.’

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‘The Country School’ Hosts Open House Today, All Welcome

MADISON — The Country School jn Madison is holding an Open House Sunday, Jan. 26, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity to meet engaged students and passionate teachers. Also, attendees can learn about the rigorous academic program and commitment to honoring the creativity, sense of wonder, and exuberance of childhood.

MADISON — Learn about the school’s signature programs – STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking – and their rich offerings in the arts and athletics.

Tour the transformed 23-acre campus and hear how alumni are thriving at top high schools and colleges across the country.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8. To learn more and register, visit this link.

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Updates Shared at Community Connections on Lyme Academy, Old Lyme Economic Development

More than 40 community members attended the Community Connections Networking Luncheon held Wednesday at the Old Lyme Country Club. All photos by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Members of Lyme-Old Lyme non-profit, philanthropic and volunteer organizations heard first-hand updates Wednesday on two significant efforts that could shape the character and commerce of Old Lyme in coming years.

The Community Connections networking luncheon at the Old Lyme Country Club, attended by roughly 40 people, featured speakers from Lyme Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA) and the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission.

Lyme Academy Looks to the Future

Lyme Academy Executive Director Frank Burns and LAFA Board Member Sue Grey outlined the strategic planning process currently underway at the Academy. The 13-member volunteer Strategic Planning Committee made up of artists, educators and business leaders, has been meeting monthly to explore multiple short- and long-term collaborations with a broad range of arts, cultural and related organizations, businesses and enterprises.

“We’re trying to get back to where we were,” said Burns, who was appointed last summer to create a new business model for the institution, subsequent to the University of New Haven’s (UNH) decision to no longer include the academy as part of its institution. This includes seeking accreditation status again, something the academy had previously achieved when it became a college in 1996. When UNH took over Lyme Academy College in 2014, the College remained accredited under the UNH banner but with the announced withdrawl of UNH in 2018 (classes ended in 2019), that accreditation has been lost.

Burns said that while none of the 12 organizations, which were initially contacted to explore continuing the accreditation, expressed interest in 2018, there has been some new willingness at this time. Burns told LymeLine in a phone call Friday morning that the Strategic Planning Committee is in discussion with a number of institutions, which are reviewing the Academy’s courses and may enter into some form of joint programming arrangement with the Academy. He said if that were to happen, the Academy, “may be able to offer college credit under their [the partnering institution’s] name,” but stressed that discussions were ongoing and nothing was yet agreed.

Lyme Academy Executive Director Frank Burns stands behind Board Member Sue Grey as she addresses the audience. Community Connections Planning Committee member Jean Wilczynski is to the left.

“We are looking at all sorts of short-term and long-term collaborations with the arts world,” said Grey, who has an extensive background in strategic planning for non-profits and businesses, large and small, citing artists collaborations in other shoreline communities. She explained that the goal is to develop plans that respect and support the history, brand, mission and vision of the art academy so the emphasis is on longer-term sustainability and momentum. She noted the board is not immediately expecting to fill the academy’s 42,000 square feet of usable interior space.

Grey said she hopes to present workable recommendations to the board around May 1, although she welcomed any late-breaking ideas or proposals in the coming weeks.

Lyme Academy Board Member Sue Grey (seated in black) listens to Old Lyme EDC Co-Chair Howard Margules’s presentation.

“We’re trying to find partners that would be compatible with the academy and would fit with the town,” Burns said, noting that the academy does not own residential housing, and the board is not interested in getting into the housing market. While this poses challenges for artists-in-residence programs, he said the board recognizes the opportunities for continuing education programs that fit with the region’s aging demographics.

Burns reported that the Academy has been signed an agreement with The France Foundation, an Old Lyme-based continuing education provider for health care professionals, for the Foundation to lease just under 6,000 square feet of space in the Chandler Academic Center, which served as the former College’s administrative center. Burns mentioned in Friday’s phone conversaion that the Foundation is moving into the space this coming weekend.

“We want to be actively involved in the community,” he emphasized, citing the academy’s pumpkin painting venture with Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ students in October last year and how the Academy became a destination for families on Halloween. He also noted that the Academy was the site of Old Lyme’s annual tree-lighting ceremony in this past December and said more community arts activities, including ones based around Valentine’s Day and Easter themes, are in the works.

