June 17, 2021

Lyme Academy Hosts ‘Java Groove’ in Outdoor Concert This Evening; All Welcome, Free Admission

Java Groove will perform, Thursday, June 17, at the second outdoor concert hosted by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

OLD LYME — Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has announced an outdoor summer concert series titled, Sounds on the Grounds, which will take place Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Java Groove will entertain tomorrow, Thursday, June 17.

All are welcome and admission is free. Masks are advised for those who are not vaccinated and children under 12.

The series is being produced in partnership with Nightingale’s Acoustic Café.

You can bring your own picnic and lawn chairs. Cold beers, wine, craft cocktails and alcohol-free options, as well as delicious food truck fare, will all be for sale. Watch for the Jumping Cow Ice Cream Truck!

Lawn games will also be available and children can enjoy a few hours of safely social, family-friendly fun.

The full schedule of concerts is as follows:

Thursday, June 17:
5 – 8 p.m. Java Groove

Thursday, June 24:
5 – 5:45 pm John Brown and the Backporch Pickers |
6 – 8 pm Eight Mile River Band

Thursday, July 1:
5 – 5:45 pm Midnight Anthem |
6 – 8 pm Steve Dedman and Plywood Cowboy

Update From Halls Rd. Improvement Committee Covers New Plans, Next Steps; Two Open House Dates Announced

The boards showing the plans are on display in the front foyer of the Town Hall for members of the public to review at their leisure.

Editor’s Note: We have been asked by the Halls Rd. Improvement Committee to share this June 2021 update with our readers.

OLD LYME — Phase II of the Halls Road Plan has been completed by our consultants the BSC Group. This includes maps and descriptions of the new public right of way improvements, and a look at a range of private development opportunities that will be enabled by the new Village District zoning.

Two key drawings from the final Halls Road Plan are on display in the foyer of Memorial Town Hall and can be viewed during open hours. Committee members and BSC team will be at Town Hall for two Open House dates (Saturday, July 10, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 8, 1 to 3:30 p.m.) to discuss the plan and answer questions.

The Master Plan Booklet is also available online at this link.

This phase represents the formal conceptual plan for the future Halls Road Village District. BSC will complete additional detailed work in support of the plan (as described below) in the coming weeks.

The Town of Old Lyme is responsible for improvements to the public right of way.

The formal Halls Road Plan will aid the town in securing grants to help offset the costs of construction. The changes in zoning – creating a mixed-use Village District along Halls Road with a supporting set of Design Guidelines – are tools to guide future private development and investment along Halls Road.

Under the current contract, BSC Group will also help with next steps in regulatory approvals, grants, zoning, and design guidelines. 

Visit the Old Lyme Town Hall to review the boards showing the Halls Rd. plans n person.

Next Steps for Public Right of Way Improvements:

  • Obtain approvals from CT DOT and other agencies. (BSC)
  • Provide a comprehensive list of available grants for Public Right of Way construction. (BSC)
  • Provide grant writing assistance to apply for grants. (BSC)
  • Apply for grants. (Town)

Next Steps in Guiding Future Private Investment in the Halls Road Village District:

  • Provide recommended zoning language changes to describe a new mixed-use Village District for the Halls Road area. (BSC)
  • Help those responsible to finalize zoning language for the new Village District. (BSC)
  • Create architectural Design Guidelines to supplement Village District zoning. (BSC)

Saint Ann’s, CT Episcopal Church, CT River Conservancy Present ‘Cherish, Celebrate on the CT River,’ Tonight

Pilgrim’s Landing is where the ‘Cherish and Celebrate on the Connecticut River’ event will be held next Tuesday.

OLD LYME — On Tuesday, June 15, Saint Ann’s Church, Old Lyme, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) and the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) present  “Cherish and Celebrate on the Connecticut River.”

Using prayers from God’s Good Earth,  the people of Saint Ann’s, Old Lyme, together with the Rt. Rev. Ian T Douglas, Bishop of  ECCT, will lead a time of worship at 6:30 p.m. This will be followed by stories of caring for the Connecticut River, led by Kelsey Wentling of CRC.  

The in-person option will be at 1 Pilgrim Landing, Old Lyme. The wearing of facial  coverings will be required. Bring your own chair.

Parking assistants will be on site at 1 Pilgrim Landing.

In the event of rain, the gathering will take place at Saint Ann’s, 82 Shore Rd.,(Rte. 156), Old Lyme, two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the  church.

For more information, visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org. The event is also available via Zoom. Register for either option at this link

In the heart of an historic art colony, since 1883 Saint Ann’s Parish has graced the  coastal landscape of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound with a strong presence  and vital commitment to service in the community.

Saint Ann’s is a Level 2 Green House  of Worship. This recognition is awarded by the CT Interreligious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN),  a program of environmental stewardship that grants certificates of achievement for  implementing eco-friendly measures in buildings and within congregations.  

Since 1952, the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) has provided a voice for the river. Today, the organization, members, and volunteers work with partners to protect and restore the river  and four-state watershed. CRC advocates for rivers, while educating and engaging communities. By coming together, the CRC believes pollution is prevented, habitat is improved, and enjoyment of the river and its tributary streams promoted. Healthy rivers support healthy  economies.  

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) is a Christian church devoted to  participating in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation as followers of Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit. ECCT is made up of over 150 Episcopal parishes  and close to 60,000 Episcopalians living in Connecticut.

The Episcopal Church in  Connecticut is one of over 110 dioceses that collectively form The Episcopal Church, a U.S.-based member church of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Opening Reception for Studio 80’s ‘Summer Sculpture Showcase’ to be held Saturday, All Welcome

‘Yes’ by Joe Gitterman is one of the featured works in this year’s Summer Sculpture Showcase.

OLD LYME — An Opening Reception for Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds’ 7th Annual Summer Sculpture Showcase will be held Saturday, June 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the artwork on display … and a much-anticipated return to socialization! All are welcome.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds is a vibrant community environment dedicated to arts education and appreciation on the Connecticut shoreline. Its mission is to create a bond between art, nature and community by inspiring and promoting participation in the arts.

The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their sculptures in a wonderful environment specifically designed to nurture the creative arts.  This year, the Showcase features sculptural works by 20 selected artists.

Unplug and take the opportunity to wander around Gil Boro’s Sculpture Grounds and see the more than 100 sculptures on display,

In an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, masks will be mandatory for all and social distancing measures will be practiced. If you have not been vaccinated, you are requested to consider not attending the event.

The health and well-being of the community is of paramount importance. It is for this reason that the event will be held exclusively outdoors, weather permitting, and no refreshments will be served this year. Guests are, however, welcome to BYO!

Legal News You Can Use: Basic Information About QDROs

When a couple is going through a divorce, they often know that they will need to divide their property and there may be decisions to make regarding child custody. However, they may not be aware of the requirements of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and its role in the divorce.

Retirement plan benefits

A QDRO is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes an alternate payee’s right to receive all or some of a participant’s benefits under a retirement plan. It is completed after the divorce is final.

The alternate payee must be a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the plan’s participant. The QDRO may be included with the divorce decree, a property settlement or it can be issued as a separate order.

