May 19, 2022

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Sports Roundup: Both Tennis Teams Trounce Old Saybrook 7-0, Baseball ‘Cats Crush Westbrook 11-1

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School girls’ tennis team pulled off a powerful 7-0 win over Old Saybrook on Friday. Photo by A. Fenton.

LYME/OLD LYME — On Friday, April 8, the Old Lyme girls’ and boys’ tennis teams along with the baseball team all achieved stunning victories over their respective opponents.

Girls’ Tennis:
Old Lyme Crushes Old Saybrook 7-0

1st Singles:
Abigail Sicuranza vs Elizabeth Pamment 6-0, 6-0

2nd Singles:
Sam Tan vs Claire Boucher 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles:
Callie Bass vs Gabby Z. 6-0, 6-0

4th Singles:
Olivia Schaedler vs Tsering Choedar 6-0, 6-0

1st Doubles:
Livie Bass / Alexis Fenton
Hanna Bjorkman/Lhamo Tsering 6-0, 6-0

2nd Doubles:
Aggie Hunt/ Beatrice Hunt
Morgan Bubello/Abigail Clifford 6-0, 6-0

3rd Doubles:
Fiona Hufford/ Izzy Reynolds
Tenzin Choedar/Caroline Ancona 6-0 6-0

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School boys’ tennis team trounced Old Saybrook 7-0 on Friday. Photo by A. Fenton.

Boys’ Tennis:
Old Lyme Soundly Defeats Old Saybrook 7-0

Singles:
1. Charles Hinckley vs. Logan Medbury: 6-0, 6-0
2. Griffin McGlinchey vs. Daniel Steindl: 6-0, 6-1
3. Will Danes vs. Victor Fuda: 6-0, 6-0
4. Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum vs. Joe Maselli: 6-1, 6-2

Doubles:
1. Micah Bass and Aidan Kerrigan vs. Mike Kapij and Zach Nichols: 6-2, 6-2
2. Mike Klier and Andy Sicuranza: Forfeit Win
3. Jed Arico and Nevin Joshy: Forfeit Win

Baseball:
‘Cats Crush Westbrook 11-1

  • Lyme-Old Lyme Wildcats got on the board first in the first inning, when Jaden Reyes (3-4; 2 RBI) singled scoring one run.
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Wildcats scored five runs in the fifth inning.  Riley Warecke (2-4; 1 RBI), Reyes, and Alex Roth (3-4; 2 RBI) all contributed that inning with some RBIs.
  • Warecke pitched Lyme-Old Lyme Wildcats to victory. Warecke went five innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out nine.
  • The Wildcats had 19 team hits. Roth, Grady Lacourciere (3-4), Reyes, Jimmy Creagan (2-4; 1 RBI), Casey Hurtgen (2-3; 1 RBI), Warecke, and Maverick Swaney (2-2; 1 RBI) all had multiple hits for Lyme-Old Lyme Wildcats.

State Rep. Carney Announces Re-Election Bid for 23rd District That Includes Lyme, Old Lyme

Incumbent State Rep. Devin Carney (R) has announced he is seeking a fifth term in the 23rd District, which includes both Lyme and Old Lyme. Photo submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) has announced that he is running for re-election as State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. This is his fourth re-election bid, and if elected, it will be his fifth consecutive term in office.

Rep. Carney was first elected in 2014 and currently serves as Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee and  Ranking Member of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Education Committee, Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, and the House Republican Screening Committee.

In addition, he serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Future Caucus and Clean Energy Caucus and is an Assistant Republican Leader.

During his tenure, Rep. Carney has maintained a strong attendance record at the Capitol and has continued to be active in community events in all four towns of the 23rd District.

Rep. Carney has been commended for his accessibility, bipartisanship, and work ethic during his tenure as State Representative. In late 2021, he was one of only two legislators, nationally, to receive the Millennial Action Project’s Rising Star Award for his work trying to bridge political gaps and for his advocacy on issues important to younger generations.

“I’ve always worked hard to put the people of the 23rd District first – above special interests and party interests,” said Carney.

He continued, “To me, this is my responsibility as Representative. I am always honored to go to Hartford to be the voice of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook; and I take that job extremely seriously, especially at a time of uncertainty and concern in government.” 

Rep. Carney’s committee assignments have put him at the center of many important policy debates at the Capitol.

On the Transportation Committee, he has been integral in working to reduce the Connecticut gas tax, improve state bridges and roads, and to improve operations at the DMV.

On the Education Committee, Rep. Carney has fought forced regionalization and worked to ensure communities have local control over educational decisions. 

“Our local public schools are a source of pride for our communities and the state should not be able to dictate what we teach or how we teach it,” said Carney. “As long as I am State Representative, I will fight government overreach, forced regionalization, or any measures that will weaken the quality of our local schools.”

Serving on the Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, Rep. Carney has focused on growing our local economy and jobs, boosting business development, and stopping higher taxes.

“The COVID pandemic created so many issues for our local and state businesses and now it’s the time for the state to take a step back and allow them to grow,” Carney said.

He added, “We have to get people back to work and encouraged to train for jobs that are in-demand. In addition, Connecticut continues to remain unaffordable for many, and I will always oppose higher taxes on our seniors, families, and businesses. As Connecticut continues to come out of the fog of the pandemic, it is essential that government works to give people a break and not to expand its size and scope even further.”

In addition to his legislative work, Rep. Carney works locally in finance and volunteers for many local organizations. He serves on the board of trustees of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, and as board treasurer of Old Saybrook Senior Housing. 