Next Steps for Old Lyme’s Economic Development

Musical Masterworks Administrative Director Rick Wyman checks the agenda while Old Lyme EDC Co-Chair Howard Margules speaks from the podium.

Economic development in Old Lyme is much more than pure economics, Howard Margules, co-chair of the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC), told the group. It embraces the values of the community and the town’s legacy. This includes arts and culture, maintaining a vibrant community that can continue to support these, and both an increased walkability and connectivity of discrete parts of town.

Margules outlined the effort undertaken by the EDC in past months. This includes a survey of residents and businesses and two SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis workshops conducted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) with community stakeholders, including business owners, non-profit organization leaders, clergy and interested residents.

Public participation in the online survey was record-breaking with 680 residents and 110 businesses responding, said Margules. Significantly, CERC staff said this was by far the highest response rate in town surveys since 150 responses would have been a more typical number, based on the postcard mailing and local outreach. He noted that 70 percent of responses were from people over 50-years-old.

An open Question & Answer session after the presentations drew active participation from the audience.

While data is still being analyzed before the full survey results and recommendations from CERC are made public, Margules said the EDC has given Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold a preliminary review.

Margules then went on to share highlights of the survey results with the Community Connections audience, noting first that most respondents said they wanted more shopping and dining in town, but that there also was a loud and consistent message to retain the character of Old Lyme.

“People overwhelmingly told us they want more development on Halls Road,” he said, pointing out that a majority responded positively while only 19 percent opposed any additional development there. Almost 75 percent of respondents said they wanted more green space in the Halls Road area. Meanwhile, businesses responded that they wanted more and better promotion, more of a town center, and to attract more younger people.

While there currently is no Halls Road plan, he mentioned that the next steps will be to come up with a master plan, which would require appropriate zoning changes. Development would be done primarily by the private property owners.

“The idea of ‘Let’s do nothing’ will not hold up,” Margules said firmly in respect of Halls Road and the town’s retail areas.

Commenting that,“Housing is a very muddled response,” he noted that respondents appear to support more affordable housing options for downsizing seniors and also college students, who wish to return to town but not be living in their parents’ basement.

Once completed, the CERC reports will be shared publicly. A final piece still to be undertaken is an extensive feasibility study. This will include specific recommendations of the kinds of retail and housing, based on survey responses and available areas in Old Lyme, and what has worked in other similar communities in the region and state.

Since the EDC operates without a budget and Old Lyme does not have a professional town planner, Margules said next steps include addressing how the recent surveys, SWOTs and recommendations will be utilized and incorporated into the town’s planning, zoning and economic development strategies.

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Old Lyme Boys, Girls Net More Wins

LYME/OLD LYME — It was another great night for Old Lyme basketball.

The Old Lyme girls crushed St. Bernard 40-20 in an non-conference game yesterday evening in which Taylor Thompson scored 10 points and six rebounds while Sam Gray also notched 10 points as well as four steals. Emily DeRoehn contributed eight points with four rebounds  and three steals.

The game, played in Old Lyme, takes the Wildcats’ record to 7 -3.

Coach Don Bugbee commented after the game, “The girls played very well overall, with contributions from everyone. Our team defense was excellent and it made things very difficult for our opponent.”

The girls play Coginchaug Monday, Jan. 27, and East Hampton Thursday, Jan. 30. Both games are away.

Meanwhile, the Old Lyme boys defeated Hale Ray 92-63.  The Wildcats, playing away, were led by Aedan Using with 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.  Also scoring for Old Lyme was Ray Doll with 17 points, Ty Dean with 11, and Jared Ritchie and Frank Sablone, who both scored 10 points.each with 10.

Hale-Ray was led by Sean Padario, who had six threes and 20 points.

The boys play two homw games next week facing Coginchaug Tuesday and East hampton Friday.

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Needleman Appointed Senate Vice Chair of Planning & Development Committee

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

HARTFORD/LYME — State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), whose District includes the Town of Lyme, has been appointed Senate Vice Chair of the Planning & Development Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly by Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). As a condition of this appointment,  which as announced Tuesday, Sen. Needleman will step down from his position as Senate Vice Chair of the Banking Committee.

Sen. Needleman’s appointment to this committee is in addition to his existing roles as Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee and membership in the Commerce Committee, Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee and Transportation Committee.

