December 19, 2018

Blood Drive Today in Old Lyme: Give the Gift of Life This Holiday Season

Give-Blood-Give-LifeThe American Red Cross is hosting a Blood Drive tomorrrow, Wednesday, Dec.19, at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall, 52 Lyme St., from 1 to 6 p.m.  There is currently a critical need for blood donations — please help if you are able.

A shortage of blood donations can lead to delays in urgent medical care to vulnerable patients.

Remember the “The need is constant.  The gratification instant.” Walk-ins are welcome.

To make an appointment to donate your blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org.

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Christmas Week Church Services in Lyme and Old Lyme

Christmas Eve candles

There are numerous religious services being held in Old Lyme during this Christmas week, so to assist our readers, here is a listing of all those about which we have information — please advise us of any errors or omissions.

Christ The King Church

Monday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve

4 p.m. — Vigil Mass of the Nativity with children’s pageant and youth choir
11:30 p.m. — Concert with adult choir and orchestra, followed by:
12 a.m. — Midnight Mass of the Nativity

Tuesday, Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
9 a.m. — Mass of the Nativity

First Congregational Church of  Lyme

Monday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
5 p.m. — Candlelight Celebration

Sunday, Dec. 30
10 a.m. — Worship Service

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Monday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
5 p.m. — Service for families with young children, with The Living Manger.
8 p.m. — Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols
10 p.m. — Late-night Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols

Sunday, Dec. 30
One service only at 11 a.m. in unity with the South Lyme Union Chapel — no Sunday School.

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church 

Monday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
4 p.m. — Family Eucharist with Christmas Story
10:30 p.m. — Festival Eucharist with full choir with the
Rev. Cn. Mark K. J. Robinson presiding at both services.

Tuesday, Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
10 a.m. — Holy Eucharist with the Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens presiding

Sunday, Dec. 30
One service only at 9:30 a.m. — A Morning Prayer Service with Christmas Lessons & Carols.

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A la Carte: Best (Recipe) of 2018’s Best … per Lee

Many, many years ago, I did a radio show with Johnny London on WICH out of Norwich, Connecticut. We began with an hour and, after the first year, it turned into two hours. 

I grew up with radio, although my parents did get a television in 1948. But we had radios everywhere in our house—we had clock radios, a radio in the kitchen and a “console” radio in our dining room. My mother liked to iron, and we had an ironing board that came out of the kitchen wall.

When I was little, I would sit on the linoleum and play with my toys. One was a little truck or engine that you could spin back and forth a dozen times, then let it go and it would flew into my parents’ master bedroom, usually hitting on a door, the bottom of their bed or into a closet. After a few years, the linoleum in the kitchen had to be replaced.

While my mom ironed and I played with toys, I listened to the radio. In the evening, it was Dr. Christian and Jack Benny and Red Skelton. On Sunday morning, I would lie on dining room rug and read the “funnies” as the mayor of Albany read the Times-Union the same way Mayor LaGuardia did in New York City.

But back to my own radio show: I had guests in the room with me, or I would talk on the phone to chefs, cookbook authors and restaurant owners. And readers would call with questions.

Often Johnny asked me if I would run out of recipes. But, like the music made from just seven notes, one never runs out of recipes. This was a great year for cookbooks, but choosing my favorite wasn’t difficult.

Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs

From “Everyday Dorie” by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston and New York, 2018)

2 tablespoons canola or neutral oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped and dried
1 and one-half to 3 peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, germ removed and minced
Fine sea salt
One-quarter cup white wine
8 chicken thighs, with or without skin and/or bones, patted dry
Freshly ground pepper
One-half cup Thai sweet chili sauce*
One-third cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
1 to 1 and one-half teaspoon Sriracha*
Sliced scallions and crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat Add onion, ginger and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring until they soften a bit and are translucent but not browned, about five minutes

Add wine, increase the heat and cook, stirring, until most of the wine evaporates, about three minutes. Again, don’t color the onion mixture. Transfer ingredients to a bowl.