He is a member of both the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club of Old Saybrook, which serves all four towns of the 23rd District.

He is a lector at Grace Church in Old Saybrook and a member of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

He was also recently named as a board member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators on the basis of his  environmental record.

He currently lives in Old Lyme but grew up in Old Saybrook, where he graduated from Old Saybrook Public Schools.

Rep. Carney has already qualified for Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program grant by collecting over 175 contributions and nearly $10,000. 

He commented, “I was thrilled to reach my fundraising goals quickly this campaign and am incredibly grateful to all of those who continue to have faith in me. As this session moves along, I will continue to be available to listen and to bring the people’s voice to Hartford.”

Rep. Carney concluded, “I look forward to visiting many constituents during my campaign to hear their needs and address their concerns. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the people of the 23rd District.” 

Editor’s Notes: i) For further information on Rep. Carney’s campaign, visit facebook.com/devincarney2022.
ii) This article is based on a press release issued by Rep. Carney.

Biega Builds as a Job, But Also as a Valued Volunteer on Numerous Old Lyme Projects

Project Construction Manager Ken Biega (left) stands with the Valley Shore-YMCA Director of Operations Tony Sharillo in the recently opened Brady Wellness Center in the ‘Y’ at Westbrook. Biega has served as a volunteer on numerous building committees in Old Lyme and consistently received high praise for his invaluable work on them. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME/WESTBROOK — You may not have heard the name Ken Biega, but metaphorically speaking, his fingerprints are all over numerous buildings in and around Old Lyme.

Soft-spoken and with a cheerful disposition, Biega has served as a volunteer on numerous building committees in Old Lyme including the construction of the Hains Park Boathouse at Rogers Lake and the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library renovation and expansion project.

He is currently a volunteer member of the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee.

Meanwhile, in a professional capacity as both the co-owner of Noble Construction & Management in Essex and a building construction manager with more than 30 years of experience, he has for the past six months been spearheading the extensive construction project for the Brady Wellness Center at the Valley-Shore YMCA — commonly known as the ‘Y’ — in Westbrook, Conn.

Biega, who has lived in Old Lyme since 1990, graduated from Wentworth College with a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction and has been in the construction business ever since. He joined O & G Industries in Torrington more than  32 years ago as a junior project engineer and steadily advanced through its ranks, rising to a manager, and then a senior executive in the firm.

In May 2021, Biega took a giant leap towards becoming his own boss when he joined Noble Construction. The founder, Ed Noble, was looking to retire and seeking someone to take over the successful business he had created. Biega stepped into that role as co-owner and the two men worked out all the financial arrangements for Biega to take full ownership over an agreed period in a series of steps.

While working at O & G, Biega was involved in numerous local school building projects including East Lyme High and Middle Schools, and all the schools in both Waterford and Westbrook. Further afield, he has taken on projects at Yale University, Wyndham High School and the Gunn School at Litchfield, Conn.

His first encounter with his hometown was when O & G was awarded the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) High School construction project that was ultimately built after the initial proposal had been defeated at referendum. Wearing his O & G hat, Biega became an ex officio member of the Region 18 Building Committee in 2009 and played a significant part in guiding its members through the complexities and controversies of the high school project, which lasted through 2012 .

The exterior of the Fred Emerson Boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake. Ken Biega was a key member of the building committee that oversaw its construction.

Shortly after the conclusion of that project, the Town of Old Lyme’s plan to construct a new boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake began to take shape. Recalling Biega’s calm expertise throughout the lengthy LOL High School project along with his careful eye on costs, Mary Jo Nosal, who was serving as an Old Lyme Selectwoman at the time, asked Biega if he would be willing to serve on the boathouse committee.

He agreed … and in many ways, the rest is history.

Asked how Biega contributed to the boathouse project, Nosal replied, “[He] is a dependable and modest community asset, who never fails to respond with a self-effacing “Sure,” when asked to volunteer. Ken is an effective collaborator, who shares his deep expertise to ensure that every aspect of the project is addressed in the most cost-effective manner.”

She added, “Ken’s nature makes him approachable and respectful of others’ questions and opinions. His record of volunteerism includes leadership roles on [numerous] projects. He has been instrumental in building these gems in our community.”

Katie Huffman, Director of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, welcomes guests to the inaugural event for the library’s new patio. Biega chaired the building committee for this project.

After the boathouse project, Biega became involved in the now-completed building and renovation project at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme, which has totally transformed the facility. Library Director Katie Huffman explained his role saying, “Ken served as the Renewal Building Project Committee Chair from 2017 through 2021. Last fall, we retired the Renewal Building Project Committee and reinstated the Library Building Committee of which Ken is the chair.”

Describing how the project progressed, she said, “Working with Ken has been fabulous. He brings so much knowledge about the construction process to the table. I’m confident that his expertise has saved the library both time and money, and it’s freed up my time to focus more on library services.”

In further recognition of his service to the library, Biega was elected Vice-President of the Library Board for the current financial year.

The Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme is the focus of an ongoing building committee, which is determining the future renovation design and possible expansion of the Center. Biega serves as volunteer on the committee and is an ‘incredible asset’ according to its chair, Jeri Baker.

The library project was hardly finished when Biega was asked to join the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee,  which had the charge to research the optimum way to renovate and possibly expand the Center. Jeri Baker of Old Lyme is both the chair of the Lymes’ Senior Center Board of Trustees and also head of its building committee. The project may still be in its infancy, but Baker already has a clear impression of the skills Biega is contributing to the project as a volunteer committee member.