The QDRO must contain the name and mailing address of the participant and payee, the name of each plan the order applies to, the amount to be paid to the payee and the number of payments or time period for the payments.

The administrators of the retirement plan that provides benefits affected by the order have specific responsibilities. They act as plan fiduciaries, meaning that they act in the interest of the plan participant and the beneficiaries. They are required to provide notice to participants and alternate payees when they receive the order and information about how they determine the status of an order.

It is very important that QDROs are completed accurately and they can be very complex.

An experienced attorney can answer questions about the QDRO process, provide representation for divorce matters and help parties make informed decisions.

Attorneys at Suisman Shapiro can discuss the divorce process with you and answer your questions on the subject. Visit their website or call 800-499-0145 — lines are open 24 hours a day.

Sponsored post by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.

‘Joint Chiefs’ Present Concert at Saint Ann’s Saturday, All Welcome

The Joint Chiefs will perform at Saint Ann’s, June 19.

OLD LYME — On Saturday, June 19, Live@SaintAnn’s presents the Joint Chiefs, a band presenting eclectic Americana and World Music,

Formed in 1995, the group presents “great songs…the kind that are so well written they are able to transcend the style in which they were originally conceived.”
With three critically-acclaimed CDs to their credit (“it matches your juice” in 2000, “Half Fast” in 2004 and “Sending Up a Flare” in 2018), they have also performed at New Haven’s Arts and Ideas Festival, Winterhawk Bluegrass and Beyond, Clearwater Great Hudson’s River Revival, and many radio appearances.
Their music infuses an acoustic dynamic. Saint Ann’s invites all to come hear the Joint Chiefs’ “tight harmonies and loose attitude.”
The Joint Chiefs will perform outdoors on Saint Ann’s expansive new terrace; seating will be on the lawn–bring your own chairs; feel free to picnic. Admission is a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Grounds open at 5 p.m., performance starts at 6 p.m.
Live@SaintAnn’s is a concert series of Saint Ann’s dedicated to bringing music of all kinds to our community and welcoming our community to our campus.
Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, CT, where Provisional Priest-in-Charge the Reverend Dr. Anita Louise Schell welcomes all visitors to this family-friendly event.
Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Road (Rt. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.
For more information, visit Saint Ann’s at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

A la Carte: Cowboy Beans … a Sure-Fire Favorite

Lee White

I have had the requisite failures in the kitchen, and they may have been legion, but the one I remember happened decades ago and it had to do with baked beans.

We lived in our first old house in Leicester, Mass. It had massive stone kitchen fireplaces, this one with a beehive oven. That failure was on a day we invited friends for dinner.

It was a cold winter, and we had taken a few classes on hearth cooking. I decided the dessert would be a bread pudding, but I would make it in the regular oven. I knew if a meal was mediocre, dessert should be a sure-fire home run, and a dessert made with buttered bread, lots of eggs and cream, a few shots of bourbon and a caramel sauce would be one.

Good thing that dessert was terrific for I made baked beans from scratch.

I’d read lots of recipes, some from a beehive oven, others bubbling on a cast-iron pot hanging from the side of the hot over, a third right on the coals and the lid topped with more hot coals. I let the beans soak overnight in water. I used all the right ingredients with the beans: pieces of fat, brown sugar, ketchup, onions, some mustard. I let it hold on the coals for hours. We had hot dogs with the beans.

The kitchen was redolent with all the right smells.

How were the beans? Like eating buckshot, but much bigger pieces of buckshot. As friends worried about the fillings in their teeth, they smiled, kindly, but after a few bites, they ate the hot dogs.

The bread pudding was wonderful.

There had been plenty of beer and wine. 

I no longer make from-scratch baked beans. Today I just doctor canned beans. Sometimes I just doctor Bush Beans Original beans. They rarely need much doctoring. But here is a recipe that would work every time … and no need to worry about your fillings!

Cowboy Beans

From Savory magazine by Stop & Shop, June, 2021 (free from the supermarket)
Yield: serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (I always use a sweet onion)
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef (85 percent is fine, too)
2 15.5 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 ounce can reduced-sodium beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup smoky barbecue sauce
½ cup strongly ground coffee
2 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion and jalapenos and cook 5 to 6 minutes, until tender, stirring often.

Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring.

Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring and breaking up beef with oven.

To Dutch oven, add beans, barbecue sauce and coffee. Stir to combine.

Heat to a boil on high and then reduce to a simmer. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened and beef is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Stir in mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Ledge Light Announces 2021 Mosquito Control Program, Free Larvicide ‘Dunks’ Offered to all District Residents

LYME/OLD LYME — Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is offering mosquito control consultation services and larvicidal mosquito dunks to residents in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Ledge Light is also offering this service to the other towns LLHD services, i.e., East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington, Stonington, and Waterford.

Mosquito dunks are a larvicide designed to lessen the potential for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Zika Virus. They are safe for use around the home because they utilize a naturally-occurring biological treatment to eliminate mosquitos before they become flying/feeding adults.

Ledge Light emphasizes that now is the time to be proactive about mosquito control because mosquitoes are just beginning to breed for the summer season.

Breeding sites include standing water in wetland areas or yard depressions, clogged rain gutters, empty garden containers, used tire piles, pool covers and tree holes.

It is important to empty standing water on your property once a week to eliminate potential mosquito breeding. When standing water cannot be removed, using a larvicide will eliminate immature mosquitoes before they can mature into flying adults. Flying adults are much more difficult and costly to eliminate.

Ledge Light Health District will provide to residents or homeowners association, free of charge:

  1. A site visit to assess standing water issues and make recommendations for eliminating mosquito breeding conditions
  2. An initial treatment with mosquito dunks*
  3. A season‐long supply of mosquito dunks, until our supply is eliminated.

*Note that the District will only provide larvicide dunks for standing water bodies less than 400 sq. ft. Application of the larvicide will be done by the homeowner.

For more information, contact Patti Myers, 860‐434‐1605 ext. 214 or visit the LLHD website: www.llhd.org, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Website: www.ct.gov/mosquito or the CT DEEP Pesticide Management Program or Pre‐Notification Registry at 860‐434‐3369.

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Principal Tells Class of 2021 its Key Quality is ‘Resiliency … [and so] You Will Not Just Survive, You Will Thrive’

OLD LYME — 6/13 UPDATED 3:20pm: It was a perfect evening for the Commencement Ceremony of Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s 115 members of the Class of 2021.

They marched in, mostly masked …

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Principal James Wygonik (pictured above) reminded the Class of 2021 of the saying on the coat-of-arms of the Benedictine Monks, who were founded in 529 AD, which says, “When you cut it down, it grows back stronger.”

Valedictorian Connie Pan ‘s speech was filled with touches of humor. Photo by Warner Swain.


The theme of Valedictorian Connie Pan’s speech was trees. Urging her classmates to, ” Just imagine for a moment: we are all trees,'” she continued, “We are gathered here to celebrate our growth, as well as a future of branches arcing towards the sun.  We have been through storms, through uprootings of our friends and peers, and therefore, we all have some of the same roots.”

She ended her speech on a profoundly positive note, saying, “This is the place from which we grow, stretching our limbs into the light of the world.  I couldn’t ask for a better place for my roots to be.”

