October 28, 2020

The Country School Hosts Virtual Open House Tonight, Register for Link

Fifth grade lessons at The Country School continue outdoors with teachers Kerri Kelly and Dan Kollmer. The school hosts a Virtual Open House, Oct. 26.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Register to meet engaged students and dynamic teachers. Learn about the school’s rigorous academic program;  Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s $15,000 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns rigorous academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Learn more and register for the Oct. 26 Virtual Open House at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Norm Needleman (D): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT State Senate, 33rd District

State Senator Norm Needleman

Biography

State Senator Norm Needleman, seeking his second term in Hartford, is chair of the Energy & Technology Committee. Owner and CEO of Centerbrook’s Tower Laboratories and First Selectman of Essex, now in his fifth term in that role.

Senator Needleman is serious about putting partisan politics aside and finding solutions that benefit all of Connecticut, from finding new solutions in energy generation to supporting legislation to clean our lakes and rivers. He is currently working on the ‘Take Back Our Grid Act,’ energy-focused legislation that would require utilities to be monitored and judged based on performance, assisting ratepayers.

1.  What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Here are the three challenges I believe require the immediate and intense focus of legislators.

  • Manage the COVID-19 pandemic so that individuals, businesses, and schools can return to normal life as soon as possible. Use science, data, and proven medical technology to develop fact-based policies that minimize the spread of the virus. At the same time, make certain that individuals and businesses can access the help they need to confront the difficulties the virus imposes on families and employers. The challenge is to maintain a credible voice in developing policies for managing COVID-19, and  have worked tirelessly to help individuals and businesses in their time of need.
  • Advocate to protect our basic rights. The core values of our democracy are at stake in this election. The collapse of both reason and the rule of law at the federal level…in the White House, in congress, and in the judiciary…has profound implications right here where we live. Our state government is the firewall protecting  basic rights like healthcare, a women’s right to choose, and the right to vote. The advocate we send to Hartford must confront challenges to these basic rights, and make certain that the state government remains a pillar of fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for every individual in the state.

Confront the tough decisions that keep the state on the path to fiscal stability. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 virus, the state has made progress in managing the budget. Without raising  the income tax or sales tax, we have accrued the largest rainy day fund in the state’s history. That fund was a vital resource in managing the COVID-19 crisis. We need to continue to manage the state’s budget process, including making difficult decisions about funding, in order to provide the long term financial stability that is essential for job creation, a healthy business environment, and a robust economy.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

The three issues I have cited impact the life of every individual in every one of our towns. But protecting the health and safety of our citizens comes first. COVID-19 is a threat to every element of our society. If we don’t actively protect or citizens,  every aspect of daily life – jobs, schools, recreation, social activity, family life, health, culture –– is affected.  Managing the spread of the virus until medical science gives us vaccines and treatments is vital to our families, our businesses, and our state government.

There are three areas where I can contribute to managing  and controlling the COVID-19 virus.  First, I can continue to actively contribute to developing fact-based policies to confront the virus.  I can help the state senate and the administration maintain a sharp focus on science and data in managing the virus. Common sense, data-driven decisions have kept our state among the best at controlling the first wave of the virus. I will continue to advocate policy development based on science and data.

Second, I can help develop processes and procedures that accelerate the safe reopening of schools and businesses. Making common sense decisions about how and when to reopen schools and businesses is vitally important to returning society to full function as soon as possible. My background in business and town management have been helpful in shaping the policies we used to safely reopen businesses in our state. Undoubtedly, we will need to continually refine what we do and how we do it. I can and will continue to work with the administration in developing forward-looking processes and procedures.

Third, I will work tirelessly to help my constituents access the help they need when confronted with the virus. I have helped secure unemployment benefits for hundreds of constituents, and have helped many businesses identify and secure the support they need to survive the  challenges of the pandemic. Over the course of the months since the onset of the pandemic, I have been sustained by my belief that my job is to help people.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Here is a list of characteristics that collectively comprise the reason I believe I am the best qualified candidate to represent the people of the 33rd District in the State Senate.