She commented, “Ken is an incredible asset to the Senior Center Building Committee. His depth of knowledge and expert skill set makes him a valuable member of yet another effort to improve the lives of both the communities of Lyme and Old Lyme.”

Baker concluded succinctly — and with a chuckle, “He is such a team player on the committee … and also has a great sense of humor!”

The front entrance of the Valley Shore-YMCA in Westbrook. Photo by T. Sharillo.

As mentioned above, Biega’s most recent project in a professional capacity has been the construction of the Brady Wellness Center at the Westbrook ‘Y.’ This came about after the Prymus Pool suffered a catastrophic failure in 2015 that ultimately caused the permanent closure of the pool.

Immediately following the closure, the ‘Y’ conducted a community-wide needs assessment study to determine how it could best serve the community. Based on the survey data collected, the ‘Y’s’ Board of Directors decided to renovate the damaged pool area and transform the space into a state-of-the-art wellness center for community members of all ages to utilize.

Tony Sharillo, Director of Operations at the ‘Y’, explains the board’s vision was, “To create a Wellness Center that generated excitement and which the community could be proud of — the ‘Crown Jewel of the Shoreline’ in terms of wellness centers — with the immediate intention of enticing people to get back to being fit and healthy after all the challenges of the pandemic.”

Another view of the Brady Wellness center at the Y in Westbrook. Photo courtesy of the Valley Shore-YMCA.

To fund the renovations, the ‘Y’ set a capital campaign goal of $5.5 million, and despite the unexpected and severe impact of COVID-19, a remarkable $4.2 million has already been raised. This has been possible in part because, after its humble opening in 1974, the ‘Y’ has undergone four facility expansions and now serves more than 10,000 members each year, who make over 10 million visits.

The fundraising was kicked off by Robert “Bob” Brady, after whom the Center is named, with a major gift of $1.5 million from the Brady Family Foundation. Brady is the founder and former CEO of BLR® – Business & Legal Resources of Old Saybrook, and, according to Sharillo, “… believes in the Y and its impact on the community. Having experienced the importance of fitness in his own life, he wanted to share that belief with the community at large.”

The ‘Y’ set a challenging construction schedule back in July 2021 when Noble Construction was selected as the contractor, but, thanks in many ways to Biega’s guiding hand, the new Brady Wellness Center opened on both time and budget a few weeks ago.

There is no shortage of exercise machines on offer. Photo by K. Biega.

The Center offers a complete line of new cardiovascular equipment, free weights, selectorized equipment, a functional training area, and a sophisticated circuit training system, called MX4.

Asked how the project has progressed under Biega’s watchful eye, Sharillo replied, “ We’re very fortunate to have Ken as part of the team. He has been wonderful. We had a really aggressive timeline and he did everything he could to ensure that high quality was maintained… costs were managed effectively and all the sub-contractors held up their ends [in terms of their commitments.]”

In summary, Sharillo said of Biega, “I couldn’t have asked for a better contractor to work with. He really cared about the project. He was so hard working and incredibly generous with his time.”

The Center opened Feb. 21 this year, but an official ribbon-cutting is planned in a few months when all the final punch-list items have been completed. Sharillo noted that all donors to the Capital Campaign will be invited to the ceremony.

He also stresses that there is no additional charge to members of the ‘Y’ to use the new Brady Wellness Center, noting, “It’s all part of the package.”

The Brady Wellness Center offers a wide range of exercise equipment. Photo courtesy of the Valley Shore-YMCA.

The Center is now open for business and Biega will soon be working on another project. But he will doubtless continue his volunteer activities in Old Lyme, especially as the Lymes’ Senior Center project is in its very early stages.

Asked why he carries on with his significant volunteer work when he is not only about to become the sole owner of a thriving business but also has a wife and three children to consider, he says simply, “It makes me a part of the community and allows me to give back.”

Nosal puts it another way saying Biega has become such an asset to the Old Lyme community that, “Suffice to say, for any building project in Old Lyme, the common thinking is, ‘What would Ken do?'”

Editor’s Notes: i) For more information about the Brady Wellness Center, visit this link.
ii) For more information about Noble Construction & Management of Essex, visit this link.
iii) For more information about the Valley Shore-YMCA, visit this link.

Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club Welcomes New, Current Members at Meeting Tonight

LYME/OLD LYME The Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC), which has a pending name change to Valley Shore Women’s Club, has been meeting to schedule both fundraising and community service activities.

This Thursday, Sept. 23, the club is holding a General Meeting at High Nine Brewing in Deep River. All members and potential members are welcome.

Founded as a 501(c)3 in 1965, the LOLJWC is open to all women over the age of 18 in Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester and Ivoryton.

The primary mission of the club is to offer community service to each town as well as fundraise to provide scholarships for high school students. The club is always seeking additional ways to make a positive difference in its respective communities. 

Seeking Members

The club is seeking new members. Participation can be flexible based upon individual availability. General members meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month. For more information on how to join, visit the LOLJWC website.

Upcoming events – “in the works”

LOLJWC is planning a number of events which are listed below. For up-to-date information, follow LOLJWC on Facebook at this link.

September:

  • 23, at 7 p.m. General Meeting, 
  • 26, at 1 p.m. Road Side Trash Pick-up meet at Quality Inn, Old Saybrook

October:

  • 21, at 7 p.m. General Meeting
  • 30 or 31– Community Pumpkin carving – to be determined
  • Enter a Scarecrow in Essex Annual Scarecrow Contest

November:

  • 14, – Participant at High Hopes Craft Fair Old Lyme
  • 18 at 7 p.m. General meeting create holiday cards for the elderly  
  • 26, – Green Friday, planting bulbs at Cross Lane Playground

Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Free Concert at Westbrook Outlet Mall, Today

Ryan Bloomquist and Morgan Morse. Photo by Brief Cameo Productions.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse presents a free concert at Six Summit Gallery in the Westbrook Outlet Mall on Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. All are welcome.

