April 19, 2019

SECWAC Hosts Daalder, Lindsay in Old Lyme on “America’s Abdication of Global Leadership,” May 2

$20 for the General Public; Free for SECWAC members, educators and students

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay to speak on “America’s Abdication of Global Leadership” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme. Members and guests are encouraged to RSVP via online registration, but walk-ins will be accepted. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m.

The three pillars of the postwar foreign policy that America created—strong alliances, open markets, and commitment to democracy and human rights—are under threat from a president who sees little value in them, according to Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsayin their new book, The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership.

Citing the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accords, and the Iran nuclear deal; the imposition of tariffs on allies and rivals alike; and Trump’s frequent praise for authoritarian leaders; they observe that “Trump was proposing to shed what he saw as the delusion of global leadership. He wanted a foreign policy that would be more self-promoting, more nationalist, and utterly transactional.”

Meanwhile, “A majority of Americans has consistently favored American engagement abroad,” the authors note. In fact, they argue that public support on issues such as defense of allies and the domestic economic benefits of trade actually increased after Trump took office.

In a complementary essay in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs, Daalder and Lindsay called for a “G9” of like-minded nations to maintain the rules-based order. “The major allies of the United States can leverage their collective economic and military might to save the liberal world order. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the [European Union] in Europe; Australia, Japan, and South Korea in Asia; and Canada in North America are the obvious candidates to supply the leadership that the Trump administration will not,” they write.

Daalder is President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as the US ambassador to NATO from 2009-13. Prior to that he was a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, and an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and director of research at its Center for International and Security Studies. He also served as director for European affairs on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1995-97. Ambassador Daalder is the author and editor of ten books (including two with James Lindsay), and is a frequent contributor to the opinion pages of the world’s leading newspapers. He was educated at the universities of Kent, Oxford, and Georgetown, and received his PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lindsay is Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was previously the inaugural director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also held positions at the Brookings Institution and the University of Iowa. From 1996-97 Lindsay was the director for global issues and multilateral affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He has written widely on various aspects of American foreign policy and international relations and has co-authored two books with Ivo Daalder. Lindsay holds an AB from the University of Michigan, and an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University.

Signed copies of Daalder and Lindsay’s book, “The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership” will be for sale after the presentation).

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Pro-rated half-year membership was introduced in February; half-year membership February through June 2019 is $37.50; $12.50 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

Immediately following the presentation, attendees have the option for $35 of attending a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by the morning of Tuesday, April 30, via pre-registration and making a payment securely online, calling 860-912-5718, or emailing info@secwac.org (vegetarian option available if reserved in advance).

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange 8-10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policymakers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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Donate to Child & Family Sale Tuesday in Old Lyme; Sale is May 2-4 in Waterford

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, see www.childandfamilyagency.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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SECWAC Hosts Speaker in Old Lyme on ‘America’s Foreign Policy Elite, Decline of U.S. Primacy,’ Thursday

Stephen Walt

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Stephen Walt to speak on “America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Ferry Rd., Old Lyme, CT 06371. Members and guests are encouraged to RSVP via online registration, but walk-ins will be accepted.

In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power, and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand. Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the U.S. is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have undermined its influence around the world.

The root of this dismal record, Stephen Walt argues in his new book “The Hell of Good Intentions” (signed copies of which will be available for sale after the presentation), is the foreign policy establishment’s stubborn commitment to a strategy of “Liberal Hegemony.” Walt argues for a return to the realist strategy of “Offshore Balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering.

Walt is Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005. He received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014.

His writings include The Origins of Alliances (1987), Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with John J. Mearsheimer, 2007). His latest book is The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (2018).

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Pro-rated half-year membership was introduced in February; half-year membership February through June 2019 is $37.50; $12.50 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

Immediately following the presentation, attendees have the option for $35 of attending a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by the morning of Tuesday, April 23,via pre-registration and making a payment securely online, calling 860-912-5718, or emailing info@secwac.org (vegetarian option available if reserved in advance).