Salutatorian Megan Cravinho, pictured above, brought her childhood step-stool to the podium to ensure she could reach the microphone and then referenced it throughout her speech in relation to the growth — not necessarily physical — that the Class of 2021 had experienced in their four years of high school.

The crux of her message was, “Whatever your next steps are, and even if you need a step-stool along the way, the room for growth is boundless. Keep expanding and improving, taking chances, finding new opportunities.”

Honor Essayist Riley Nelson is pictured above. The theme of her speech was the importance of walking and she reminded her fellow members of the Class of 2021, “Sometimes it will feel like you’re walking too slowly but that is allowed. There will be times when you have to force yourself to slow down before you burn yourself out … there’s no race to the end, even if it seems like that sometimes.”

She concluded, “We’re allowed to take our time, to not know the direction, to go at our own speed, and bring friends along on the journey. We’re allowed our own pace. A walking pace.”

The Mildred Sanford Outstanding Educator Award, the recipient of which is selected by the senior class, was longtime English teacher Karen Duhamel, pictured above.

Another English teacher, Jill Ressler, was presented with a bouquet by Principal Wygonik in recognition of her retirement after 15 years tenure at the high school. She stands in the photo above at left with her colleague — and Mildred Sanford Award recipient — Karen Duhamel.

The choir sang …

The band played …


And there were smiles here, for valedictorian Connie Pan and her family  …

… there, for this wonderful group of lady graduates …

and everywhere … especially for these two fine young men, Jake Quaratella and Gabe Lavoie!

Here are the speeches from the evening:

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Principal
James Wygonik

To our Board of Education, Superintendent Neviaser, administrative team, the best teachers in America, families, alumni, community members, and of course the class of 2021, it is my honor to welcome you to the 48th Lyme-Old Lyme High School graduation exercises.     

To the parents and families of our graduates.  I am confident that I speak for the administrative team and our faculty when I say that you have been great partners in this journey. Thank you for trusting us with your children.  May I remind the graduates that your families are your biggest fans.  They will be there for you.  And believe me, you will need them.  Never take for granted their love and support.  You will be astonished how smart your parents will become in the next few years.  Don’t be afraid or too proud to lean on them. I am going to pause my remarks, so each of you to take the next ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are.

I do fear that I am currently dreaming and when I wake up all of you will be on my computer screen.  For now, we will work under the presumption that I am awake.  So let’s continue.

On the coat-of-arms of the Benedictine Monks founded in 529 AD is the Latin phrase su-keesa where-esket.  It translates into “when you cut it down, it grows back stronger.”  For the past year, this pandemic did its very best to” cut-down” if you will, your senior year.  The disruptions, restrictions, and distractions were too numerous to count.  To many, just getting through the year would be monumental.  But the class of 2021 raised the bar at a school with already high standards.

I first noticed something special back in the Fall.  

The math team, despite having to conduct their matches via Zoom won the Middlesex County title and finished as one of the top ten schools in the state.  Our artists dominated the Shoreline Art show.  No traditional Robotics season.  No problem.  Let’s just build a satellite.  While most other schools were cancelling concerts and musicals, we moved the music outside under the stars and produced a first-class movie.  COVID shut down spring sports last year.  Fast-forward to this year. Despite having only one player with varsity experience, our girl’s tennis team went undefeated to win the state championship.  Heck, they may never lose again.  Something as simple as our day to day operations ran smoothly because of you.  You did what leaders do.  You led by example.  As a class, you never settled.  You never made excuses.  You just flourished.  Everything this year was harder.  But you kept getting better.   There is a saying that the same boiling water that softens the potato, also hardens the egg.  It’s what you are made of, not the circumstances.  Class of 2021, you are an inspiring basket of eggs. 

47 classes have walked across this stage before you.  Each with many talents and gifts.  But you will leave here with a distinctive quality that no other class as a whole can claim.  Resiliency.  And that quality will serve you for the rest of your life.  Nobody goes through life undefeated.  But watching you this past year… how you dealt with disappointment, restrictions, and limitations has convinced me that whatever curveballs life throws, you will not just survive.  You will thrive. My money is on you. 

In closing I am not going to wish you a life of success.  Success is what others think of you. Success is adding value to yourself. Instead I wish you a life of significance.  I believe significance comes when you add value to others—and you can’t have true success without significance.  Your contributions and leadership during this pandemic have added value to our school and our community.  Carry that mindset with you as you begin the next phase of your life’s journey.

Su-keesa where-esket.  “When you cut it down, it grows back stronger.”

Class of 2021.  Thank you.  You led us.  You made us better.  Remember that you are Wildcats for life.  I wish you all the best.

Connie Pan

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?  I’ll give you a second to think about it.  

Maybe some of you thought about sturdy sycamores, or delicate willows, or cartoon Truffula trees from the Lorax animated film, circa 2012.  Personally, that was my choice.  Maybe you didn’t think of any particular species, but said, a big tree. A strong tree.  A pretty tree.  Whatever tree you thought of, hold onto that thought for a little.  

Trees are some of the most fascinating organisms on this planet.  They take months, years, decades to stretch their branches up to the sky and dig their roots into the ground below.  Roots hold the soil in place, help the tree acquire nutrients, and provide habitat for other creatures.  They’re wonderful – and have you ever seen a tree growing on top of what looks like bare rock, too stubborn to starve or fall over?  Have you ever seen a sidewalk cracked and broken because some obstinate tree’s roots destroyed the pavement in a quest for life?  Roots cling, they nourish, they have power.  

Just imagine for a moment: we are all trees.  We are gathered here to celebrate our growth, as well as a future of branches arcing towards the sun.  We have been through storms, through uprootings of our friends and peers, and therefore, we all have some of the same roots.

I’ve spent my whole life in Old Lyme.  I’ve grown up with some of you, our trunks nearly intertwined with how close we’ve been throughout the years – I don’t have many memories of childhood without you in them.  Some of you I met a little later, but my roots are tangled with yours anyway.  I know that each tree in this forest will have stories in its rings, because our class is complex, layered, and magical.  Every time I talk to anyone in our grade, I learn something new, both about them and about myself.  I’m so grateful for all of you. 

Of course, trees can’t grow to their fullest potential without a little help.  So I want you all to think about the people who have supported you, and I’ll be selfish for a little bit and take the time to thank the people who supported me.  

To my wonderful teachers, no matter how large or small of an impact you think you’ve had on me, thank you.  The teachers in this school have been like the rain for this tree, like gentle showers of wisdom, support, and guidance. Whether you’ve helped me write my poetry (Mrs. Cleveland, Ressler, Duhamel, and Burke), supported my independent projects for charities (Madame), or simply asked me how I was in the hallway each day (DH), I have a lot of love in my heart for you.  Mr. Allik, you get a special little shoutout, as the person who put up with endless tantrums and tears, who has worn me down so much that I’m finally following my passion in college.