Return pot to medium heat and add remaining oil. Place thighs in the pot and brown on all sides, adding more oil if necessary. (If the thighs will be crowded, do this in two batches.) Pour and discard oil. If you have burnt bits of the bottom of the pots, remove chicken and scrub the pot, then return chicken to it.

Return the onions mixture to the pot, along with any juices that accumulated, add the chili sauce*, soy sauce, mustard and Sriracha* and stir to blend. Season lightly with salt and pepper and clap the lid on.

Turn heat down top low and cook, basting occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until chicken is opaque in the center; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should register 165 degrees.

Transfer to a platter (or serve right on the pot) and spoon over some of the juice. Add scallions and pepper flakes (optional). Pass the rest of the sauce at the table.

*I always have both sweet chili sauce and Sriracha in my pantry.

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Update on Halls Rd. Improvement Project

We felt an update on the Halls Road Improvements project would be timely since several related things have occurred since our last post on the subject.

Firstly, we have received quite a number of thoughtful and constructive comments from readers on the topic, some of which we have already published and others that were sent to directly to us and anonymity requested. We are now publishing  them all in their entirety below.

We still welcome further comments and will continue to respect people’s anonymity if requested.

Halls Road today. Photo from Yale Urban design Workshop presentation given on Dec. 6, 2018..

Secondly, the Halls Road Improvements Committee has now published the Dec. 6 Yale Urban Design Workshop presentation on the Town of Old Lyme website at this link.  There is also an opportunity to comment on the proposed plans at this link.

Thirdly, the folk at SECoast.org have published their report of the Dec. 6 meeting at this link.  They are also soliciting comments on the proposal on their Facebook page at this link.

Finally, there is an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the town hall meeting room, which includes an update on the project on its agenda.

Comments on the proposal received to date from readers are as follows:

Author; John Stratton:

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Anonymous

I think the Town’s effort is great.  It is for plans such as these that we have Town committees and staff in the first place.  They are doing their job, and thinking long term about what kind of Old Lyme we want to have.  As said by one of the representatives (and I paraphrase), when we let the developers lead, we end up with an ugly mishmash of structures … just like we have on Halls Road now.

What the Town is proposing is reasonable.  Over the next 30 years, there will be development one way or the other.  The town is just saying, hey let’s all have a say in defining what we want to wind up with at the end of the day.  The Town is not saying let’s spend a whole lot of tax money up front, or even in the long term.  They are just saying let’s all agree on what we want, and let private developers fill in the blanks as they see future economic opportunities.  The Town might provide a few dollars, but it sounds like it is more intent on offering zoning benefits, and seeking to access State grant money.

At the end of the day, this is a 30 year plan.  We have 30 years to monitor it, and to make revisions if necessary.  Give it a try.  Otherwise Halls Road will remain a blight.

Author: Thomas D. Gotowka

Christina and I attended both public meetings hosted by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee, and conducted by members of the Yale Urban Design Workshop. Yale presented the Committee’s vision statement and several conceptual renderings of what fully realizing that vision might yield. The article in the New London Day accurately summarized the vision.

The audience was skeptical of the immense breadth and scope of that vision; – requiring twenty- five or more years to complete.  Several concerns were raised about cost and the impact on taxes.

We left with a few thoughts and concerns. It was not apparent to us that current Halls Road business owners and the professionals occupying office space had participated to any extent in developing that vision. It is absolutely important to get their buy-in. Essex Bank did state that any of their future development would take Old Lyme’s plan into consideration.

We found Alan Plattus’ presentation to be a bit glib. This is important stuff, and some of the vision could be lost in presenter style. Also, know the names of our local landmarks, especially if they factor into the plan. (i.e. it’s the “Bow Bridge” that used to cross the Lieutenant River). But, after all; they’re Yale, not Harvard.

Our suggestion: parse the plan into achievable shorter- range projects that will yield some early successes. Start with the hiking/biking paths along the Lieutenant River, rebuild the foot bridge, and create the new Halls Road village green.

Author: J. David Kelsey

I strongly believe a municipality’s best service for economic development is to create a flexible crucible allowing for creative use of people’s property and to support it with reasonable infrastructure. A good starting point is indeed a big picture vision of what could be – the work of the Yale is a helpful guide to figure out what zoning flexibility might be added and to identify infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, rational street signs, crosswalks) that might be undertaken.