  • I have over 20 years of public service experience. In that time, I have learned how important it is to base decisions on facts and common sense. 
  • I approach policy making with the perspective that comes from the real world experience of having managed the finances and delivery of services in a town. 
  • I believe that an inclusive, bipartisan dialogue is the key to solving problems.  
  • I’m not a politician, and I have no political ambitions. I’m in the state senate to help people, not to build a platform for higher office.
  • I believe in our state and in the towns in our district.  We are blessed with a great place to live, and  it is my responsibility to do everything I can to make it better for our generation, and for our children. 
  • I have been fortunate in my life, but my proudest achievement is helping people through their hard times, and helping them reach and sustain a better life.
  • I am motivated by the belief that I am in the state senate to help make certain that our state government remains a pillar of fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for every individual.
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Brendan Saunders (R): Candidate for CT State Senate, 33rd District

Brendan Saunders

Biography

Brendan Saunders lives in Clinton today, but got into politics young. While growing up in Westbrook, he distributed lawn signs for Ed Munster’s Congressional Campaign and volunteered on the committee to elect Town Clerk, Tanya Lane. He helped former State Senator Art Linares and former State Representative Jesse MacLachlan.

He received his MA from Capital Seminary in Maryland. As ordained minister,  he founded Lighthouse Community Church, Westbrook, and stepped down to create the Fusion Podcast for young adults. He is  a self-described Reagan Republican and tireless advocate for freedom, fairness and opportunity for district’s residents and businesses. 

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

  1. High Cost of Living

High taxes, fees, regulations, electricity costs have made it expensive to live and operate a business in this state.  

  1. Business Climate

The pandemic made the situation worse. Prior, CT business climate was poor. Large companies left and small businesses suffered under the high cost of doing business here. 

  1. Policing

Since passing the Police Accountability Bill (6004), recruitment is undermined and the relationship between the state and police officers is tenuous.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question 1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process.

The issue of the Ct’s high cost of living must be met head on. Raising taxes must stop.  Adding additional taxes must be curtailed.  Fees must be rolled back.  At the same time, Hartford must trim spending.

Basic economics teaches that we cannot tax our way to prosperity.  The current migration of people out of New York City and into Connecticut is an example of this.  On the other hand, lowering the cost of living creates an inviting environment for business and individuals.

If elected I will work to roll back taxes and fees that have hurt small businesses like the Pass-Through Entity tax and excessive LLC filing fees.  I will work to restore the R&D tax credit and expand the state’s apprenticeship tax credit program.  I will not vote for tax increases or adding the sales tax to additional items or services.  I will work to find areas of government to cut with a goal of streamlining and creating efficiency in our agencies and departments. 

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?. 

Honesty and compassion.  I  served in ministry and am known as a man of my word.  I seek to unify, and not divide.  I have not used negative attacks against my opponent or deceptive tactics to erroneously describe his views.

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David Rubino (D): Candidate for CT House of Representatives, 23rd District

David Rubino

Biography

I am a lawyer who has worked nationally and internationally for most of my career in support of people in need. I have operated at the highest levels of government globally, working with legislatures, parliaments and presidential administrations throughout the world.

Currently I sit on the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission. I am a small business owner with my own law firm on Halls Road in Old Lyme.  My wife Alecia is an English teacher at Daniel Hand High School in Madison.  We have two daughters, Bea (9) and Frida (5) in the Region 18 public school system.

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

The primary concern heading into the next session has to be responding to COVID.  This is a moving target. We have no idea where we are going to be in October, never mind January. And there are a lot of issues to cover. I am a parent, the husband of a teacher and a small business owner.  So I have a lot of skin in the game.  I would say that we need to be vigilant about a surge in cases and be sure to appropriately protect our frontline medical workers, teachers and students.  This means ensuring that we have ample PPE and that resources are directed to hospitals and medical providers.  With regard to schools, I think that we need to be smart and follow the science.