A collaboration between the Ivoryton Playhouse and Brief Cameo Productions, Songs From The Elephant’s Trunk is a celebration of live performance, featuring concert selections both honoring the Playhouse’s past successes and looking ahead to a bright and hopeful future.

Featuring nine professional singers and musicians, the concert will include songs from Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and many more.

This concert is made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

Visit the Playhouse website or Facebook page for more information.

Rep. Devin Carney Named Ranking Member of Legislature’s Transportation Committee

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) File photo.

HARTFORD – State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd), who was reelected in November to the position he has held since 2015, has received his committee assignments for the 2021 legislative session.

These include being named as the Ranking Member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee by House Republican Leader-elect Vincent Candelora.

“Whether it’s highway congestion in Fairfield County or a failing bridge in the state’s Quiet Corner, transportation-related issues have and will continue to be a major point of conversation at the capitol,” Candelora said. “Devin understands both the importance of improving our transportation grid and the budgetary challenges that stand in the way.”

Candelora continued, “His ability to see all sides of an issue and understand a proposal’s impact on the people we’re elected to serve make him a perfect fit for this role, and I look forward to working with him as he helps lead discussion on this committee whose work affects so many aspects of life in Connecticut.”

Having been a member of the committee for the past six years, the familiarity of responsibilities that come with this appointment is one Rep. Carney knows well, having served in the same capacity from 2017 to 2018 under former Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

“It’s an honor to have been chosen to serve as the Ranking Member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee,” Rep. Carney said, continuing, “Serving in this capacity will not only allow me to be a strong voice for our region, but also address issues ranging from the safety of I-95 to wait times at the DMV. I look forward to working with the committee members on these types of issues again next year.”

The Transportation Committee has oversight on all matters relating to the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads; and to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

He will also return as a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Ranking Member of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee and will begin his first term on the Education Committee. Rep. Carney was also named an Assistant House Republican Leader and chosen, again, to serve on the House Republican Screening Committee.

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee focuses on issues relating to finance, revenue, capital bonding, fees and taxation. The committee also oversees employer contributions for unemployment compensation and all matters relating to the Department of Revenue Services and the revenue aspects of the Division of Special Revenue.

The Education Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Education; local and regional boards of education and the substantive law of collective bargaining covering teachers and professional employees of such boards; vocational rehabilitation; the Commission on the Arts; and libraries, museums and historical and cultural associations.

The House Republican Screening Committee is a select committee that reviews all bill proposals before they reach the floor of the House for a final vote.

Editor’s Notes: i) The 23rd House District includes Lyme, Old Lyme Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.
ii) This article is based on a press release issued by the House Republican Office of the Connecticut General Assembly.

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.

Letter to the Editor: Democrat Pugliese Represents a Fresh, Viable Alternative in House 23rd District Race

To the Editor:

Matt Pugliese offers a refreshing, non-partisan voice in the state House of Representatives for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Matt brings business experience from the non-profit sector where he has managed tight budgets and competing union interests to deliver theatrical arts to communities in Middletown and at U Conn. Matt has been recognized for his business acumen by the Hartford Business Journal 40 under 40.

As a resident of Old Saybrook raising a young family, Matt knows first hand the importance of supporting education, working women and families. With his courage to speak up for policies that make sense, Matt has earned the endorsements of Moms Demand Gun Sense, CT Chapter of National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood.

Connecticut has distinguished itself as a leader in gun control and voting equality. To retain these advances, our legislature needs to be controlled by those willing to stand up for these values. Connecticut needs to become a leader in business and the arts. Matt Pugliese has the experience and fortitude to be our next leader.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.

Ivoryton Hosts ‘Playhouse on the Shore’ at Water’s Edge, See ‘Summer Nights’ Aug. 19 & 26

‘Playhouse at the Shore’ at Water’s Edge features Carly Callahan. Photographs by Ivoryton Playhouse.

After last year’s successful engagement, Ivoryton Playhouse returns by popular demand to Water’s Edge Resort and Spa with six cabaret-style dinner theatre performances written for and performed exclusively at Water’s Edge.

This original series will showcase the professional talent of Ivoryton Playhouse performers and musicians in three unique productions.

La Dolce Vita will be performed July 22 and Aug. 12. Be transported to Italy for an evening of Italian favorites drawn from cinema, the concert stage, the great opera houses and the most celebrated clubs. Sit back, relax and enjoy delicious Italian cuisine complimenting this feast of the senses as performers serenade you with the iconic melodies of Italy.

Summer heats up with Summer Nights Aug. 19 and 26. Get ready to go back in time as the sizzle of hits from the ‘70s is celebrated. Feel free to sing and dance along as the talented cast hosts the hottest night of entertainment on the Shoreline.

Each of these evenings offers a combined entertainment and culinary experience. A cocktail hour, featuring an array of appetizers, is followed by the first set of the show. Then, enjoy a buffet style dinner, dessert, and second round of entertainment.

Schuyler Beeman is both a choreographer and performer in the Ivoryton Playhouse’s Summer Cabaret-Dinner Season at Water’s Edge.