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange 8-10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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CT River Museum Hosts Dinner in Old Lyme Tonight With Guest Speaker Jeff Cooley; Benefits Curatorial Fund

Jeff Cooley will be the speaker at the Connecticut River Museum’s Brenda Milkofsky Curatorial Fund benefit event on April 18 at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Would you like to know more about the ins and outs of collecting in the contemporary art world? 

Join the board, administration and members of the Connecticut River Museum Thursday, April 18, at the Old Lyme Country Club when Jeffrey Whitman Cooley of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme presents “Outs & Ins: The Art in the Life of an Art Dealer.” The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes dinner.

Cooley, a Hartford native trained at Harvard, apprenticed in the American Painting Department of Christie’s Auction House and graduated to the American Paintings Department at the Wadsworth Athenaeum will share his stories.

In 1981, Cooley established The Cooley Gallery in a yellow storefront on Lyme Street. There he continues to identify, gather, exhibit and interpret American paintings and painters to numerous different audiences.

He serves as an enthusiastic and committed advisor to the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury and the former Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, where he was awarded an honorary degree. Cooley is a board member at the Florence Griswold Museum and an Elector at the Wadsworth Athenaeum. He has been an influential guide to young, talented artists helping many to emerge as professionals.

Proceeds from this evening support the Brenda Milkofsky Curatorial Fund. Organized in 2009 to recognize the work of the Connecticut River Museum’s Founding Director, the fund is restricted to the acquisition and conservation of objects and manuscripts that enhance the historical focus of the Connecticut River Museum’s collections.

Purchases from this fund have included the portrait of a Middletown merchant mariner; a landscape of the oft-painted view of the Ox Bow below Mount Holyoke; the stern board of a Portland-built stone schooner; an Old Lyme hunting scene, and a model of a Blue Line tug-boat.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit this link or call the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269. Tickets are $100 per person.

The Connecticut River Museum is located in Essex, Conn., and is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Inter-denominational ‘Walk to End Hunger’ to be Held This Morning in Old Lyme

walking_silhouettes_image

On Friday, April 20, an inter-denominational ‘Walk to End Hunger ‘will be held to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. Gather in the Griswold Room of Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church at 9:45 a.m. for sign-in and prayer. The route follows Shore Rd. to Johnny Cake Hill Rd. to McCurdy Rd., past Christ the King Church to First Congregational Church, and then back again, a distance of approximately three miles.

All ages are welcome and encouraged to to join this reflective walk co-organized by Christ the King Catholic Church, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, and First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. Even if you are unable to walk, you can contribute by sponsoring a walker. Envelopes for monetary donations can be found on the counter outside the Griswold Room and at the walk. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item.

 

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Local Churches Hold Easter Services, Events During Holy Week; Read Our Full Listing

Photo by Aaron Burden courtesy of Unsplash.com.

Thursday, April 18, Maundy Thursday

Christ The King Church hosts the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 p.m.

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church hosts a Maundy Thursday Liturgy at 7 p.m. with washing of the feet, Holy Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) hosts the traditional service of Tenebrae at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 19, Good Friday

An Inter-denominational Walk to End Hunger will be held for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. Gather in the Griswold Room of Saint Ann’s at 9:45 a.m. for sign-in and prayer. The route follows Shore Rd. to Johnny Cake Hill Rd. to McCurdy Rd., past Christ the King Church to First Congregational Church, and then back again, a distance of approximately three miles.

All ages are welcome and encouraged to come. Even if you are unable to walk, you can contribute by sponsoring a walker. Envelopes for monetary donations can be found on the counter outside the Griswold Room and at the walk. Participants are asked to please bring a non-perishable food item. 

Christ The King Church hosts the Passion of our Lord and Veneration of the Cross at 3 p.m. and the Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. followed by Confessions.