Secondly, and relatedly we’ll need to look to sustain and grow Connecticut’s economy.  We are likely to be facing a lengthy recession due to COVID and it is imperative that we take the appropriate actions to protect and grow our small businesses.  This means ensuring that there is support in place for businesses that may be suffering as a result of the virus and likewise ensuring that workers who either lose jobs or have reduced hours can make ends meet. It also means investing in our economy to stimulate job growth.

Finally, I think in the wake of all this, we cannot forget about climate change. Though there is a lot going on in the world, the country, the state and the district, climate change remains an existential threat. We need to set aside political differences and embrace clean energy policies to protect the environment, while creating crucial opportunities for job growth and economic stability.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question 1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

I think the economic response to COVID is tantamount.  People social-distance, they wear masks, they wash hands.  In general we are better situated to combat the “physical” side of the virus than we were six or eight months ago.  Moreover, if a vaccine is available in the coming months, the public health concerns will be able to be reduced even further.  But that is simply not the case with the economic effects.

The economy has been hit and it has been hit hard.  So we need to do all we can to address the repercussions.  For me the first step will be to look at Governor Lamont’s executive orders and determine which ones we need to codify.  To date we have been reactive to the virus. It’s time to get proactive.  We need to help those who are struggling and for that we need revenue.  Therefore, I would look at increasing our sources of revenue and widening our tax base. With regard to the former, I would advocate for pursuing the legalization, regulation, and taxation, of marijuana in our state.  We are currently losing revenue to neighboring states, and getting ahead of the inevitable national legalization of marijuana will allow us to quickly take advantage of upwards of $100 million/year in tax revenue.

Finally, I would look to take advantage of the “new normal.” One upside of the virus is that we have seen that remote work is now an acceptable part of our cultural fabric. Industry is less location-dependent and an office in New York or Boston is no longer a prerequisite to success. Suddenly our state, and our district, has a business allure that it arguably never had before. I envision an economic future that involves attracting small business and entrepreneurs via incubators and co-working spaces, and will propose that the state invest in a solid marketing campaign to leverage all that we have to offer.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

I have spent the better part of my career fighting for the rule of law, for human rights and for Democracy. I know what good governance looks like, because my job for over a decade was to promote it.  But I think perhaps my greatest strength – especially for the moment we are currently in – is my track record of responding to adversity.

I have lived and worked in many developing countries and the crux of my work focused on human rights, women’s rights, anti-corruption, human trafficking, elections, and legislative reform. I have decades of practical, real world experience overcoming difficult and often unprecedented challenges.  I have helped to draft legislation for various countries on issues of national and international import.  I have specifically designed programs geared toward creating environments for small businesses to grow and thrive.  Fighting the kind of fight we are in has been my life’s work.

Significantly, all of my international work was bipartisan in nature – supported by funding from the Bush administration, then the Obama administration, and finally by the Trump administration.  Some American values know no party affiliation.  I hope to adapt this apolitical approach to problem-solving to my work in Hartford.  We have a lot of work to do to bring this country back together and it starts right here in our own backyard.

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Martha Marx (D): Candidate for CT State Senate, 20th District

Martha Marx

Biography

Martha Marx has been a resident of New London and a registered nurse for 30 years. She has the experience, energy, and dedication to be an effective leader and representative for our communities in Hartford. Martha’s responsiveness, wisdom, and empathy make her the best choice to be our next State Senator.

A former New London City Council member, Martha led the Public Works, Finance, and School Buildings/Maintenance Committees. Martha listened to a wide range of constituents before making decisions that improved public health, affordable housing and home health care in the area.

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Fighting COVID-19 by following science, not politics

There is only one way to battle this virus: follow scientific expertise. When the nation puts politics above science, we only prolong the suffering that we are all sharing. As your voice in Hartford, I will not compromise our health policies by putting the needs of special interests and skeptics above scientific truth.