Each evening features a professional cast of performers, in addition to a trio led by Music Director, Eric Trudel.  Cast members include Lili Thomas, Katie Weiser, Carly Callahan, Jamaal Fields-Green, Schuyler Beeman, Max Swarner, Richard Pittsinger, Charlie Widmer, Emily Langford Johnson, Amy Maude Helfer, Kate Hubbard and Devon Perry.

“We are thrilled to build on the success of last season and have put together some great talent for these evenings, including cast members from our season, to give the Water’s Edge audience a night of entertainment that they won’t forget,” said Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director of Ivoryton Playhouse.

Tickets are $59 per person plus tax and gratuity, including dinner and the show, and can be purchased by calling Water’s Edge Resort at 860-399-5901.  Tickets are not available through the Ivoryton Playhouse website or theatre box office.

For more information, visit watersedgeresortandspa.com.

Rep. Carney Earns 100 Percent Voting Record During 2018 Legislative Session

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23) earned a perfect voting record during the 2018 legislative session. There were 317 votes taken this year according to information released by the House Clerk’s office.

“I have always made it a priority to be present for every vote,” said Rep. Carney. “In my opinion, the most important part of my job is to ensure the people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook are heard on each and every piece of legislation that comes before the General Assembly. I am proud to have achieved this distinction for the district for the fourth year in a row.”

Rep. Carney currently serves as ranking member of the Transportation Committee, is on the Environment Committee and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

For an overview of important legislation addressed in the 2018 legislative session, visit the Office of Legislative Research website at www.cga.ct.gov/olr.

Anyone with questions, ideas or concerns about state-related issues can contact Rep. Carney’s office at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or 860-240-8700.

Pugliese Accepts Democratic Nomination for 23rd District, Will Challenge Carney in November Election

Last Wednesday, delegates from the 23rd District unanimously nominated Matt Pugliese (fourth from right) as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd State House District. Photo by Janis Esty.

On Wednesday, May 16, at a convention held in Old Saybrook at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion, Matt Pugliese accepted the Democratic nomination to represent the 23rd House District in the upcoming November election. The District includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook.

Democrat Matt Pugliese will challenge Devin Carney on Nov. 6.

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, announced his candidacy in early March. He is challenging incumbent Devin Carney-R, who is running for a third term.

He was formally nominated by Karen Brodeur, a member of the Old Saybrook Board of Education.  In her remarks, Brodeur said, “Matt has experience as a business leader, as a community leader, as a civic volunteer, and as a caring husband and father. Matt is focused, disciplined, hard-worker.  He is an empathetic listener.  Matt cares about his family and he cares about his community.”

In accepting the nomination, Pugliese said, “I’m a Democrat. I’ve always believed that the Democratic party valued everyone, especially those didn’t have a voice. I will represent everyone in our community. I believe in communication, in compromise and consensus building. That is the style of leadership and the values I promise to bring to Hartford.”

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Pugliese, the Executive Producer and Managing Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, serves as the Chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  He holds his BA in Theatre and his Masters in Public Administration, both from UConn.

Pugliese’s formal nomination drew praise and remarks from others in attendance including Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal and Mary Stone from Lyme, who was herself a candidate for the 23rd District in 2014. The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to select Pugliese as the candidate.

Pugliese, who is participating in the public funding option in the Citizen’s Election Program, announced that he had raised the required funds to qualify.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Democratic Candidates Come to Town: Old Lyme Forum Offers Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

Potapaug Hosts “American Woodcock” Program Tonight in Old Lyme

Potapaug Audubon presents “The American Woodcock” on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall. All are welcome.

The speaker will be Patti Laudano, naturalist and former Potapaug President, who will give a PowerPoint presentation illustrating all the unique adaptations of this elusive and well-camouflaged bird.

For more information or weather update, call 860-710-5811.

Op-Ed: In Light of Current Events, Head of The Country School Confirms, Defends School’s Mission

By John D. Fixx, Head of School at The Country School

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a moment in which people in the United States and throughout the world celebrate a gentleman who gave his life striving for equality and the principle that all people are created equal.

Our country has stood for generations as an example of hope for people throughout the world. Many relatives of our families and teachers arrived here recently or generations ago. Some arrived as slaves. Some arrived voluntarily to seek a better life of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am concerned that students have recently been hearing from the White House, the entertainment world, and the sports world that not all people are created equal. I send this letter, therefore, to make it clear how language and actions in the news today are counter to our mission at The Country School — to make it clear that as educators we will honor forthright questions from inquisitive students while striving to respect parental prerogative and disparate political viewpoints. It should not be controversial to deplore language and actions that undermine the bedrock on which the United States has been built and has prospered.

Our students might be reading on their phones and hearing stories about the mistreatment of women in Hollywood, on Olympic teams, and by influential men in broadcasting and elsewhere, while also hearing reports of hateful, racist, dangerous words from Washington that are inappropriate to use anywhere on our campus or use, many would argue, anywhere in a polite, civil society.

The Country School’s mission reads, “We nurture every student’s unique role in the community,” and that means that we value their differences. We live our mission daily by “encouraging students to embrace differences, explore new perspectives, and find common ground in a multicultural world.” We honor this ethos especially through our IDEA (Interpreting Diversity Education through Action) Day and Theme Day workshops, but also every day when we teach empathy and kindness.

I am tremendously proud of The Country School’s increasing diversity, as measured in terms of race, culture, family structures, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, and so forth. Our students’ families come from at least 27 different countries and their parents and grandparents speak some 17 languages at home. Our community spans the world, from Poland to Portugal and from China to Cambodia, from India to Israel to Italy to Ireland to Iceland, from Taiwan to Texas, from Lima to London, from Hungary to Sudan, and from California to Colombia. As educators, we cannot defend the idea that some families’ countries are worse or better than other countries.