I have to thank my friends and peers as well. You’ve been like the sun to this tree, helping my leaves turn green and unfurl.  As I look at all of you, I’m so lucky.  I get to make jokes with you, listen to you read your poems out loud, eat lunch with you, go to the gym with you, cheer you on at sports games, watch you go ham at spirit week challenges every year (George Danes, you know who you are), go on endless goodwill trips with you, do crosswords with you when we should be listening in class, or even just pass by you in the hallway.  You guys shine so bright – it’s wonderful and terrifying and I love you all.

And I need to say one last thank you.  To my family, you are the soil I’m rooted in.  You are the people who have supported me unconditionally, who wipe my tears when I cry, who teach me about life and love through everything you do.  In particular, I need to give a special shoutout to the strongest person I know, the one who has dedicated her whole life to making mine better.  Mom, you have taken me to thirteen-hour swim meets, let me scream when I’m angry, held me as I sobbed.  People think I’m successful? I would be nothing without you cheering me on, reminding me of appointments I have to go to, and last but not least, waking me up in the mornings so I’m only tardy instead of absent.  I couldn’t be here at all without you, both literally and figuratively.  So, to my wonderful family, I love you more than I can say in words.

Just as we have grown through our four years here, our class has helped the school grow too.  We have won championships, performed in shows, made new clubs, served our peers and community – you name it, we’ve done it.  I could not be prouder of the things my peers achieve, or of the dreams I know each one of us carries forward.  

The class of 2021 is passing down the torch – we are leaving behind our sports uniforms, our textbooks, our seats at lunch, and our mission to make this school and these towns a better place to learn and grow.  I know that we will thrive after getting these diplomas, just as I know this school will thrive beyond our time here.

This, friends, is the place that we are from.  This is the place from which we grow, stretching our limbs into the light of the world.  I couldn’t ask for a better place for my roots to be.

Megan Cravinho

How have we grown? 

I keep asking myself this question, pondering whether I’ve grown at all. Like in many families, mine carries the tradition to measure the kids and cousins’ height on the pantry door. Mine is all marked up with pencil lines, names, and dates. Even some friends joined in throughout the years. Just a couple weeks ago, I opened up the pantry door full of marks, and measured myself once again. (pause) Turns out, I haven’t budged a quarter inch since 2018, our freshman year. I brought my childhood step-stool today just to make sure I could reach the mic. And yes, I still use it to reach the higher shelves in the pantry too. 

On the other hand, all of us still have a-ways to grow, but growth isn’t always physical. Our class, in hindsight, has made tremendous strides over the past four years. We have progressed past our freshman pranks and thanks to our government-mandated education (pause), we’ve been provided space to develop into the unique individuals we are and will continue to become. Each of our niches at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Wind Ensemble for me, maybe environmental or ping pong club for you, has contributed to our quote on quote high school experience, shaped our vision for the future, and impacted our passions, interests, and purposes. 

I hope we can all agree that when we are going through life, it’s hard to see how much we change over time.  Growth isn’t always noticeable. In Tait’s case, I am not so sure. He shot up to a tall 6’3’’. 

However, I have seen you adapt and thrive for every curveball thrown, bump in the road, or obstacle, you know, like a global pandemic. We have picked up new skills. Yes, different ones than how to use noodletools or create MLA citations. Among the new skills, learning to play with instrument bags and masks on! It really isn’t as easy as we make it look. These challenges have pushed us to move on and up. 

What initiates growth and progress?

Taking advantage of the challenges life brings and capturing new opportunities has proven successful. Our time used in a constructive way has allowed us to grow into ourselves. Through our senior projects, which varied from writing a fantasy novel to building a meat smoker to starting a sustainable clothing shop, our creative freedom flourished in the project’s limited direction. 

Keys to adulthood and moving onward are rooted in our already solid foundation.

Whatever your next steps are, and even if you need a step-stool along the way, the room for growth is boundless. Keep expanding and improving, taking chances, finding new opportunities. Don’t dwell on past accomplishments and the glory days of high school. Seek out new challenges and keep reaching for the highest shelf, even if you need a step- stool to help get you there. Our families, friends, and teachers have been that step-stool and supported us through the high school journey – we all needed it when we got here, but hopefully now we can all reach the top shelf on our own.

Congratulations Class of 2021 on your momentous achievements and in advance, congratulations on your future growth.

Honor Essayist
Riley Nelson

I want to start by saying a few thank you’s. Thank you to all the teachers, faculty, and staff, for all the support you have given us over the past four years and especially for enabling us to have a senior year that was as close to normal as possible. Thank you to friends and family for being there for us, especially the parents in the audience. And thank you to my fellow members of the class of 2021. Congratulations to us. We’ve made it. And what a journey it’s been. 

When I began thinking about what I wanted to say today, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how to put it into words. We’ve definitely been through a lot these past four years. How was I supposed to fit all the feelings, memories, and emotions into one compact lesson that I could send you all off with? It was a struggle. I likely still would have been stuck without an idea if my mom hadn’t worked through things with me. (Thanks, mom). We were sitting in her car when she reminded me of the memory.

When quarantine first began, I’m sure like the rest of you, I struggled with the sudden loss of all the normal activities of high school life. The boredom was overwhelming. But then I received a text from a friend. “Wanna go for a walk?” It was something simple, and I was allowed to do it because we were outside. My friend and I could walk for hours, sometimes talking about nothing or everything, it didn’t matter. Sometimes we picked a direction, sometimes we just wandered, doing multiple laps around that neighborhood and still not wanting to go home. It was during those times that I learned the importance of walking. 

This is likely the point where you’re thinking “walking? There’s nothing special about walking. It’s just the easiest way to get from one place to the next,” but I would beg to differ. There are so many things that walking can teach us. I do agree that walking is simple but I also think that is the beauty of it. We don’t have to worry about how we’re doing it or how we look to other people, we can just be. Another thing to be learned from walking is that we don’t always have to know the direction. We can wander and take time for ourselves and trust that our feet will be able to get us to where we need to be.

The important thing to remember is that we are allowed to be lost. We do not have to know what comes next, or how we are supposed to get there. Sometimes our paths will be confusing. You’ll end up standing at a crossroads with four different directions to pick from and you’ll have no idea which is the one that is supposed to lead you “home” wherever that may be. You are allowed to take that moment, to slow yourself down and just be lost. Where we are right now is one of those crossroads. I will be the first to admit that I feel lost. We are leaving our familiar path and venturing on to find new ones. It is a terrifying feeling but I know that it is not a forever feeling. So I will allow myself this moment to breathe. And then I will walk across this stage and begin walking again. 

The people we walk with may be just as important as “the walking” itself. Some people stay for long periods of time while others are gone in no time at all. People cross our paths, or stumble onto them, or sometimes block them entirely. We must learn to deal with these things and accept that they are part of the walking experience. Sometimes we even get pulled onto other people’s paths. I likely would have stayed home for a while longer if that friend had not reached out first. My life would have been wholly different if she had not sent that text in the first place. You have the power to change other people’s paths like she changed mine. You have the power to pull people onto your path or let your paths diverge. It is entirely up to you. 

Sometimes it will feel like you’re walking too slowly but that is allowed. There will be times when you have to force yourself to slow down before you burn yourself out. You don’t have to run, to be the first to everything all the time. Remember that we are allowed to take things at a walk instead of a full out sprint.  