What is not clear is the level of involvement of the town in changing the nature of existing buildings – are we talking about the town purchasing certain parcels and eminent domain strategies so that the town (instead of existing private owners) determines what might happen? I would advocate for a clear statement soon of how the town proposes to be involved, and I would hope it would be a light touch of reducing setbacks, requiring rear parking, introducing mixed-use zoning and working with DOT early to see what actual changes could be made for street parking (it is a unique stretch of US-1 with unusually high volume during frequent detours), sidewalks and hardscape improvements. Private owners could then determine what makes sense economically for changes to existing buildings and for new construction.

If the goal is for the town to control actively in some manner the types of use and nature of construction, that is a very large role to undertake, since this part of town is economically vibrant already with buildings that are close to full already with businesses, despite being less aesthetically desirable in the case of some buildings. I hope we get a clear picture that is public of the long-term town plan, rough ideas of costs to the town and a timetable once the community feedback for Yale’s draft plan is complete. A great start at very low cost and quickly achieved would be consolidating or eliminating street and traffic signs and at least having them stand up straight.

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Ron Breault

I attended the Dec 6 meeting. My comments

1) When asked about the planning assumption regarding possible DOT changes to I-95, the Yale Urban Design response was that, despite recognition that traffic delays and congestion already exist, there would be no area changes in I-95 in the next 20 years.

Since this is already a significant thru traffic problem which can only get worse, changes envisioned by the ‘plan’ for Halls Rd that include on Halls Rd parallel and/or diagonal parking, increased commercial density and pedestrian use, increased recreational use and pedestrian crossing and stop signs will aggravate, perhaps dangerously, the Halls Rd environment.

2) There appeared to be no consideration given for a more limited, ‘modest’, less expensive improvement of Halls Rd, ie’, sidewalks, bike paths, a return of the pedestrian crossing bridge over the Lieutenant River, elimination of ‘leaning’ power line poles with unattractive heavy looping wires and electrical equipment. Maybe some street lighting, and buried wires?

3) One of the meeting attendees commented that she had lived in Nantucket for 25 years and, because of development, ‘Nantucket is no longer Nantucket’. Paraphrased, her concern was the extensive multi story commercial/residential development plan presented for Halls Rd would mean Old Lyme would no longer be Old Lyme. I think this was a shared feeling by many at the meeting.

Author: Ted Mundy

Unfortunately I did not attend the meeting. Nonetheless, the previous comments and SE Coast write-ups provide a good base of information.

Rule One for architects is to live in what they intend to design. Of course, this is impossible until built. However, they should visit at least twice during the calendar year. The first is a summer Friday night when I-95 gets jammed. The overflow of traffic makes 156 and Rt-1 very congested. If there is an accident southbound, Rt-1 after Exit 75 is backed up from Laysville south to the Hall’s Road traffic lights. Some traffic goes down Lyme Street, which is the heart of what makes Old Lyme great. Imagine shopping on Hall’s Road during these incidents. We avoid it.

The second time to visit is in early December. The town is relatively quiet especially the shore communities. One wonders how some of the Hall’s Road merchants make it at all. With the exception of the Big Y, foot traffic is slow in my judgment.

This gets to the final point. Do we want to change the character of Old Lyme? If the Mundys shop for goods other than necessities, we go on-line or visit Old Saybrook. Let’s leave Old Lyme the way it is and save government funds for infrastructure repair and reduce our tax burden.

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South Lyme Chapel Hosts Carol Sing This Afternoon; All Welcome

The South Lyme Union Chapel is holding its annual Carol Sing on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2:30 p.m. ‘Tuesday Afternoons’ (formerly known as the ‘Select Singers’) from Lyme-Old Lyme High School will be there not only to perform traditional carols but also to sing along with the congregation as well.

There will be snacks, hot chocolate, cider and cookies after in the Fellowship Room.

Join the congregants for a memorable afternoon and rekindle your Christmas Spirit through hearing once again the beautiful music that has been known and loved throughout the years.

Bring children—families are welcome.