Our core values state that our students “practice empathy by considering different perspectives and making all members of the community feel welcomed, included, and respected.” The Country School’s Mission Statement speaks to character and leadership development. As we teach our students in the Elmore Leadership Program, there are many ways to lead, and the best leaders bring disparate groups together to accomplish more than any individual could achieve on her or his own. And as part of the Elmore Leadership Program, we also teach students that leaders should use elegant, elevated language, and they should avoid profanity, misogyny, and similar “locker room” language.

We routinely answer questions as candidly and cleanly as we can, keeping our politics as adults as neutral as possible. I write this not to address specific tax policies or the Russian investigation, or a Mexican border wall, or trade agreements, or North Korean missiles, and so forth.

Rather, I want to make clear that it is part of our leadership mission at The Country School to ensure that our students understand that people can disagree agreeably, can use civil and respectful language, and — whether in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New York, or Hollywood — can always follow our primary school rule:

        1. Be kind.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 215 students in PreSchool to Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. See our community in action during our Open House on January 28 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

Country School Runners Enjoy Record-Breaking Season

From left to right are Kayla Uzwiak, 8th Grader from Killingworth; Ryan Wei, 8th Grader from East Lyme; and Conor Selfor, 8th Grader from Old Saybrook.

MADISON — While local public high school cross country teams have been building toward their championship races, The Country School’s cross country team has been quietly compiling a season record for the girls of 33 wins and only one loss and 35 wins and four losses for the boys. This is the best record for cross country at the PreSchool-8th Grade Madison independent school since it began offering the sport 20 years ago.

The team competes this Saturday in the Connecticut Middle School State Championships at Wickham Park in East Hartford. Many student-athletes are also looking forward to the Junior Olympics cross country state championship, set to take place on November 12. In years past, dozens of Country School athletes have gone on to qualify for Regional Junior Olympics Championships, with several going on to Nationals, including one, Robbie Cozean of Madison, now a sophomore at Xavier High School, who earned All America status three times and finished 2nd in the United States.

The Country School serves 214 students between the ages of 3 and 14, and with only eight boys and seven girls running cross country, its Middle School teams are typically the smallest teams competing in any race. Head of School John Fixx attributes the success of their athletes to many factors, among them, dedication. The team holds optional practices two or more times a week throughout the year during the off-season, including the summer, while practicing five and even six days a week during the fall cross country season. Inevitably, the entire team shows up, with younger running enthusiasts, and even some parents, opting to join in.

Seen here in action are, from left to right, Christopher Yuh, Madison; Gabriel Goodwin, Old Lyme; Liam Boone, Clinton, and Sam Duffy, Madison.

Another factor is school culture. At The Country School, running is regarded as an activity that is fun, inclusive, and open to all ages. The program begins as early as Kindergarten, when interested runners join a group known as the Flying Owlets, a nod to the school’s mascot, an owl. More than 35 students participate in Flying Owlets, with practices taking place a few times a week. They also have opportunities to compete in road races, Junior Olympics, and other venues. As older students and younger students train alongside each other, more seasoned runners are able to model teamwork and persistence for younger runners. It is not unusual to have a 6-year-old 1st Grader running alongside and listening to a 13-year-old 8th Grader talk about the effort it takes to run repeat 200s or a “ladder” workout on the track.

With a history of strong cross country and excellent academics, the school also has the advantage of attracting strong students who are also strong runners. This year, for example, Conor and Margaux Selfors joined the school, entering 8th and 7th Grades respectively. The siblings, from Old Saybrook, have placed at or near the top in multiple races this fall, adding depth and leadership to the team.

The talent on the team is also homegrown. Eighth Grade co-captain Ryan Wei from East Lyme, a top place finisher in several races this year, has attended The Country School for several years, rising up through the running ladder, and Robbie Cozean, the school’s most successful runner ever, began in PreKindergarten. In addition to his successes at The Country School and at Junior Olympics National, Robbie was named All-Courant Cross Country Runner of the Year as a freshman at Xavier.

In addition to Robbie at Xavier, several Country School runners have gone on to compete at the high school level, making their mark at Choate Rosemary Hall, Pomfret, Westminster, Guilford High School, Daniel Hand, Hamden Hall, St. Paul’s, Cheshire Academy, and Avon Old Farms.

Training so many runners, and working with such a wide age span of athletes, requires many coaches, and The Country School is fortunate to have a team of experienced runners and educators leading the effort. In addition to Head of School Fixx, a former cross country and track captain of Greenwich High School and Wesleyan University who founded the Country School cross country team with Jordan Katz, a former student, 20 years ago, the team benefits from the likes of Laura Morrison. A recent and very fast graduate of SUNY Fredonia who now runs for Southern Connecticut State University, where she is attending graduate school during the evenings, Laura oversees The Country School’s after-school program and also coordinating TEDxTheCountrySchool. Spanish teacher Blair Balchunas, a frequent road racer and half marathoner, is another inspiring member of the coaching staff. Organizational genius and great rapport with runners all ages comes from Beth Coyne, Country School Dean of Student Life and Secondary School Counselor.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is an independent, coeducational day school serving students from across the Shoreline. In addition to a rigorous academic program that seeks to educate the whole child through active, hands-on learning, The Country School is committed to vital offerings in the arts and athletics. Athletic contests are played on the school’s new, state-of-the-art outdoor complex, featuring two full-sized athletic fields, four tennis courts, a basketball court, and the cross country course through the woods that flank the 23-acre campus. The campus is a frequent host for athletic events, including a recent nine-school cross country meet. Although the student body is small in number, The Country School has a long tradition of athletic and academic excellence. This year alone, more than 20 Country School alumni are competing on teams at colleges across the country, including Amherst, Bates, Bryant, College of Charleston, Columbia, Dickinson, Fairfield, Hamilton, Harvard, Kenyon, Middlebury, Northeastern, Northwestern, Princeton, St. Lawrence, Union, the University of Rhode Island, and Villanova. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