Remember there’s no race to the end, even if it seems like that sometimes. We’re allowed to take our time, to not know the direction, to go at our own speed, and bring friends along on the journey. We’re allowed our own pace. 

A walking pace.

Class President
Lucas Wood-Muller

Fellow students, teachers, staff, and family, thank you for being here to celebrate the class of 2021’s graduation. Now, you’re probably wondering who this handsome, charming, and amazingly awesome kid is speaking, and my name is Lucas. I am honored to have the privilege and opportunity to speak before you today.

Where do I even begin? Should I start with the hellos, the goodbyes, the thank you’s? I honestly don’t know.

To all the teachers who have had me in their classes , first of all, I’m sorry, but thank you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for devoting your professional career to making ours. To the custodians who kept our school clean, especially this past year, thank you. To all the groundskeepers and maintenance workers who make sure we have a beautiful school to come into every day, thank you. To the security guards, who make sure we have a safe school to come into, we thank you. To all the people who made sure we had the best school experience by devoting their time for us, we thank you.

In my four years at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, I have always wanted to say thank you to this one person, but I never knew how to approach them. This teacher has, by far, made my high school experience, and gave me a reason to show up to school every day. This teacher goes out of his way to help each and every student and seems like he would give the shirt off his own back. They say you can tell when someone is meant to have the job they do, and this is one of those people. I took away much more than the subject this teacher taught us. I learned respect, dignity, quality,  humbleness, and selflessness. I don’t think I would be the same without you. You made every part of my day, so a very special thank you to Mr. Goss thank you for all you do.

And I can’t forget to give a special shout out to Mr. Rayder, we love you. I would also like to have a big thank you and shout out to our other class officers, Emma Boardmen, Megan Cravino, Schulyer Greenho, and Franki Donato. 

To my fellow graduates, we made it. It has been a long journey no doubt, but we are still standing here today. I remember seeing some of your faces on the first day of preschool at Grasshoper Green. We have been a part of each other’s lives on a daily basis. We grew up together, and we’ve  shared some incredible memories together. I can still think back to our first day of kindergarten, our first talent show at Lyme school, the first field day, that first girlfriend,  and all the love and joy of  being young, innocent kids, and it feels like it was yesterday.

But now, we are in the spot we always wished to be as kids, and it kind of sucks. I know I’m feeling the senioritis, it’s crippling. But that’s just the message I want to share with you all. Think back on how fast these past few years have gone. I know I would give anything to go back and restart. Think about what it’s going to be like in 10 years, or even 30 years.

Cherish the time you have now and appreciate today. Love the people around you. Tomorrow is never promised, so live like it is ending. Be loyal to those who are loyal to you, or should I say, “to thine self be true.” Focus on yourself, and be proud of the person you are.

The key to happiness isn’t the number in your bank account either, it’s about how much of an impact you make on everyone around you every single day. You can’t measure what’s inside a good person’s heart. A simple smile can make someone’s day.

So to conclude, to all of my classmates, my friends and family. I love you all, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. I wish all of you the best success, and a happy life. Goodbye and good luck, woody out.


Lucas Wood-Muller, President
Emma Boardman, Vice President
Schuyler Greenho, Secretary
Connie Pan, Treasurer
Francette Donato, Class Historian


Paige Marie Alpha 
Colbe Kent Andrews
Benton Mehadin Arafeh-Hudson
Kaylee Ann Armenia 
Sophia Lane Arnold 
Juliette Frances Atkinson 
Sonia Swan Bair 
Rachel Katherine Barretta
Olivia Louise Bartlett 
Michael Dominic Battalino
Maxwell Otto Bauchmann 
Jason Richard Beebe
Ava Campbell Berry
Emma Ann Boardman 
Truman Arthur Boller
Sadie Helen Bowman 
Kyuss Buono 
Keenan Lawrence Burr
Erika Yanira Carcamo Martinez 
Kate Margaret Cheney 
Chloe Mae Cleveland
Hunter Collins 

Emerson Mylon Colwell III 
Jackson Martin Cowell
John Berry Cox 
Megan Dorothy Cravinho 
Axel Damian Cruz
Michael Patrick Cushman
Patrick Nuhad Dagher
Richard Joseph Damiano III
George Stratton Danes 
Bianca Serapilia Dasilva 
Trube Anthony Dean
Nicholas Anthony DellaGrotte
Emily Jane DeRoehn 
Maxwell Carson Diebolt
Francette Mae Donato 
Corah Serene Engdall 
Leslie Dorothy Farrell
Isabella Mary Flagge
Sadie Caffry Frankel
Fiona Mary Frederiks 
Riley Madison Hope Fruth
Eveliz Adelaide Fuentes
Jackson Richard Goulding 
Ashton Jahieem Eric Gratton
Tyler Adam Gratton
Samantha Kelly Gray
Schuyler Bates Greenho 
Lillian Ellette Zager Dolan Grethel 
Emma Rose Griffith 
Thomas Ian Haley
Isabella Faith Hine
Aryn Teresa Jones
Regan Joshua Kaye 
Corey Aidan Klimaszewski
Lily Olivia Knight
Samuel Nelson Koenigs
Paige Elizabeth Kolesnik 
Destiny Rose Kus
Avery Rae Lacourciere 
Grace Ann Lathrop 
Gabriel Llunga Lavoie 
Justen Helene Lessard
Peter Joseph Lodi
Owen Russell Macadam 
Mackenzie Rose Machnik 
Luke Doheny Macy 
Madelyn Michele Maskell 
Elle Addison McAraw 
Emma Kay McCulloch 
Brendan James McTigue 
Emma Meekhoff 
Brianna Frances Melillo 
Marina May Melluzzo 
Michael Joseph Milazzo 
Riley Elizabeth Nelson 
Timothy Shane O’Brien 
Sophia Grace Ortoleva 
Connie Wendy Pan 
Olivia Day Papanier 
Nicholas Pasquale Parrillo
Anwyn Mae Paynter 
Lauren Adam Pitt 
Gavin Lawrence Porter 
Aidan Nelson Powers 
Ezra Nelson Pyle 
Jacob Leary Quaratella 
Jeremy Nelson Rand
Ethan Rivera
Anthony Jonathan Rosario
Julie Lynn Rudd 
John Turner Ruhling
Sean Thomas Sagristano
Hayden Brooks-McCall Saunders 
Tait Alexander Sawden 
Jesper Fredrik Silberberg 
Isabella Catherine Oulahan Smith 
Tessa Leighann St. Germain 
Kassidy Elizabeth Standish
Jake Talin Stewart 
Lian Elise Thompson 
McKenzey Pepper Thompson
Angus James Graeme Tresnan 
Nicholas Andrew Vandette
Katrina Marie Wallace 
Lauren Elizabeth Wallace 
Kelly Marie Walsh 
Alison Grace Ward 
Avery Thomas Welch 
Alden Bryce Wilson
Lucas Reed Wood-Muller
Joshua Matthew Yumbla
Katelyn Paige Zbierski
Ellery Hope Zrenda


Celebrate CT Open House Day Today with Free Admission to Flo Gris in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — As part of Connecticut’s Open House Day, Museum admission to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is free this Saturday, June 12. No advance registration required.