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Join a ‘Messiah, Christmas Section’ Sing or Listen at ‘the Kate’ This Afternoon

A ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, will be sponsored by Cappella Cantorum on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, (the Kate), 300 Main St., Old Saybrook 06475. There will be a short rehearsal for singers at 3:30 p.m.

Soloists will be Soprano Danielle Howard, Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Abrams, Tenor William Sorenson and Baritone Kenneth Holton. The Sing is open to all, under the direction of Barry Asch and accompanied by Deborah Lyon.

Bring ‘Messiah’ scores if you have them or they will be provided. There is a $12 fee for singers and audience. Singers will sit in sections, the audience is invited to sit in the back, witness the short rehearsal, and then the Sing will begin at 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available online at www.thekate.org and through the Box Office, 869-510-0453, open Tues–Fri 10 a.m. –2 p.m., no reserved seats.

For more information, call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

The Sing ends at 5:15 p.m.

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Come Caroling on Lyme Street Today, All Welcome

Come-a-caroling on Sunday!

This Sunday, Dec. 16, ‘Fa La La Lyme Street Caroling’ begins at 4 p.m. at Old Lyme Town Hall with the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Select Singers performing there until 4:30 p.m.  All those who plan to go caroling on Lyme St. should gather at the town hall during this time.

Between 4:30 and 6 p.m., carol singing directed by Linda Hamilton will take place up and down Lyme Street.

After the carol-singing, Old Lyme Town Hall will host an old-fashioned hot cocoa bar and offer sweet treats for all carolers.

Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe will then host an Open House at 68 Lyme Street starting at 6:30 p.m.

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Need a Sitter While You Shop Today? LYSB Has One (or More!) for You

Tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) Youth Advisory Council will provide a babysitting service at their premises at 59 Lyme Street.

The elves at LYSB will watch your kids while you finish your holiday errands and chores.

Children of all ages will be entertained by members of the LYSB

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The cost is $20 and includes lunch, crafts, games, snacks, movies and fun.

Pre-registration is required. Pre-Register at www.lysb.org.  Space is limited  

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Want Your Gifts Wrapped? Old Lyme Girls Scouts Host Holiday Fundraiser Today

Girl Scout Troop 60608 will hold a Holiday Gift-wrapping fundraiser at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau at 59 Lyme Street today from 1 to 5 p.m. 

The suggested donation is $2 per gift

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Six Years Ago Today …

Today is the sixth anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) issued the following statement,

“Today is an awful day. I’ll think a lot about my youngest son, who went off to his first grade classroom this morning, as I remember the precious children and brave educators whose lives were unimaginably taken six years ago.”

He continued, “I’ve had the honor of representing, and becoming friends with, many of the families of the victims. Nothing we do can ever bring those kids back, but we should be inspired by Newtown’s efforts to make the world a kinder, more loving place. We can reach out to one another and help those in need.”

Caitlin Nosal (center), elder daughter of Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, and her friend (right), a resident of Newtown, Conn., along with former Old Lyme Selectman Mervin Roberts (left) visited Newtown in late December 2012 to pay their respects to the victims of the horrific shooting that had taken place Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School that same month. In this file photo, they are seen looking at some of the memorials to the 26 teachers and students killed

Murphy noted that this morning he is delivering meals to families in need in New Haven and commented, “I hope everyone takes some time to do their own act of kindness – big or small – in their communities.”

He concluded, “We will never stop remembering, and honoring, and fighting for the lives senselessly lost six years ago. We have to keep going. For me, that means I will never give up trying to change our broken gun laws to keep our kids safe from gun violence.”

“A national movement for stronger gun laws started six years ago today, and today I feel more confident than ever before that Congress will listen and act on changing our gun laws next year. We would not be here without the voices of so many of the family members from Newtown who want us to honor their loved ones with action,” Murphy added.

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Holiday Boutique Today in Old Lyme Benefits LYSB, Other Local Youth Organizations

Wrap up your gift shopping at the Holiday Boutique on Wednesday! Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

A Holiday Boutique will be held  Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Lyme Country Club, 40 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme.  It is is open and free to all community members.

The event will benefit the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services, and Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau.