Award-Winning Photographer Presents ‘Tools of Travel Photography’ at CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

Shadows of camels and their riders in the Sahara desert in Erg Chebi, Morrocco (Photo by David H. Wells)

The guest speaker at next Monday’s (Oct. 2) meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be award-winning photographer/videographer David H. Wells, who will give a presentation titled, “The Tools of Travel Photography.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.  All are welcome.

Wells uses whichever technology he feels is most appropriate for the specific situation to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, RI, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “… specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over 30-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field.

As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to master consistently these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. He also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

His work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

For more information on David H. Wells, visit his website.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The club offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed. The club draws members from up and down both sides of the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/. The Club’s meeting dates, speakers / topics and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

 

Ivoryton Playhouse Presents Dinner-Cabaret, ‘A Night on the Town,’ at ‘Water’s Edge,’ June 25

AREAWIDE — Ivoryton Playhouse, in a new partnership with Water’s Edge Resort,  will present a series of eight cabaret-style dinner theatre performances beginning Sunday, June 11, written for and performed exclusively at Water’s Edge.  This original series will showcase the professional talent of Ivoryton Playhouse performers and musicians in four unique events.

This original series of four uniquely themed productions celebrate a broad array of musical styles and genres:

Great Balls of Fire:
Sunday, June 11, and Sunday, June 18
‘50s Rock N’ Roll and so much more.

A Night on the Town:
Sunday, June 25 and Sunday, July 9
Featuring the musical inspiration of New York City.

That’s Amore:
Sunday, July 16 and Sunday, July 23
Favorites from opera and musical theatre celebrating all things Italian.

Sounds of the ‘70s:
Sunday, July 30 and Sunday, Aug. 13
Hits from the disco era.

Carly Callahan. Photograph courtesy of Carly Callahan

Each evening will feature a professional cast of performers, in addition to a trio led by Music Director, Eric Trudel and directed by Carly Callahan.

Cast members include Marsha Ackerman, Schuyler Beeman, Carly Callahan, Billy DiCrosta, Amy Maude Helfer, Kate Hubbard, Emily Johnson, Mia Pinero, Jorge Prego, Michael Scarcelle and Charlie Widmer.

“We have put together some great talent for these evenings, including cast members from our season, to bring the Water’s Edge audience a night of entertainment that they won’t forget,” said Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director of Ivoryton Playhouse.

Water’s Edge, previously known as Bill Hahn’s Hotel, was an entertainment destination in the 1940s and 50s and featured both up-and-coming singers and stars such as Henry Youngman, Art Carney and Barbra Streisand.  “We’re thrilled to revive the wonderful provenance of this resort, and look forward to entertaining a new audience inspired by Bill Hahn’s delightful evenings here decades ago”, said Hubbard.

Tickets are $69 per person, including dinner and the show, and can be purchased by calling Water’s Edge Resort at 860-399-5901.  Tickets are not available through the Ivoryton Playhouse website or theatre box office.

For more information, visit watersedgeresortandspa.com.

Two Organizations Working for Middle East Peace Co-Sponsor Film Series; Next Screening is ‘An Oasis on the Hill,’ Tonight

Members of the Tree of Life group that traveled to Israel-Palestine in March 2017 stand on the front steps of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme’s Meetinghouse on the day of their departure. Others would join the travelers from Ohio, Washington DC, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Hawaii.

Film Series Aims to Educate, Inspire Dialogue About Peace, Justice in Middle East and Beyond

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)-New Haven and the Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are jointly sponsoring a film series titled, ‘From the Jordan to the Sea: Israel-Palestine in Film’ at Westbrook Public Library. The series comprises three feature-length films on successive Thursdays, April 27, May 4 and May 11, and a short film on May 18, which will be followed by a “talk-back” with young people recently returned from TOLEF’s  2017 trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia.  

All four films will have a start time of 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Westbrook Library. The public is welcome to attend these events.

Tree of Life travelers stand on the roof of the Austrian Hospice in the Old City of Jerusalem as Dr. Reza Mansoor offered an introduction to Islam to the group of 37 travelers, who incorporated Muslim, Jewish and Christian representation.

The film series strives to educate and inspire dialogue by offering diverse perspectives with dramatic heartfelt storytelling. The selected films offer a human face to the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It is  hoped the series raises questions, challenges some common myths and jumpstarts candid discussion about the complexities of working for peace and justice in the Middle East and in the US as well. 

Details of the program are as follows:

When I Saw You (2012)  93 minutes
Thursday, April 27     

It is 1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope. In Jordan, a different kind of change is underway as tens of thousands of refugees pour across the border from Palestine. Having been separated from his father in the chaos of war, Tarek, 11, and his mother Ghaydaa, are amongst this latest wave of refugees. Placed in “temporary” refugee camps made up of tents and prefab houses until they would be able to return, they wait, like the generation before them who arrived in 1948. With difficulties adjusting to life in Harir camp and a longing to be reunited with his father, Tarek searches a way out, and discovers a new hope emerging with the times. When I Saw You is the story of people affected by the times around them, in search of something more in their lives. A journey full of adventure, love and the desire to be free. A story of the human spirit that knows no borders. 