Celebrate art, history, and nature in one place. Visitors can enjoy a new art exhibition, including “Blooms with a View,” floral arrangements that play off a selection of artworks, stroll lush historic gardens and the riverfront Artists’ Trail, and tour the historic Griswold House.
Connecticut Open House Day, now in its 17th year, is an annual event held on the second Saturday of June. The purpose of the event is to inspire Connecticut residents to learn about all the experiences in their own backyard. This year, in-person and virtual experiences are available from 140+ attractions.
For more information on Connecticut Open House Day, visit this link.

Lyme Academy Welcomes Community Back to Campus with Upbeat Concert

OLD LYME — Hundred came out yesterday evening to enjoy a free concert hosted by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts featuring singer Chris Gregor on guitar, who was followed by Brad Bensko and Kathleen Parks.

The crowd seemed genuinely pleased to be back on the grounds of the beloved institution, which has experienced a period of uncertainty in recent years as it transitioned back from a degree-granting college to a fine arts academy.

It was an evening for all ages …

… with something for everyone.

The music delighted the audience …

… and a wonderful evening was had by all.

There will be another free concert next Thursday evening, June 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the grounds of the Academy featuring the Java Groove.

Don’t miss it!

Two Lyme-Old Lyme HS Grads Selected for Team US Men’s Eight Competing at Tokyo Olympics

LYME/OLD LYME — In a truly remarkable achievement, two Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) graduates have been selected to represent the US in the Men’s Eight at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Austin Hack, LOLHS Class of 2010.

Austin Hack, who graduated from LOLHS in 2010, and Liam Corrigan, a member of the LOLHS Class of 2014, both rowed for LOLHS and then went on to represent their respective universities at Stanford (Hack) and Harvard (Corrigan).

Hack is the only returning member of the 2021 US Men’s Eight. He was a member of the 2016 US Men’s Eight team, which came in fourth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.

His list of rowing accomplishments is encyclopedic with an abbreviated version including membership of the following national teams: Junior, 2009-10; Under 23, 2011-12; Senior, 2013-15, 2019; and Olympic, 2016, 2020.

In terms of international results, Hack finished fifth in the the eight at the 2019 World Rowing Championships and also fifth in the four at the 2019 World Rowing Cup II.

He won bronze in the eight at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II and won the eight at the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.

Going back further than 2016, the list is equally extensive and can be viewed in detail at this link.

Hack has been working part time for McKinsey and Company, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was living and training in Old Lyme. Part of his training was on a bicycle adapted by Steve Morrissey of Old Lyme on which Hack ultimately set new records on all the Strava segments in town.

Asked how they felt about their son, Austin, and Corrigan’s success in being named to the US Men’s Eight, Dr. Gregory Hack and Dr. Barbara Hack told LymeLine exclusively, “We are beyond thrilled for both Austin and Liam! On the men’s side of rowing, the US will only be sending an 8+ and a 4- to Tokyo.  To think that of those 12 seats, two of them will be occupied by sons of Old Lyme is just incredible!”

The Hacks added, “It’s a testament not only to their grit and strength, but also to their years of training/coaching starting right here at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.”

Liam Corrigan, LOLHS Class of 2014.

Corrigan graduated from Harvard with an honors degree in Physics and Astrophysics and while at Harvard, he was captain of the men’s crew.

Since graduating, he has moved to Oakland, Calif. to train with the men’s training center for the upcoming Olympics. His accomplishments with Team USA include finishing fourth in the pair at the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, placing fifth in the four at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, taking eighth in the pair at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and finishing ninth in the eight at the 2014 World Rowing Junior Championships.

Corrigan recently rowed in the men’s four that won the B final at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Responding to a question about how they felt after learning Liam had been selected for the US Men’s Eight, Brian and Joan Corrigan said, “It is difficult to describe how overjoyed and proud we are to see Liam on his way to achieving goals, which he set for himself many years ago. We have watched him work diligently over the years, and are ecstatic that he is finding success.”

They noted, “We are grateful to LOLHS, the Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) and the Town of Lyme for their support over many years,” concluding, “We feel so fortunate to live in such a wonderful community.”

Liam Corrigan is at the front right of this photo of the Harvard boat.

Speaking on behalf of the OLRA, Candace and Paul Fuchs commented, “‘The Old Lyme Rowing Association is bursting with pride over the dedication and perseverance of our athletes and their families, which brought us to this historic moment. In partnership with the Town of Old Lyme and Regional School District 18, our little organization is pleased to provide a place for big kids to play and find success.’

Sadly, neither family can attend the Olympics in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Barbara and Greg Hack ended their email to us enthusiastically with the words, “Go Old Lyme!  Go USA!”  We wholeheartedly second that sentiment and wish Austin and Liam every success in their Olympic endeavors!

Editor’s Note: Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) oversees LOLHS crew, and Blood Street Sculls. Blood  Street Sculls was established by Fred Emerson (on Blood Street) around 1965, for the cultivation of rowing for local high school students, college students and adults.  

Some of the country’s most notable athletes called Blood Street Sculls home in the early days including  Jim Dietz who is one of the most decorated scullers in US history (named to three US Olympic teams).  

A strong supporter of the nascent sport of women’s rowing, Fred Emerson organized some of the first  women’s national championships to be held on Rogers Lake in 1971, which included athletes who would  ultimately represent the US in Olympic competition.  

Blood Street Sculls was an incubator for rowing programs for high schools and colleges across New England. USCGA and Connecticut College got their start in this manner.

Anita DeFrantz first learned to row as a Connecticut College student, rowing on Rogers Lake. DeFrantz went on to represent the US in the 1976 women’s eight. She was a vocal legal authority when US athletes were prohibited from  competition in 1980 and she has risen through the ranks of international rowing and is currently the vice  president of the IOC.  

Significant achievements — excluding those by Hack and Corrigan —  by OLRA athletes since 2000 include:

Olympic Athletes
2008: Andrew Bolton Men’s lightweight four spare
2012: Sarah Trowbridge Women’s Open double sculls  

World Championships  
Sarah Trowbridge: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  

Under 23 World Championships 
Hannah Paynter: 2019  

Junior World Championships  
Christiana Congdon: 2017  

Since record-keeping was initiated in 1997, over 100 athletes in OLRA programs have gone on to  represent their university in collegiate rowing competition.  

Paul Fuchs, Director of Rowing, holds the men’s lightweight course record for Head of the Charles, and competed on seven US World Championship teams. He has coached at the Olympic and World  championship levels and serves on the Executive Council of FISA, the international governing body for  the sport of rowing.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Hosts Graduation Ceremony This Evening; All Welcome … But Masks Mandatory

Lyme-Old Lyme High School graduates celebrate their success. File photo by Kim Tyler.

OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme High School will hold its Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2021 Friday evening on the field between the middle and high schools starting at 6 p.m.

Entry to the field is open and the public is welcome to attend the event provided they are wearing masks.  The mask requirement is mandatory regardless of vaccination status.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Car Parade Planned Through Old Lyme This Evening for Lyme-Old Lyme HS Graduating Seniors

OLD LYME — Following on from the highly successful tradition started last year when a full graduation ceremony at Lyme-Old Lyme High School could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions, another car parade will be held through Old Lyme to celebrate the graduating seniors.