The Holiday Boutique features 18 vendors from Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Florida, and has something for everyone on your list. Items for sale will include jewelry, gifts, hand bags, scarves, soaps, ties, florals and so much more.

The high-end vendors include:

  • CatchAll from Westport
  • Pinky’s from Greenwich
  • The Calvert Collection
  • Nat Fry Woodworking from Haverford, PA
  • Old Lyme’s Allie Fiscus
  • Three Islands from Westerly
  • Lowebows Bowties
  • Patrice Collection from Darien
  • Stix & Stones from Hartford
  • Carlisle clothing and Mali jewelry from New York
  • The Patrice Collection from Darien
  • Katherine Clarkson Studio
  • Tucci Designs from Stonington
  • Savor and Cortland Park from Essex
  • Maggie Lee Designs from Lancaster, PA
  • Cynthia Slack Designs from Bonita Springs, FL
  • Farm to Bath from Thompson
  • Alka’s Indian gifts
  • Make-up demonstrations by Clippers of Guilford.

A luncheon buffet will be available $18.

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Old Lyme Town Band Plays ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at ‘the Kate’ Tonight

The Old Lyme Town Band will perform their ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ in Old Saybrook on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m.

‘The Kate’s’ program information states, “Nothing says the holidays like the Old Lyme Town Band playing some festive selections for the season.”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and available at this link.

Visit the Old Lyme Town Band’s website at this link or thekate.org for more details.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration, Jan 28 & 29

Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2018 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School

Children who will be five-years-old on or before Jan. 1, 2020 are eligible to register for Kindergarten for September 2019.

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

Please bring to registration your child’s

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

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

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

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

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SECWAC Hosts Local Independent Expert Tonight, Presents “Cuba, the Conflicted Isle”

Rob Hernandez will give a presentation on Cuba at the next SECWAC meeting.

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts Rob Hernandez to speak on ‘Cuba, the Conflicted Isle: can it reconcile its past while creating a new future?’ at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Old Lyme Country Club, 40 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT.

Hernandez, an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities and corporations, will discuss the current status of Cuba in the context of its historical relationship with the United States. Specifically, he will recount the long and often tortured history of U.S.-Cuba relations, describe the reality on the ground today, and discuss possible solutions to the five decades of seemingly irreconcilable differences between the two neighbors.

Born in the U.S. but raised in Spain and Cuba—and Essex, Hernandez has worked extensively around the world for more than 40 years. An ecologist by education, he spent his early career doing field research and documenting through film and photography many of the world’s more remote places, work that has appeared in many leading global publications.

As part of those endeavors, he spent a year in Africa filming a television special on lions and, in his early twenties, spent two years circumnavigating the Pacific and Indian Oceans in a 29 ft. sailboat.  Since then he has continued to lead numerous expeditions to Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and South America, among others.

This led to a 30-year career at the National Geographic Society (NGS) where he served in numerous capacities, including senior editor of the National Geographic magazine, head of Strategic Planning, and later as Senior Vice President, founder and head of the Society’s International Publishing Division.  In that role, he established NGS offices in more than 35 countries and published books, magazines, maps, DVDs, websites and a broad range of other digital media in over 40 languages.  Totally committed to NGS’s non-profit missions, he was also heavily involved in the scientific, educational, and conservation initiatives of the organization.

Most recently, he completed his career at the Walt Disney Co. where he ran Disney’s Magazine Publishing Worldwide Co. producing more than 400 local-language magazine titles and other publications for sale throughout the globe.

Now semi-retired, he lives in Essex and works as an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities, and corporations. He has traveled to Cuba often in the last three decades and looks forward to sharing with his insights about this enigmatic island.

Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC meeting attendees have the option for $35 to attend a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by Thursday, Dec. 6, at 860-912-5718.

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). Membership September 2018 through June 2019 is $75; $25 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

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 eight to 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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Legal News You Can Use: Are Connecticut Roads Prepared for Winter?

Snow’s so pretty but are the roads — and you and your vehicle — ready for the next winter storm? Photo by Korey Moore on Unsplash

SPONSORED POST by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.