“I look forward to starting work on the Planning & Development Committee, working to improve and streamline processes to assist our state’s municipalities and support further development in Connecticut,” said Sen. Needleman. “I would like to thank Senator Looney for his appointment and am excited to continue my work in the upcoming Legislative Session.”

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Today, Community Connections Presents Speakers from Lyme Academy, Old Lyme EDC on How Healthy Communities Affect Organizations

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Executive Director Frank Burns.

LYME-OLD LYME– Lyme-Old Lyme Community Connections hosts a Networking Luncheon and Discussion titled How a Healthy Community Affects Your Organization next Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Old Lyme Country Club. All are welcome.

Volunteers and employees of local organizations know that the health of the community directly affects the future of their organizations. The guest speakers at the meeting will address two major initiatives in the Lyme-Old Lyme community.

The first will see two senior members of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts — Executive Director Frank Burns and board member Sue Grey — give an update on the Academy and its strategic planning.

The second will be presented by Howard Margules, Co-Chair of the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission, who will discuss the recent survey of Old Lyme residents and businesses, and share news about the results. Margules will offer insight into how recommendations and decisions are made for the town based on these survey results.  He will also discuss how economic development affects you and offer an opportunity for attendees to share thrir feedback. Margules also serves on the Halls Road Improvement Committee and will also share an update on that committee.

Roundtable discussions and networking to follow.

Admission is $25 and walk-ins are welcome.
Advance registration is appreciated and can be done in thrre ways as follows:

Community Connections is a forum to discuss community issues and interests, along with opportunities for collaboration among organizations serving Lyme and Old Lyme.

For more information, visit www.LOLCommunityConnections.org

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Old Lyme Basketball Boys, Girls Score Big Wins Over North Branford

Aedan Using scored a remarkable 36 points againt North Branford Tuesday night. File photo.

LYME/OLD LYME  — Last night was a very good night for Old Lyme’s basketball teams.

Don Bugbee’s girls defeated the North Branford Thunderbirds at Old Lyme last night finishing with 53-47 victory. Meanwhile Kirk Kaczor’s boys traveled to North Branford and came away with a 70-51 win.

Highlights from the girl’s game included Junior Sam Gray’s 20 points and four rebounds while fellow Junior Emily DeRoehn scored 12 points and took five rebounds. Another Junior Ellis Zrenda took 12 rebounds.

Bugbee commented after the game, “This was a solid team effort given to defeat an aggressive and physical opponent. There was clear improvement in our play, which progressively developed each quarter throughout the game,” adding, “The difference in the game proved to be very good foul shooting by the whole team”.

Down at North Branford, Old Lyme defeated North Branford 70-51.  Aedan Using led the Wildcats with 36 points, 10 blocks and 14 rebounds.  Jared Ritchie added five blocks and four steals while Ray Doll scored 10 points.

Mike Sitro led the Thunderbirds with 26 points.

Next up for the girls is St. Bernard at Old Lyme on Thursday while the boys travel to Hale-Ray the same night.

The girls record is 6-3 while the boys stand at 8-1.

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Lyme Library Presents Rescheduled ‘Backyard Birding,’ Feb. 29

LYME — Curious as to whom is composing that sweet-sounding trill?

Join the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center at the Lyme Public Library to learn how to identify backyard birds by sight and sound Saturday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m.  Learn who is at the feeder during each season and what their feeding habits are.

Bring your binoculars for some outdoor practice. The presenter will also have some pairs available.

For information and to register, call the library at 860-434-2272.

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Celebrating ‘the Kate’s’ 10-Year-Anniversary, ‘On Golden Pond’ Runs Through Sunday


OLD SAYBROOK —
On Golden Pond” opens tomorrow at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center – the Kate — in old saybrook as part of the Kate’s 10-year-anniversary celebrations.

The Saybrook Stage Company will be performing this poignant and comedic piece by Ernest Thompson, which inspired the Hollywood blockbuster movie. Appropriately, in light of the theater’s namesake, On Golden Pond  was not only one of Katharine Hepburn’s most cherished performances but also earned her a fourth Academy Award for Best Actress.

On Golden Pond is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. He is a retired professor, nearing 80, with heart palpitations and a failing memory—but still as tart-tongued and witty as ever. Ethel, 10 years younger, delights in all the small things that have enriched their long married life together.

They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her new fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son, Billy, behind for the summer.