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church hosts a Good Friday Liturgy Service at 12 p.m. There will be no celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The veneration of the Cross will take place outside – weather permitting.

Saturday, April 20, Easter Saturday

Christ The King hosts Blessing of the Food at 12 noon and an Easter Vigil Mass at 8 p.m. with choir, organ, timpani, and bells.

Sunday, April 21, Easter Sunday

Join clergy, members and friends of Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church, Christ the King Church and First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, for an Ecumenical Easter Sunrise Service. Meet at Griswold Point, Old Lyme, at 6 a.m., rain or shine. Follow signs to the location. If you need directions, call the church at 860.434.8686

Christ The King hosts:

  • a Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection at 8 a.m. and with choir and orchestra at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, visit this link

The FCCOL hosts:

  • Worship services at 9 and 11 a.m.

For more information, visit this link .

Saint Ann’s hosts:

  • Festival Holy Eucharist with full choir and instruments at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

For more information, visit this link.

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen to Announce 2018 Citizen of the Year Tonight at Special Town Meeting

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen will hold a Special Town Meeting Tuesday, April 16, to announce the 2018 Citizen of the Year.  The announcement, which is normally made at the end of January, had to be postponed from the previously scheduled date this year.

The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall at 52 Lyme St.

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

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

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

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

Special to LymeLine.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Old Lyme BOF to Hold Public Hearing on Next Year’s Town Budget Tonight

The Old Lyme Board of Finance will conduct a Public Hearing on the Proposed Town Budget for Financial Year 2019/2020 this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of Memorial Town Hall.

The proposed budget can be viewed at this link.  It includes a request from Region 18 (Lyme-Old Lyme Schools) for $27,556,679 although this amount has not yet been approved by the voters of Lyme and Old Lyme.

A referendum on the Region 18 budget of $35,084,758 will be held on Tuesday, May, 7, with a simple majority required across the votes from both towns to pass it. After the Region 18 budget has been passed, the share to be paid by Old Lyme (which relates to the respective percentage of students in Region 18 from each town) will then be added to the Town of Old Lyme’s budget and that combined budget will be voted on at an Old Lyme Special Town Meeting later in May.

 

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

Doreen Meyer

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

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

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

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

Forever in our hearts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Talking Transportation: Tolls Are in Trouble

Jim Cameron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait.  Where are the pro-toll voices?

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

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

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

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

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

Tolls, my friends, are in trouble.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

A reception will follow the concert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join this group to explore these habitats and their occupants.

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

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Final 2019 Senior Studio Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy College Through May 17

The Senior Studio Exhibition features these artworks, from left to right, Chey Bridges, ‘Honua,” Adele Flamand-Browne, Gravitate,’ Whitney Lorenze, ‘Your Gain!’

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven hosts an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. this evening in the Chauncey Stillman and Sill House Galleries for its 2019 Senior Studio Exhibition.  All are welcome.

The seniors whose work is featured in the exhibition are studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Post-Baccalaureate degree and will graduate in May 2019. This will be the final exhibition of student portfolios submitted for degrees before the Lyme Academy ceases to be a degree-granting college later in the year after the University of New Haven’s withdrawal.

The Senior Studio experience at the College allows students to refine their vision and develop a skill set in order to create a body of work that exemplifies their individual interests, talents, and artistic sensibilities.

The 2019 Senior Studio Exhibition reflects the culmination of this project.  Students will be present at the opening reception and available to discuss their work.

The exhibition will be on view in the gallery through May 17.  Admission is free Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sponsor of the exhibition is Saybrook Point Inn/Fresh Salt.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven is located at 84 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Hosts Open House Tonight in Old Lyme; All Welcome

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) hosts an Open House this Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Participate in a scopes and slime activity, learn about the Connecticut River Estuary, create your own creatures and stump the naturalist.

This informative and fun night offers free entry and is open to all.

The RTPEC is located at 90 Halls Rd. next to Big Y in the Old Lyme Marketplace.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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