Connecticut’s first winter storm of the season in mid-November caught many people off-guard, including the Department of Transportation. Snow blanketed many areas of the state just as people left work. Although the DOT salted the roads, it wasn’t enough.

Crashes and stuck cars closed three highways, causing major back-ups. A man from Florida died when he left his spun-out vehicle and another car hit him. Connecticut is no stranger to snow and winter driving, so what went wrong this time?

More snow than expected

First, the state received more snow than expected, but not by a huge amount. Fairfield County took the brunt of it, but many areas received over half a foot. This may have been enough to cause trouble. Drivers knew there would be snow, but didn’t expect quite so much of it. Connecticut drivers are used to driving in snow, and they may have thought they could handle it.

Bad timing

The storm’s timing did not help matters, either. Anytime bad weather coincides with the rush hour commute, you have a terrible combination. Commuters hurrying to make it home blocked the plows trying to clear the roads. Police had to escort them out of traffic.

Operations center failure

Unfortunately, the storm also caught Governor Malloy off-guard. He was speaking on prisoner reforms in California at the time of the storm and did not activate the emergency operations center. Nor did his chief of staff, Brian Durand, who sought advice from the Transportation Commissioner.

Are you prepared?

If you haven’t done your winter car check, now is the time to do it. You should check the following before hitting the snowy roads:

  • Battery. Many garages can test your battery. Carry jumper cables, even if you have a good battery. You may be able to save a neighbor in need.
  • Fluids. Top them off, especially windshield washer fluid and anti-freeze. Keep your gas tank at least half-full, as well.
  • Tires. Switch to winter tires if you have them. Otherwise, make sure your all-weather tires are in good condition.
  • Lights. It gets dark much earlier, and you want other drivers to see you.
  • Emergency kit. Make sure you fully stock your winter car kit with flashlights, water, snacks, a warm blanket, a first aid kit and kitty litter or sand.

Winter has only just begun. We will see more snow before the season is over. Stay safe and make sure you are prepared for the next winter storm. 

Visit the Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro  at this link for more information.

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Superintendent/Student Recognition Award Presented to LOLHS Seniors McGlinchey, Fava

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands between Brynn McGlinchey and Nick Fava after they had received CAPSS Student Recognition Awards

Brynn McGlinchey and Nicholas Fava, students at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, have been awarded the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents’ (CAPSS) Superintendent/Student Recognition Award for leadership service to the school, academic prowess relative to ability, and service to others in the community at a ceremony held Nov. 26, at Saybrook Point Inn.

Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Schools of Regional School District 18, made the presentation as part of a program designed by school administrators to recognize students who have served their schools and communities while maintaining good scholastic progress.

The Superintendent/Student Recognition Program awards a Certificate of Excellence at the discretion of the local superintendent of schools according to a distribution formula set for all state school districts. Awards are generally given during American Education Week in November in order to provide a meaningful focus for each school district and to enhance the quality of the certificate. 

Brynn McGlinchey is a bright young woman in every sense of the word. She is an intelligent, high-level student while taking an extremely competitive course load. She is a spirited member of the school community and involved in many activities at school. She gets others to be interested, enthusiastic and involved.

McGlinchey’s style of leadership is calm and deeply thoughtful; she steps to the forefront representing her peers while serving on the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Board of Directors and as the student representative of the Board of Education. She is proof that leadership is not about volume but rather the quality of one’s actions and the ability to foster compromise and moving forward effectively.

McGlinchey’s vision of the world values our community but reaches much, much wider and it will take her far. 

Nicholas Fava has been involved in leadership and service at the high school since his earliest days of his freshman year. He is vice-president of his class and can be counted on to show up and get the job done, whatever the task may be.

A three-season athlete, Fava is a key member of Techno-Ticks Robotics Team and the Community Service Club.

Fava can seem quiet by nature, but is an excellent listener, assessing the situation and feedback around him to know how the group needs to proceed. He is academically talented, conquering everything from honors math to college-level Spanish. We have yet to see anything slow Nick down, and we are proud he has come so far so fast.

CAPSS, the statewide school superintendents’ professional organization, is based in West Hartford and provides professional development, personal support, statewide conferences, legislative information and educational services to its membership.