Billy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the couple have longed for and Norman revels in taking him fishing and inspiring him with the classics. Norman, in turn, learns some new language and perspectives from Billy and the comedy ensues.

In the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together as they find themselves alone again on Golden Pond. 

The play originally opened on Broadway in 1979 and then was made into a movie in 1981 starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda – both actors won an Academy Award for their respective performances. Jane Fonda played the couple’s daughter.

Thompson was only 28-years-old when he wrote On Golden Pond; he also won a the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1981.

The cast includes Ralph Buonocore and Mark Gilchrist of Madison, Terri Corigliano of Old Saybrook, Jim Hile of Clinton, Amy Kirby of New London and Jake Totten of Granby.

Performances are Jan. 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinée Saturday and also Sunday, Jan. 19. 

Tickets  can be purchased directly at www.TheKate.org or  by calling  860.510.0453

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Old Lyme Basketball Boys Extend Unbeaten Run with Wins Over East Hampton, Portland

LYME/OLD LYME — The Old Lyme boys continued their unbeaten run last night with a 65-39 victory over East Hampton.
Jared Ritchie scored a career high 20 points and also scoring in double digits for the Wildcats was Ray Doll, who had 11 points and five assists.

Stephen Brady led East Hampton with 19 points.

On Jan. 3, Old Lyme jumped out to a 19-0 lead against Portland, but Portland climbed back eventually falling to the ‘Cats 61-44.  Ty Dean led all scorers with 15 points while Ray Doll, Brady Sheffield and Aiden Using added 10, 11 and 13 respectively for Old Lyme.
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Talking Transportation: A Conversation With CT DOT Commissioner Giulietti

Jim Cameron

Joseph Giulietti is finishing his first year as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation — CDOT.  He’s been busy and less visible in recent months, so imagine my surprise when he offered me a one-on-one, no-holds-barred interview.

“You’ve always been fair, Jim.  You’ve hit me hard but you’ve always been fair,” said the Commissioner.  That’s music to my ears and I hope he feels the same way after reading this column.

Our conversation covered every aspect of CDOT’s operations from Metro-North to CT 2030 to tolls (which we will cover next week in Part Two).  Here are some highlights from our conversation.

I reminded the Commissioner that before he joined CDOT he authored the infamous “30-30-30” report as a consultant to the Business Council of Fairfield County, arguing that it was possible to speed up trains to be able to go between Grand Central, Stamford, New Haven and Hartford in 30 minutes per leg.  Any regrets at such a promise?

Giulietti said such speeds are still possible … in a few years.  He wants to increase train speeds, re-do some bridges to avoid slowing down and save “five minutes here and 10 minutes there.” He also held out hope for faster service on Metro-North trains to Penn Station (after the Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project is finished going into Grand Central.)

“We’ve got cell-phone data from the Feds showing that 40 percent of riders to Grand Central continue south to Wall Street but 20 percent go west toward Penn Station,” he added.

He also held out hope for limited, rush-hour non-stop express service from New Haven to GCT and Stamford to GCT.

As for new rail cars… the additional 66 M8 cars that were to be delivered this year “are running a bit late”, but he called the M8’s a tremendous success.  Those M8 cars were supposed to also run on Shore Line East, but even with 405 M8s CDOT doesn’t have enough of them even for the mainline given increased ridership.  The Commissioner said he’s still looking at diesel push-pull double-decker cars where a ten-car train could carry almost 2000 passengers.

But he says that electrification of the Danbury and Waterbury branch lines just isn’t on the cards due to the cost.

As for fares:  he couldn’t say if they’d go up because he doesn’t know what funding in the Special Transportation Fund will be like.  But he did pledge cost savings in his department calling possible rail service cuts “the worst of all worlds.”

While the Walk Bridge project in Norwalk is running late and over-budget, he blamed litigation and said he has firm funding commitments from Amtrak on that bridge and the one over the Connecticut River.

But will CDOT have enough talented engineers after 2022 when 40 percent of the department’s most experienced staffers will be up for retirement?  The Commissioner said that succession planning is a huge priority for him.  He’s even grooming replacements for his own job.

But among the rank-and-file, it’s hard to keep talent.  “I can’t hold onto someone with a CDL (Commercial Drivers License.)  “Some of the towns are paying more [than CDOT.]”