Improving everyone’s access to quality healthcare

Healthcare should be affordable and accessible to everyone. Whether it is a yearly checkup, a new prescription, or an emergency surgery, every person should be able to cover the bill without demolishing their hard-earned savings. I support removing barriers and obstacles to make quality healthcare accessible to everyone.

Establishing a living wage 

Our communities have depended on the heroic work of essential workers during this pandemic. Many Americans put their lives on the line everyday putting food on grocery shelves, disinfecting classrooms, and providing countless other services that keep our towns running. It is our responsibility to make sure that all workers are paid the wages that they deserve- now and in the future. No one should have to work two or three jobs just to make rent. As your state senator, I will fight to make sure all workers are paid a living wage.

2.  From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

Providing access to high-quality healthcare for seniors and low-income parents 

As someone who has worked in healthcare my entire life, I know that you can’t predict when a loved one is going to fall ill. In these times it is painfully obvious that medical care is a necessity- not a luxury. When you are sitting in a hospital bed, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether you can afford to be healthy. We must protect our most vulnerable neighbors and guarantee seniors and low-income parents access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.

We can start with passing a public option for health insurance. There has been a researched complete bill sitting on Comptroller Lembo’s desk for years and has not been implemented due to insurance industry lobbyists lining the pockets of Republican party leadership.

A public option would be less expensive and provide better care for all patients. The Working Families Party will be leading the charge on this policy and I will join them in that fight.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

“Martha loves her community. She has proven through her career as a nurse and city councilor that she is a champion for the middle class and working people. She is very strong, has a huge heart, and she doesn’t back down. She is ready to face the obstacles that will come up in Hartford and that’s the kind of person we need there,” – State Representative Joe de la Cruz.

Martha Marx has the experience, energy, and dedication to be an effective leader and representative for our communities in Hartford. Martha’s responsiveness, wisdom, and empathy make her the best choice to be our next State Senator.

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Paul Formica (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT State Senate, 20th District

State Senator Paul Formica

Biography

Paul Formica has served as state senator since 2015. He is the proud father of four grown children and has been owner and operator of Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant for 35 years. Paul is a co-founder of the Tourism Caucus and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee and Energy & Technology Committee.

He has been an advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, foster care youth, mental health and substance abuse treatment, women’s health care, and energy ratepayers. Prior to serving in the legislature, he was the First Selectman of East Lyme from 2007-2015, and long serving municipal official.

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Above all, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic is the most pressing issue.  We need to manage the second wave of the virus by protecting residents while working to safely get people back to work and address the social crises that have emerged during this difficult time. While Connecticut’s response has led the nation in many regards, there is much that can be done better and more work ahead.

Recovery must span every facet of our livelihoods. Policies must preserve public health, including the health of our most vulnerable residents like seniors and those in nursing homes who have suffered greatly in our state. Additionally, we must work to restore jobs, open businesses and help CT’s economy get back on its feet.

Secondly, we must make Connecticut more affordable for all people. Current leadership is forcing tomorrow’s taxpayers to mitigate the damage of record deficits and unfunded liabilities. The shortcomings of the current state of our finances have been identified time and again, and the pandemic has made it especially imperative to mitigate the problems without tax increases on working- and middle-class families. Connecticut families are stretched to their limit between job losses and the ever-rising cost of necessities like electricity and health care. We need to make health care more accessible and affordable, and we must reduce burdens that put even more strain on family budgets. These matters require bipartisan communication and collaboration to render lasting solutions.

Connecticut must also prioritize creating opportunities for all people to succeed and stay in this state. Ahead of 2020, Connecticut faced an exodus between the “brain drain” and older residents fleeing for warmer temperatures and lower taxes. The state must make a significant investment in workforce development and education. High school students must be keenly aware of the many opportunities to gain career training without the singular track of needing a college education. We must support fair education funding to help our children and teachers as they try to fulfill the needs of all students, with the additional wrinkle of remote learning.