For more information about CAPSS, contact Ian Neviaser at neviaseri@region18.org or 860-434-7238.

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LYSB Hosts Gingerbread House Family Workshop This Afternoon

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) hosts a Gingerbread House Family Workshop this afternoon from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. 

In keeping with all the years this annual tradition has been followed, LYSB will supply all the ingredients for the houses, while you simply bring your camera, create a masterpiece … and leave the mess behind!

The fee is $10 per participant.  Space is limited. 

For more information, call 860-434-7208 or visit the LYSB website.

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Talking Transportation: Trucker Shortage Takes Its Toll

What does the future hold for the trucks on our highways? Photo by Rhys Moult on Unsplash

As if crumbling bridges and pot-holed highways weren’t enough to worry about, now America’s transportation network is facing a new crisis:  a shortage of truck drivers.

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), trucks carry more than 70 percent of all domestic freight, bringing in $719 billion in revenue.  It’s trucks, not trains, that deliver our Amazon purchases and fill the shelves of our favorite big box stores for the holidays. So while we hate to drive behind them on our highways, we love what trucks deliver.

But now, of the existing half-million truck drivers in the US, demographics are taking their toll as more and more retire each year, leaving those jobs unfilled. The ATA estimates the industry needs 51,000 new truck drivers.  And new candidates are not stepping forward.

Why?  Well, the ATA says Gen Z’ers don’t like the lifestyle.  They don’t want to spend long, lonely days or weeks doing long-hauls, eating bad food and sleeping in their rigs.  Even money, like $50,000 signing bonuses, isn’t attracting them.

The average trucker makes $59,000 and drivers for private fleets can make $86,000. But lengthy, expensive training courses present a roadblock to immediate recruitment.  And newly-mandated technology tracking drivers’ time on the road is exacerbating the problem.

Drivers are only supposed to drive 11 hours of every 14 hours a day, but many used to fudge their paper log-book records because they got paid by the mile.  Since last December, electronic logging has been the law, so the safety rules are impossible to circumvent.  Of course, nobody wants tired drivers on the road, but in the cause of safety, truckers are losing efficiency.

Where will the industry find new drivers?  Well, women still only represent about 6 percent of all drivers.  And minorities have seen their numbers increase 12 percent in the past year.  And the industry is also seeking a reduction in the minimum driving age from 21 to 18.

What’s this all mean to us as consumers?  Higher costs.

Amazon saw a 38 percent increase in shipping costs in the first quarter, forcing it to raise its (unlimited free-shipping) Amazon Prime membership fee from $99 to $119 a year.  Across the industry spectrum, shipping rates are rising.

But the real solution will probably be self-driving trucks.

That’s why big companies like Waymo (owned by Google), Tesla and Uber, as well as truck-builders like Freightliner and Volvo are investing heavily in the autonomous technology.

Not that we’ll be seeing driverless trucks on Connecticut interstates anytime soon.  There’s probably too much congestion to make them practical.  But there are vast stretches of interstates in “fly over country” out west where self-driving trucks make perfect sense, delivering truckloads of products to automated warehouses where robots will unload them.

Automating trucking may be good for the industry but it certainly doesn’t help with recruitment.  Who wants to sign on for a career knowing full well they may be replaced by a robot?

Sociologist and 13-year trucker Steve Viscelli says the solution is in changing the system:  paying truckers for actual hours on the road (not just mileage), including those times when truckers must waste hours or days waiting for a new load.

Whatever the solution, it’s clear who’ll end up paying:  consumers.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Con Brio Presents Second Holiday Concert in Old Lyme, This Afternoon

How do you get into the holiday spirit? Why not ease into the season by experiencing the joy of uplifting seasonal music at a Con Brio Choral Society December concert this afternoon, Sun., Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. You’ll hear glorious choral music, trumpet fanfares, and even get the chance to sing your favorite carols along with the singers at the concert’s end.

Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano.

Three professional soloists – Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano; Louise Fauteux, soprano; and Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano – will join the 66 voices of Con Brio and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Stephen Bruce. To open the concert – and herald the holiday season – four trumpets will perform Jan Zelenka’s Fanfares for four trumpets and timpani.