With a special session of the legislature coming up in January to consider tolls, there’s a lot hanging in the balance.  What does Giulietti think of his boss [the Governor] and Mr Sasser’s “No Tolls CT” movement?

Read those frank comments next week in Part Two of our conversation.

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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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming’ by David Wallace-Wells

Is global warming a sensible hypothesis? Is it happening? What may be its consequences?  What can and should we, as human beings, do about it?

These are some of the most important questions facing us today. David Wallace-Wells begins with startling pessimism, moving on to despair, but he finally concludes with a modest sense of optimism. Thank goodness … at least for this reader.

He tests our ability to continue reading in an ominous Chapter 2, some 100 pages of possible woe: heat death, hunger, drowning, wildfires, disasters (no longer natural). freshwater drain, dying oceans, unbreathable air, plagues of warming, economic collapse, climate “conflict”, and “systems” collapses.

What a challenge!

As the author writes at its end, “If you have made it this far, you are a brave reader.” It confirms Pogo’s famous law: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

This analysis leads Wallace-Wells to suggest how we might respond: “But climate change inverts the (human) perspective – giving us not a deep time of permanence but a deep time of cascading, disorienting change, so deep that it mocks any pretense of permanence on the planet.” Does this then enhance the delusions of apocalypse believers?

What do other think of this proposition?

John Lancaster, writing in The New York Times (4/28/19) says: “a remorseless, near unbearable account of what we are doing to our planet.”
From The Economist (5/25/19): “[the book explores the] … causal link between climate change and conflict (encompassing everything from interpersonal to large-scale violence.)”
From the New Scientist (4/27/19): “The goal should not be net-zero carbon emissions, as fast as possible. How fast is feasible is a legitimate matter for debate.”
Dana Wilde, writing in The Working Waterfront (9/20/19) notes: “Reading the book’s first sections is like being caught in a carpet-bombing.”

Buried in the author’s notes is a conclusion by Paul Kingsnorth, from Dark Ecology (2012): “The answer is that it leaves you with an obligation to be honest about here you are in history’s great cycle, and what you have the power to do, and what you don’t.” At least, we can try.

Then Wallace-Wells counsels that the problem stems from “ … both human humility and human grandiosity … If humans are responsible for the problem, they must be capable of undoing it … it is an acceptance of responsibility.”

My personal counsel: “Don’t despair; respond!” Or perhaps, to my offspring, “Go North, young people, and go inland!”

Editor’s Note: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells, was published by Tim Duggan Books, New York, 2019 .

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, a subject which explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there.
For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His late wife, Ann, was also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visited every summer.

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Lyme DTC Thanks Two Long-Term Volunteers – Mattson and Sauer – for Decades of Service

Maddy Mattson stands with State Senator Norm Needleman after being presented with an official statement of appreciation from Governor Lamont for her many years of service to the Lyme DTC.

LYME – At its most recent meeting, the members of the Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) thanked Claire Sauer and Maddy Mattson for their decades of service to the Lyme DTC and the Town of Lyme, as the two long-term Democratic volunteers announced their intent to step down from the committee.

State Senator Norm Needleman gave Claire Sauer an official statement of appreciation from Governor Lamont for her decades of service to the Lyme and state Democrats.

Sauer has served on the Lyme DTC for more than 40 years and Mattson for more than 20 years. Both have played instrumental roles in the committee’s successes during their long tenures, according to Lyme DTC Chairman John Kiker.

State Senator Norm Needleman was on hand at the meeting to thank and celebrate their work; and Governor Ned Lamont recognized their contributions via an official statement.

The Lyme DTC’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut. The committee typically meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall. These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Learn More About CT Audubon’s ‘State of The Birds’ Report on ‘CT Outdoors’ This Morning with Suzanne Thompson

CT Audubon Society’s Executive Director Patrick Comins pauses for a photo with ‘CT Outdoors’ host Suzanne Thompson prior to his interview on her show, which is being broadcast this weekend.

LYME/OLD LYME — Are coastal Connecticut communities and Long Island Sound ready for unpredictable environmental changes? Find out on this week’s CT Outdoors radio show, which is hosted by Suzanne Thompson of Old Lyme.

Thompson’s guest this week is Patrick Comins, CT Audubon Society’s Executive Director, who discusses with Thompson the findings of the organization’s most recent State of the Birds report that focuses on Long Island Sound. The focus of the report is the varying impacts of sea level rise and changing climatic conditions on wildlife and people.