2.  From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

Our top priority must be to successfully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic

I want to first extend a sincere thank you to all healthcare workers and first responders who have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic. Governor Lamont managed the virus well on the statewide scale, however our nursing home and assisted living populations make up a disproportionate share of the infections and fatalities. The struggles faced by nursing home workers, residents and their loved ones are a clear example of why the state needs to adopt a comprehensive plan to prevent and prepare for future outbreaks, ensure safe family visits can occur to stop the severe damage of social isolation, and look at ways to improve testing, facility infrastructure, PPE supplies and protocols. I hear directly from constituents affected by this issue and lawmakers like myself who have a boots-on-the-ground perspective need to work together to identify what the state has done well and what we need to do better to help the most vulnerable and prevent the virus from taking more lives.

Connecticut workers and businesses have also suffered a tremendous blow. I commend those employers who have stepped up to the challenge and are making incredible changes to the way they do business to maintain their staff’s and customers’ safety – from physical changes to their facilities to embarking on web-based delivery of goods and services. We need to continue to support small businesses by reducing burdens they face and hearing their concerns. As the areas of the state start to see a rise in cases, including in the 20th district, I also appreciate the way the administration is communicating with higher-infected towns and allowing local communities to make certain decisions on a town by town basis.

Finally, the legislature needs to be ready to address the social crises that have emerged including increased substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and education issues. I have worked to address these difficult issues with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the past and now more than ever we have to continue that work together.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Common sense, collaboration and a focus on the issues – not the politics – impacting the citizens of Connecticut are essential to move the state forward.

I always strive to put people above politics and have a track record of working in a bipartisan manner to get results for the people I am honored to represent.

For example, as chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2017 and 2018 I worked to bring lawmakers together to pass two consecutive, bipartisan no-tax-increase budgets. Those budgets protected our most vulnerable, eliminated the tax on social security making it easier for seniors to remain in CT, ensured core functions of government, and implemented historic fiscal policies including spending and bonding caps that have led to a historic level of funds in the state’s rainy day fund today. 

I’ve also worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase renewable, efficient energy sources, while securing jobs at Millstone, maintaining our base load supply, and implementing ratepayer protections.

I’ve been named a “Children’s Champion” by the CT Early Childhood Alliance and have been proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase access to prenatal care, by making pregnancy a qualifying life event, so that expectant mothers can obtain health insurance.

I listen to every constituent who comes to me and work hard to give people a voice who are not being heard.

Finally, as a small business owner I understand the struggles of Connecticut’s job creators and workers. I know the importance of balancing a budget so that the people who rely on you can support their families and be successful in life. State government should operate in this same way. Decisions should never be based on politics. They should be based on the people who rely on you, and in state government that’s every single resident in Connecticut.

With your support, I will continue to help change how we do business in Hartford.

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Devin Carney (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT House of Representatives, 23rd District

State Rep. Devin Carney

Biography

I have served as State Representative since 2015. I currently serve on the Transportation, Finance, Revenue and Bonding, and Planning and Development Committees and various bipartisan caucuses. In the community I serve on the boards of The Kate and Old Saybrook Senior Housing, am a member of the Old Saybrook Rotary Club and the Old Saybrook and Lyme-Old Lyme Chambers of Commerce and am an alternate on the Old Lyme ZBA.

I’m a lifelong resident of the district and live in Old Lyme with my significant other Lisa. I work for Coldwell Banker and John A. Bysko Associates.