Five Broken Cameras (2011)  94 minutes
Thursday,  May 4 
             

 A documentary film co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidii.  It is a first-hand account of protests in Bil’in, a West Bank village affected by the Israel West Bank barrier. The documentary was shot almost entirely by the Palestinian farmer who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. Structured around the destruction of Burnat’s cameras, it follows one family’s evolution over five years of turmoil. The film won a 2012 Sundance Film Festival award and was nominated for a 2013 Academy Award.         

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2013)  100 minutes
Thursday  May 11
       

Tal (Agathe Bonitzer) is the 17-year-old daughter of recent French immigrants to Israel who live in Jerusalem. Following a bomb attack on a local café, she throws a bottle into the sea near Gaza with a message asking for an explanation. Naïm (Mahmoud Shalaby), a sensitive but aimless 20-year-old Palestinian living in Gaza, discovers the bottle and tries to answer Tal’s question by initiating an email correspondence. Their mutual suspicion soon develops into a tender friendship.

An Oasis on the Hill (2013)  10 minutes
Thursday May 18  
       

This inspiring documentary follows Omer and Rami, who grew up in Neve Shalom / Wahat al Salam, an Israeli village where Jews and Arabs have peacefully coexisted for over 40 years. Included with this film will be a “talk back” by young people recently returned from TOLEF’s  2017 trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia.  

For more information about the film series, contact TOLEF Coordinator Mary Tomasetti at mary@tolef.org or 860-391-5384 or call Westbrook Library at (860) 399-6422

Directions to Westbrook Library: I-95 to Exit 65. South on Rte. 153 to center of Westbrook, left onto Boston Post Rd (Rte. 1), then left onto Burdick Dr.  Look for the entrance sign to Daniel R. Wren Park. The library will be on your right. The Community Room is located at the back of the Library. Entrance is next to Literacy Volunteers.          

About Jewish Voice for Peace: Jewish Voice for Peace is a national organization with over 65 chapter across the United States, including a chapter in the Greater New Haven area.  JVP supports the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinians refugees based on principles established in international law; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

About Tree of Life Educational Fund: Tree of Life Educational Fund is a non-profit organization that provides travel experience, conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world. The TOLEF’s latest trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia took place March 8-24, 2017.

Emily Bjornberg to Speak on Financial Durability at Shoreline League of Democratic Women Meeting Tonight

Emily Bjornberg (center) discusses issues with seniors.

Guest Speaker is Emily Bjornberg, Sr. Exec Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut

The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) has announced the second guest speaker in their Women@Risk Series covering pressing issues for women and their families. Emily Bjornberg, Senior Executive Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, will discuss how women can build assets for financial durability. She will also cover Connecticut programs such as CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), CRSA (Connecticut Retirement Security Authority) and ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) trust.

The presentation will be held on Thursday evening, April 20, at 7 p.m., Westbrook Public Library, Community Room on the bottom floor, 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, CT  06498. An SLDW membership meeting will immediately follow the speaker session. This event is free and open to the Public.

The SLDW (http://www.SLDW.org) is a chapter of the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women (CFDW), which is a chapter of the National Federation of Democratic Women. The Shoreline League of Democratic Women continues to seek membership from women who live in Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, Old Lyme, and Lyme. SLDW Meetings are held monthly from September through May.

The SLDW is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in the Valley-Shore area. Women in the local district are encouraged to join the SLDW and participate in the organization’s valuable work in the community. Members can be involved in any capacity, whether it is 30 minutes a month, or 30 minutes a year.

As a part of the SLDW educational charter, members will be notified of important pending state and national legislation. For more information, send email to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147. Visit their web site at http://www.SLDW.org.

The Country School Hosts Secondary School Fair Tonight

Original_LOGO

Area families are invited to join The Country School on Wednesday, April 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for the 15th Annual Secondary School Fair. This is a great opportunity to speak with representatives from a range of high schools, both boarding and day, and learn what their schools have to offer.

Previous participants have included:

Avon Old Farms, Berkshire, Canterbury, Cheshire Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Cushing Academy, Dana Hall, Deerfield Academy, Emma Willard, Ethel Walker, Fairfield Prep, Gunnery, Hamden Hall, Hopkins, Hotchkiss, Kent, Kimball Union, Kingswood Oxford, Lauralton Hall, Loomis Chaffee, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, The Master’s School, Marvelwood, Mercy, Millbrook, Miss Hall’s, Miss Porter’s, Northfield Mt. Hermon, Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, Pomfret, Portsmouth Abbey, Sacred Heart, Salisbury, Stoneleigh Burnham, Suffield Academy, Tabor Academy, Taft, Trinity Pawling, Vermont Academy, Westminster, Westover, The Williams School, Williston Northampton, Xavier and more.

Questions? Contact Deborah Williams: deborah.williams@thecountryschool.org or call 203-421-3113, ext. 137. The Secondary School Fair will take place in the school’s DeFrancis Gymnasium at 341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT.

In addition to the Secondary School Fair, The Country School is offering a series of workshops during the week of April 10. All workshops, ranging from Robotics to Art, are free and open to the public. There will also be an author/illustrator event with John Fixx and Abby Carter, author and illustrator of the new book, The Curious Guide to Things That Aren’t. Learn more and register at www.thecountryschool.org/april.

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond.

Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.