Listen Saturday, Jan. 11, fro 1 to1:30 p.m. or Sunday, Jan. 12, from 7 t 7:30 am, on WLIS 1420 AM/Old Saybrook and WMRD 1150 AM/Middletown, or streaming at www.wliswmrd.net. Play back on your PC or Mac anytime from http://www.wliswmrd.net, click the On Demand icon, look for pop-up screen from radiosecurenetsystems.net, and scroll to  CT-Outdoors-10720—CT-Audubon-Society

This 14th annual report includes articles on newly-emerging technologies to obtain accurate counts of Old Lyme’s migrating tree swallows, the improving health of the Connecticut River and challenges facing salt marshes and coastal bird species. A full copy of the report is at https://www.ctaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/CT-AUDUBON-2019StateOfBirds_Final.pdf

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme is one of seven nature centers of the statewide CT Audubon Society, which also manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries constituting almost 3,300 acres of open space in the state.

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Lyme DTC Meets Monthly on Third Thursday, All Welcomd

LYME – The Lyme Lyme Democratic Town Committee’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut.  The committee typically meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at Lyme Town Hall. These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Old Lyme Girls Pull Off Confident Win at H-K

LYME/OLD LYME — On Tuesday, Don Bugbee’s girls traveled to Haddam-Killingworth and came away with a strong 46-32 victory. Leading scorer Sam Gray notched an impressive 19 points with eight rebounds while Emily DeRoehn added nine points with nine rebounds and five steals.

Coach Bugbee commented, “It was a solid team performance overall with offensive and defensive contributions from all players.”

The team’s current record is 5-2 in the Shoreline Conference.

On Friday, Old Lyme meets Amistad at home and next Tuesday, Jan. 14, they face East Hampton, also at home.

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Graduate, Now Playwright, Emily Zemba Launches Kickstarter to Fund New Play in NYC


LYME/OLD LYME —
If you’re an aspiring playwright, actually writing a play can be the relatively easy part but finding the funding to produce your play can be a major challenge.

Emily Zemba

Emily Zemba, a 2006 graduate from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS), is trying a highly original approach to generate some seed money to bring her latest play to life on the stage.

She explained to LymeLine, “I have recently joined forces with two other amazing female writers to form The Pool — and our mission is to “take on the soul of America in rep” with our highly theatrical plays.” Along with fellow playwrights Kate Cortesi and Brenda Withers, Zemba has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which is aiming to raise $6,000 by next Saturday, Jan. 11, to cover the initial costs of putting on their respective plays in the fall of 2020 at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City’s West Village.

Asked about her play, Zemba says, “It is titled Superstitions, and is an absurd, dark comedy that links superstitions to cultural terrors and a collective national anxiety. I know, I know, anxiety is a riot! But I promise that the play is just as fun and ridiculous as it is unsettling. ” She notes that the play was nominated for 2018 Venturous Playwright Fellowship, and also that she has already received a grant from The Artists Patron Fund in support of this production.

After her graduation from LOLHS, Zemba attended Sarah Lawrence College and then went onto Yale University, where she obtained an MFA from the School of Drama in May 2015. Zemba’s parents are former Old Lyme Selectman Kurt Zemba and Catherine Frank, who retired from the position of Exceutive Assistant to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder in October 2019.

Zemba notes that in addition to the Kickstarter, there will continue to be ways to donate directly through their website. Also, donations of $1,000 or more will be fully tax-deductible if made through their fiscal sponsor: New Georges (simply make the check out to New Georges with The Pool 2020 listed in the memo line.)

But the immediate challenge is to raise $6,000 by Jan. 11. At the time of writing, $4,597 has been raised so these young playwrights are close to the finish line. The Kickstarter page states: “We may still be about 10 months out from production, but there are several up-front costs which need immediate attention, for example:

  • The New Ohio requires a down payment a year out.
  • We have hired a PR Rep who will help launch our marketing campaign and assist with project visibility.
  • The directors who will helm our productions need contracts sooner rather than later, before their schedules get any busier.
  • We are hiring a creative producer to oversee and coordinate the myriad pieces of this ambitious undertaking.”

If you wish to donate to support these playwrights and help bring their plays to the stage, visit the Kickstarter page for The Pool at this link where there is more information about the project.

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