1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

  1. COVID-19 and the recovery from it. COVID-19 has changed our lives and maneuvering through the pandemic and its effects will be a major priority next year. 
  2. Economy and Jobs. Even prior to COVID-19, our job recovery was lagging behind the nation and our economic outlook wasn’t stellar. The legislature must do a better job attracting employers to Connecticut by reducing taxes and burdensome regulations – and also training a viable workforce to fill in-demand jobs like in manufacturing or clean energy. If the jobs are here, the people will come and participate in our state and local economy. The plan from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth needs to be revisited as it had a lot of good ideas to improve our economy and improve job growth. The legislature must take a break from passing new mandates on our municipalities and businesses and really work to reduce costs – whether it be property taxes, energy costs, or costs borne by excessive regulations and too much government oversight. Government should be a partner to private sector growth, not a hindrance. We also must do what we can make it less expensive to retire here, which I have consistently worked towards.
  3. State Budget. We have had budgetary challenges for years, but I was proud to support a bipartisan budget in 2017 that created a lower spending cap, a lower bonding cap, and a new volatility cap that has allowed our rainy-day fund to grow to over $3B. However, the government continues to spend beyond its means and continues to land us in debt, which has been exacerbated due to the pandemic. Currently, we are facing a $1.3B deficit for the current fiscal year and, potentially, $2B deficits for each of the follow two. The legislature must do what it can to get the state’s fiscal house in order, which also includes tackling our long-term debt as a result of unfunded pension liabilities. As a member of the Finance Committee, I will be able to participate in budget discussions and advocate for more fiscally responsible changes.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

The most pressing issue facing the state is the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery from it. COVID-19 has affected so many aspects of our daily lives – from our economy, to our workforce, to education, to healthcare. 

The state will need to do what it can to ensure our economy is stable. This will require partnering with the federal government to provide ongoing small business relief, tourism/entertainment relief, unemployment assistance, and support for our local communities. It will also require the legislature to find where savings can be made. Like many private businesses have had to do, the state needs to do a full inventory of its operations to see how agencies can reduce their budgets. This doesn’t mean laying employees off, but rather where services can be streamlined, outdated jobs can be eliminated through attrition, or costs can be saved by people working remotely – at least in the short term.

Some private sector jobs will never return, so it is vital that the state has plans in place to provide job training or partner with job creators in order to get people back to work. At the same time, the pandemic showcased cracks in the Department of Labor and the legislature will need to address missteps taken.

In terms of healthcare, the state must ensure that we have the proper protocols in place to protect our seniors and most vulnerable. I proposed convening a working group of stakeholders to create ‘best practices’ guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living facilities in order to better protect residents and employees. Recently, we passed extending and expanding telehealth capabilities – further expansion may be necessary. Once a vaccine is available, the state must have plan in place for delivery.

In terms of public education, we will need to assess cracks in the system and who was left behind. Getting students back up to speed will be critical to ensure our kids have the tools they need to succeed.  In terms of higher education, some difficult decisions may need to be made in order to keep our institutions afloat.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Bipartisanship. Throughout my six years as State Representative, I have always reached across the aisle and worked in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues. I’ve formed bipartisan caucuses such as the Young Legislators’ Caucus and the Clean Energy Caucus in order to move our state forward in a way that works to benefit the most people. I’ve been endorsed by the Independent Party and the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters because of my ability to be an independent-minded legislator and one who puts people over politics. I am someone who always works towards consensus.

Experience. I’ve served as State Representative since 2015 and have gained a lot of experience on various committees and within the Capitol. I understand how the legislative process works in Connecticut and have made strong connections within agencies that affect the constituents of the 23rd the most such as DOT, DOL, and DMV. Serving through COVID has created a unique perspective and one that will allow me to best represent my constituents next year as we deal with next steps.

Commitment to Community. My commitment to the four towns within the legislative district is unwavering. Two of my biggest successes as a legislator have been stopping the federal rail bypass and stopping state forced school regionalization. We deserve a legislator who will stick up for the people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook against power grabs from the federal or state government. As a volunteer with countless organizations, I am extremely dedicated to service and working to improve the communities I represent. 

Knowledge of the District. As someone who was born here, was educated here, lived in three of the four towns, works here, and volunteers here, I feel I have a unique understanding of this area. My knowledge of the district and its people has helped guide my decision-making. Because of my extensive time here, I’ve created strong relationships with so many people within the four towns, with major employers and non-profits, and with municipal and state leaders.