The choral program that follows will feature two baroque pieces performed with soloists and orchestra. The first piece, one new to most, is Czech composer Jan Zelenka’s Te Deum for double chorus. A new edition of this long-lost Baroque masterwork prompted Con Brio to program it. Zelenka knew J.S. Bach and at least once, stayed at Bach’s house in Leipzig, and also knew Telemann and other famous musicians of the time.

The other baroque piece is likely more familiar, the first movement of J.S. Bach’s Cantata 63, Christen ätzet diesen Tag, composed for the First Day of Christmas, 1713.

Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano, has been praised by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.” She has performed as soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Amherst Early Music Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, the Yale Collegium Soloists, Princeton Pro Musica and a number of contemporary choral and chamber ensembles. Her New York debut singing Melagro in Gluck’s La Corona at Merkin Hall was enthusiastically received, critically acclaimed in the New York Times and recorded live for Albany Records.

Louise Fauteux, soprano

Soloist Louise Fauteux enjoys a diverse career in the arts devoted to education and performance. Her versatility as a soprano includes a performance of Peer Gynt with the New York Philharmonic and actor John De Lancie and a tour of Venice with DiCapo Opera and the Fairfield Chorale. She has also performed as soloist with New Haven Chorale, Concora, the Farmington Valley Chorale, the Connecticut Master Chorale and the Connecticut Chamber Chorus.

Soloist Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano, has performed as an oratorio soloist in numerous major works including the Mozart Requiem with the Clearlakes Chorale in the New Hampshire Lakes Region, the Rachmaninov Vespers with the Boston Russian Choir; Dvorak’s Mass in D and Mass in Time of War with the Bermuda Chamber Choir. Her opera credits include Dido in Dido and Aeneas and La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica with Piccola Opera NH, as well as other works.

As in past years, Con Brio will sing two pieces in the round while the singers are arrayed around the Sanctuary. The first piece is Quem Vidistis Pastores by Richard Dering and the second, Hodie Christus Natus Est by Giovanni Gabrieli. For many regulars, the eight-part early music pieces sung in the round are a highlight of each Con Brio concert.

Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano

Also on the program is Ola Gjeilo’s Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) and Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria, both written for eight parts, Mary Had a Baby, arranged by Craig Courtney, I Saw Three Ships arranged by Mack Wilberg, and Sir Christémas, arranged by William Mathias.

The concerts are on Friday evening, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon, at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church at 1 McCurdy Lane, Old Lyme, CT. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased in advance at www.conbrio.org or by calling 860-526-5399.

Con Brio Choral Society is a classical, all-auditioned chorus drawing its 66 singers from 15 towns extending along the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook to Deep River and East Haddam and along the shoreline from Guilford to Mystic.

The group performs with the Con Brio Festival Orchestra and professional soloists under conductor Dr. Stephen Bruce.

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Letter to the Editor: Thoughts, Concerns, Suggestions on Halls Rd. Improvement Plan

To the Editor:

Christina and I attended both public meetings hosted by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee, and conducted by members of the Yale Urban Design Workshop. Yale presented the Committee’s vision statement and several conceptual renderings of what fully realizing that vision might yield. The article in the New London Day accurately summarized the vision.

The audience was skeptical of the immense breadth and scope of that vision; – requiring twenty- five or more years to complete.  Several concerns were raised about cost and the impact on taxes.

We left with a few thoughts and concerns. It was not apparent to us that current Halls Road business owners and the professionals occupying office space had participated to any extent in developing that vision. It is absolutely important to get their buy-in. Essex Bank did state that any of their future development would take Old Lyme’s plan into consideration.

We found Alan Plattus’ presentation to be a bit glib. This is important stuff, and some of the vision could be lost in presenter style. Also, know the names of our local landmarks, especially if they factor into the plan. (i.e. it’s the “Bow Bridge” that used to cross the Lieutenant River). But, after all; they’re Yale, not Harvard.

Our suggestion: parse the plan into achievable shorter- range projects that will yield some early successes. Start with the hiking/biking paths along the Lieutenant River, rebuild the foot bridge, and create the new Halls Road village green.

Sincerely, 

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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