The actual graduation event, which can be held in full this year with all the associated pomp and ceremony, will be held the following day, Friday, June 11, at the high school.

On the evening of Thursday, June 10, starting at 6:30 p.m., LOLHS seniors will form a parade of their personally-decorated cars in Town Woods Park. The parade will proceed from there to Boston Post Rd. and then follow that to Lyme Street continuing to the foot of the McCurdy.

The Old Lyme Fire, Police and Ambulance Departments will be participating.

The hope is that the townspeople will line the route to celebrate the graduates with cheering, waving signs, honking horns and generally making a supportive noise.  All those celebrating along the route are urged to follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

The parade is anticipated to last until 7 p.m.

The parade organizers are Donna Dean, and Brian and Pam Greenho, who are parents of graduating seniors. Dean commented, “You can feel the excitement in the town for the parade! People are so happy for these kids, happy that they may actually have a “normal” graduation.”

Death Announced of Laura Jane (Bridge) Dunn, 78, of Old Lyme; ‘The Beach Was Her Favorite Place’

OLD LYME — Laura Jane (Bridge) Dunn, 78, of Old Lyme, beloved wife to Peter W. Dunn, peacefully passed away on Sunday, November 29, 2020, surrounded by her loving family …

… The beach was her favorite place, especially Hawk’s Nest Beach in Old Lyme. Spending many summers there with her Aunt Harriet and Cousin Donald Shaub. She finally got her dream house at the beach and was able to enjoy her retirement with friends and family …

… The family will have a Mass said in remembrance of Laura on her birthday, June 12, 2021 at 10:00AM in Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Road in Old Lyme…

Visit this link to read the full obituary published June 6 in the Hartford Courant.

After Year of Closure, Gillette Castle Interior Re-opens to Public 

Harold “Tyke” and Theodora “Teddie” Niver – appearing as William and Helen Gillette – stand on the terrace overlooking the Connecticut River at the century-old home of the late Connecticut actor. After a year of pandemic-imposed closure, the structure has re-opened for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Kelly Hunt, Capture the Moment Photography.

EAST HADDAM/LYME, Conn. – For the first time since late 2019, Gillette Castle has re-opened and will be available for public visits during Gillette Castle State Park’s regular opening hours, park officials said. 

Because of the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mansion built a century ago by the late stage actor William Gillette remained closed throughout 2020 in accord with Connecticut’s official policy for all indoor facilities associated with state parks. 

The park’s grounds are open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily, offering visitors a chance to use the park’s varied hiking trails, stroll around Gillette’s unique home and perhaps spot the eagles that frequently nest with their young along the river at many times of the year. 

Self-paced tours of the structure are to be conducted from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, with each day’s final tour starting at 4 p.m. After Labor Day, tours will be conducted only on weekends through Columbus Day. Tickets are $6 and may be obtained at the Castle entrance on the day of visit. 

State officials report that ticket sales will also be available for pre-purchase for up to 12 individuals for specific time slots at 15-minute intervals. To guarantee a slot, advance purchase is recommended. To pre-reserve, guests in time will be able to check online at the Reserve America website (tinyurl.com/4ty5e59p) under “Gillette Castle State Park Tours.” 

The official opening was May 29. A limited “soft opening” of the structure’s interior was held one week earlier allowing park officials and tour guides to practice their presentations with members of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, who received a “sneak peek” in exchange.

Most Connecticut state park buildings, museums, nature centers and other enclosed structures were opened on Memorial Day weekend. Under the state’s guidelines, six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings. Masks will be required inside the structure, regardless of vaccination status.

“The home of William Gillette is the true centerpiece of this wonderful park, and it was frustrating for us not to be able to share this jewel’s inner beauty and wonders with everyone,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends organization. “Now, thanks to a lot of hard work by many people, we’re excited to say that it’s ready to go back on display.”

The park is nestled between the towns of East Haddam and Lyme. Many of its trails follow a former railroad bed created for a narrow-gauge track installed by the late Connecticut stage actor, who built his castle-like home atop one of the Seven Sister Hills along the river. 

Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found on the Friends website at www.gillettecastlefriends.org. Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at the website, or direct their questions to info@gillettecastlefriends.org or (860) 222-7850. 

The organization’s mission includes the preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic structure and its scenic grounds. The all-volunteer, nonprofit group works in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Memberships help to finance park and structural improvements while preserving the estate and Gillette’s legacy.

Tonight SECWAC Hosts Virtual Presentation on Prospects for Russia-China Alliance

David Abramson will present the next SECWAC meeting topic.

LYME/OLD LYME/AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, June 8, at 6 p.m., the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Dr. David Abramson of the US State Department speaking on Prospects for a Russia-China Alliance: Moscow’s Calculus.

The presentation will be online via Zoom.

Registration is required at this link. The event is free for members while the fee for guests is $20. The link to join us will be emailed with your registration confirmation.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have flirted with and talked around the prospect of a Sino-Russian alliance, but the truth is both sides are reluctant to commit to alliances in general because of the various restraints they impose on members. Uncertainties about future U.S. foreign policy and shifts in the world order heighten those uncertainties.

Dr. David Abramson will discuss these issues from Moscow’s perspective and assess the chances that its increasingly warm and reciprocated public rhetoric about their “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination” is leading towards a formal alliance.

Dr. Abramson is senior analyst covering Russia’s relations with Asia for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He previously worked for many years as a Central Asia analyst, focusing primarily on domestic and regional politics and Islamic trends in Eurasia.

During 2001-2005, Dr. Abramson spent four years in the Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, monitoring and promoting religious freedom as an element of U.S. foreign policy, advising on outreach to the Muslim world, and engaging with Muslim-American communities.

Dr. Abramson has taught at Georgetown and George Washington universities and published on Islam, foreign assistance in Central Asia, and anthropologists working in national security. His most recent publication is a chapter on Islam and state policies in Uzbekistan in “Islam, Society, and Politics in Central Asia.”

Raised in Storrs, Conn., he later earned his B.A. in Russian language and literature at Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Indiana University.

If you are new to Zoom virtual meetings and would like to learn more about how to join the event, visit zoom.us for more information. Also, feel free to call 860-912-5718 for technical advice prior to the event. It will not be possible to resolve issues during the meeting.

A link to the recording will be shared via email following the meeting.

‘Witness Stones’ Celebration Highlighted Installation of Plaques Marking Sites of Enslavement in Old Lyme

Katie Huffman, Director of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, welcomes guests to the ceremony, the inaugural event for the library’s new patio. All photos from the ceremony courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.

OLD LYME – The Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership held an installation ceremony last Friday, June 4, celebrating the town’s newly installed Witness Stones—historical plaques commemorating the lives of 14 individuals, who were once enslaved on Lyme Street.

The project expands the understanding of local history and honors the humanity and contributions of those formerly held in bondage.

The Witness Stone honoring Jenny Freeman at 32 Lyme Street, corner of Beckwith Lane.