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COVID Cases Increase in Both Lyme, Old Lyme; OL Adds Three, Total Now 32 Cases; Total in Lyme Now 10

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — On Friday afternoon, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) reported three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Old Lyme and one in Lyme in their COVID-19 summary for the week ending Oct. 16.

These latest cases in Old Lyme are a 61-year-old male, a 35-year-old male, and a 38-year-old female.

The case in Lyme is a male for whom no age is available.

This takes the total number of cases in Old Lyme to 32 including two fatalities. The number of surviving cases in Old Lyme now comprises 15 males and 15 females ranging in age from 19- to 82-years-old. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

The total number of cases in Lyme now rises to 10 and comprises four females and six males ranging in age from one- to 68-years-old. There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

This afternoon’s report, which covers all the towns in the LLHD and includes Lyme and Old Lyme, is prefaced with these words, “As you will see, new cases continue to rise. Although there is no singular reason for this increase, our contact tracers continue to report that they have observed many instances of family and social gathering connections. Cases associated with institutions (schools, long-term care facilities, etc.) remain relatively low.”

Ledge Light Health District states their data may conflict with the data DPH reports on their website, as there is often a delay in posting data at the state level. The data LLHD reports is current as of noon on the Friday on which it is issued.

Gender and age details of the confirmed cases in Lyme to date are:

  1. Male, age 34
  2. Female, age 61
  3. Female, age 34
  4. Male, age 1
  5. Male, age 34
  6. Male, age 20
  7. Male, aged 68
  8. Female, age 21
  9. Female, age 62
  10. Male, age unknown

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823
Sept. 224
Sept. 426
Sept. 1527
Oct. 128
Oct. 829
Oct. 1630
Oct. 1631
Oct. 1632

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 45
  11. Female, age 20
  12. Female, age 43
  13. Female, age 48
  14. Male, age 70
  15. Male, age 67
  16. Female, age 68
  17. Male, age 50
  18. Male, age 21
  19. Female, age 48
  20. Female, age 34
  21. Male, age 20
  22. Male, age 28
  23. Male, age 74
  24. Male, age 61
  25. Female, age 19
  26. Male, age 31
  27. Female, age 25
  28. Male, age 61
  29. Male, age 35
  30. Female, age 38

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case (#2 in the list immediately above) was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that LLHD must report her as an Old Lyme resident.

Residents and businesses are urged to access up-to-date information regarding the pandemic from reputable sources including the Ledge Light Health District website (www.llhd.org), Facebook (@LedgeLightHD), Twitter (@LedgeLightHD), and Instagram (@LedgeLightHD).

Editor’s Note: Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) serves as the local health department in southeast Connecticut for the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme as well as East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington,  Stonington and Waterford. As a health district, formed under Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-241, LLHD is a special unit of government, allowing member municipalities to provide comprehensive public health services to residents in a more efficient manner by consolidating the services within one organization.

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Welcome to Lyme and Old Lyme! A Brief Overview of ‘Our Towns’ and Why We Cover Them

The sunsets over Long Island Sound from Griswold Point in Old Lyme are often stunning.

Welcome to the Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme!

These beautiful, rural towns in southeast Connecticut are located midway between New York City and Boston, but too far away for a daily commute. With a combined total population of around 10,000, they comprise a safe and friendly community, which is the focus of our coverage here at LymeLine.com.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School hosts an Open House for prospective Students, March 15

Old Lyme is the larger by population of our two towns, and home to four of the five award-winning Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. The fifth school is in the Town of Lyme to the north, which is much larger by area and features rolling hills and woodlands.

A view looking south down the Connecticut River with Watch Rock Preserve to the left. Photo by Edie Twining.

Both Lyme and Old Lyme are bordered by the Connecticut River to their west while Old Lyme, which is situated at the eastern side of the mouth of the Connecticut River, meets Long Island Sound to its south. 

The nationally-acclaimed Florence Griswold Museum is found at the northern end of Lyme Street.