Members of the Old Lyme community gathered on the lawn of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library to honor these people, who collectively represent just some of the individuals once enslaved along today’s Lyme Street:

  • Cato
  • Lewis Lewia
  • Humphrey
  • Caeser
  • Jack Howard
  • Jenny Freeman
  • Luce
  • Crusa
  • Nancy Freeman
  • Temperance Still
  • Jane
  • Pompey Freeman
  • Samuel Freeman
  • Arabella.

This plaque commemorating the life of the enslaved Jack Howard is located at 5 Lyme Street, which is the parsonage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The program included music, poetry, and words from community partners. World-renowned soprano Lisa Williamson sang the spiritual, Deep River, and the hymn, Amazing Grace.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Chorus, under the direction of Laura Ventres, contributed to the program.

Twelve members of the Old Lyme Middle School chorus, led by Laura Ventres, also contributed to the program.

Seated from left to right are soprano Lisa Williamson, poets Marilyn Nelson, Rhonda Ward, and Antoinette Brim-Bell ready to participate in the Installation Ceremony for Witness Stones Old Lyme.

Distinguished Connecticut poets Antoinette Brim-Bell, Marilyn Nelson, and Rhonda Ward read new works capturing the unheard voices of those enslaved in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Carolyn Wakeman, co-chair of Witness Stones Old Lyme and Historian, with Katie Huffman, Director of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

These poems, by Antoinette Brim-Bell, Marilyn Nelson, Kate Rushin, and Rhonda Ward and created with support from a Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut (HIC) Partnership Grant for Racial Equity, brought vividly to life experiences, attitudes, and emotions long ignored and then forgotten.

Poet Rhonda Ward read her poem in honor of the life of one of the enslaved people.

Seventh-grade students from the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School read biographical poems they wrote to tell the life stories of Jenny Freeman and Lewis Lewia. Using primary documents, the students researched these two enslaved town residents, making the story of local slavery tangible, personal, and relevant to their own lives.

Michelle Dean, Director of Curriculum for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, introduces the seventh-grade student poets.

Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Director of Curriculum Michelle Dean commented, “The collective level of engagement and discovery of the students on this project is something you don’t get to see that often.  They have done a wonderful job.”

Meanwhile, LOL Schools Social Studies teacher Health Saia, noted, “It has been thrilling seeing the a-ha moments the students are having as they go through the primary documents and meet Jenny Freeman and Lewis Lewia.”

Olivia Hersant, a LOL Schools Language Arts teacher,  added, “It’s been exciting. The students are learning and thinking deeply about topics that we didn’t learn about until we were adults.”

Pat Wilson Pheanious, Co-Chair of the Witness Stones Project’s Board of Directors, speaks at the ceremony.

Each Witness Stone on Lyme Street includes the name of an enslaved individual, along with important details about their lives and circumstances derived from land records, emancipation certificates, and other available historical documents.

These four Witness Stones are on the lawn of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The small brass plaques, embedded flush with the ground, have been placed primarily on the west side of the street for pedestrian safety.


An interpretive sign, pictured above, has also been installed on the lawn of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library providing a map of the Lyme Street enslavement sites.

The Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership’s goal is to expand the understanding of local history and honor the humanity and the contributions of those formerly enslaved in the community.

The partnership’s founding members include the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Community partners include the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, and the Old Lyme Historical Society.

Editor’s Note: For further information on the Witness Stones project, visit their just-launched website at this link.

June 3 COVID-19 Update: No Towns in State Now in Red Zone, No New Cases in Lyme, Old Lyme

This map, updated June 3, shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the (lowest) Gray Zone. (Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.) Map: Ver 12.1.2020 Source: CT Department of Public Health Get the data Created with Datawrapper. Details in italics are the same for each of the maps shown.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 06/05: The report issued Thursday, June 3, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks shows another dramatic improvement for the state as whole with not a single town remaining in the Red Zone (indicating the highest COVID-19 new case rates) and just one, Waterbury, in the Orange Zone.

Both Lyme and Old Lyme remain in the Gray (lowest rate) Zone for two-week new case rates. It is the fourth week for Old Lyme in that Zone, but Lyme is in the Gray Zone for a 12th straight week. It is very encouraging to see this number increase from 110 towns last week to 145 this week.

Neither Lyme nor Old Lyme reported any new cases in the June 3 report meaning Lyme holds steady at 107 cases and Old Lyme at 342, and in more good news, no COVID-19 deaths have been reported statewide in the past two days.

Twenty-one towns are now in the Yellow Zone, down from 48 last week. They are: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bloomfield, Brooklyn, Coventry, Cromwell, Derby, East Hartford, East Haven, Granby, Hamden, Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Putnam, Rocky Hill, Shelton, Waterford and Windsor.

  • The Gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The Yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The Orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The Red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Below is the map from last week that showed one town in the Red Zone, Putnam, and 10 towns in the Orange Zone.

This map, updated May 27, shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme were still in the (lowest) Gray Zone. (Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.) Map: Ver 12.1.2020 Source: CT Department of Public Health Get the data Created with Datawrapper. Details in italics are the same for each of the maps shown.

Compare the maps above with the one we published Dec. 18, 2020 to see the remarkable progress that has been made with controlling the spread of the virus through expansion of vaccination rates and improved mitigation strategies.

Map of Connecticut dated Dec. 17, 2020 showing both Lyme and Old Lyme now in the CT DPH-identified ‘Red Zone.’ This is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is over 15.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District.

Lyme, Old Lyme and North Stonington remain the only towns in the nine-town district, which are reported to have less than five new cases in the past two weeks.

Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are happy to see a continued decrease in the number of new cases throughout our jurisdiction and encourage everyone to get vaccinated!”

Mansfield also notes, “The demand for vaccine is declining, and many providers are reporting that they have unfilled vaccination appointments at scheduled clinics. At this time, LLHD is vaccinating all individuals 18 and older.”

He adds, “Information regarding vaccination opportunities and other relevant information can be found at https://llhd.org/coronavirus-covid-19-situation/covid-19-vaccine/

The following link provides centralized access to Connecticut COVID data: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/COVID-19-data/wa3g-tfvc/

Vaccination rates in Lyme and Old Lyme are also extremely encouraging with 80.22 percent of the population in Lyme having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the equivalent number for Old Lyme being 71.63 percent.

These are some of the highest percentages in the state.

Letter to the Editor: Recognize the Past, Look to the Future; CT House, Senate Have Both Now Passed Resolution on Racism, Why Hasn’t Old Lyme BOS?

To the Editor:

The Witness Stones project, which was dedicated last week on the library grounds, demonstrates that Old Lyme residents recognize a non-revisionist view of an unfortunate part of our town’s history.

We should place a capstone on that project, and publicly acknowledge that, in Old Lyme, all residents may avail themselves of the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race, color, or creed. Aren’t these our values? Note that Connecticut did block the importation of slaves in 1774, and began a gradual emancipation in 1784.

That said, we call upon the BOS to take one additional symbolic step and finally support the Resolution that’s been on the table for the past few months.

Also note that, earlier this month, both CT’s House and Senate affirmed racism as a public health crisis, and resolved to convene a panel to study the effect of racism on health care.

Paraphrasing, the past need not always be a prologue to the future.

Respectfully submitted.


Christina J. & Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.