Old Lyme is nick-named “The Home of American Impressionism” and art emanates at every corner. The nationally acclaimed Florence Griswold Museum is here, as is the Lyme Art Association — the oldest art association in the US —  and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. There are also art galleries and studios, and sculpture grounds, historic homes galore, as well as the most photographed church in New England!

The Chocolate Shell is a chocolate-lover’s paradise.

There are village shops to explore, which sell all kinds of treasures from fine jewelry to collectibles to hand-made chocolates. There is so much to enjoy with restaurants and inns, boardwalks and beaches, and rivers and parks.  

White Sand Beach is a popular destination for sun-seekers.

It may seem like Lyme and Old Lyme are two sleepy, idyllic towns but rest assured there’s always something happening here … and we’ve been covering it all at LymeLine.com for the past 17 years and plan on continuing to do so for many more years to come!

Visit this link to view a video titled, Welcome to Lyme and Old Lyme!

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Legal News You Can Use: Understanding the Importance of Title Searches

Many people fail to acknowledge the many steps required to purchase a home. Real estate transactions involve far more than touring a property, making an offer and closing on it.

For one, you will likely want a mortgage pre-approval before submitting an offer. Once you’ve signed a real estate contract for the home you’re buying, you will need to have it inspected to ensure it’s free from major defects. Furthermore, you must perform a title search on the property to make sure no barriers to your transaction exist.

What do title searches uncover?

To purchase a home, you must ensure it has a clean title. A title search will determine whether claims or issues exist that make it unsaleable.

While you can perform this search on your own, an attorney or a title company usually completes it. These professionals will know what to look for when evaluating the property’s title and going through public records. Their research may uncover problems that could prevent you from taking ownership of the property.

These problems include:

  • Competing claims of ownership
  • Mistakes in public records
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Outstanding liens
  • Encroachments

Why do title searches require insurance?

Before beginning your title search, you will want to secure title insurance on your property. Your mortgage lender will likely require you to purchase it since it protects them from any financial loss that title issues could cause. Keep in mind that standard title insurance will not protect you if your property’s title has defects. You have the option, though, to purchase owner’s title insurance, which will offer protection.

Title searches are a complex, confusing and necessary part of homebuying. Just because the process can be challenging should not dissuade homebuyers from completing their due diligence before they close.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

I admit that I am easily drawn to the words of Malcolm Gladwell, having already absorbed his The Tipping Point (2002), Blink (2007), and Outliers (2011).  I was not disappointed!.

This is yet another intriguing and challenging mental exercise about the way in which our brains tend to mislead us,

Consider meeting someone new and engaging in conversation: afterwards, we think we have understood each other, but have we really?

Gladwell cites many past meetings that have resulted in gross misunderstanding: Cortes and Montezuma; Hitler and Chamberlain; Sandra Bland and the Italian police; Bernie Madoff and investors;, Sandusky and the Penn State authorities.

He suggests the fallacy lies in “… the assumption that we all follow in our own effort to make sense of strangers. We believe that the information gathered from a personal interaction is uniquely valuable.”

It is our instinctive desire to believe what a stranger tells us: our latent bias to trust what we hear. But the emotional responses to others can be and often are misleading.  Gladwell says, “We tend to judge people’s honesty based on their demeanor.” Hesitancy, looking away, stammering, all lead us to doubt, but even those traits are misleading.

We are inevitably a species, “a society (that) does not know how to talk to strangers.” When we look differently, act differently, dress differently, we create instinctive wariness, alarm and natural aversion. When the stranger looks, acts, dresses and sounds like us, our natural sympathies are aroused.

Gladwell’s conclusion? Misunderstandings are entirely natural. “We will never know the whole truth,” so “… what is required of us is constraint and humility.”

So take heed … listen; pause, and think!

Editor’s Note: ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell is published by LittleBrown, New York 2020.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008).

A 20-year resident of Lyme, Conn., he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction, a subject which explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there.

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

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LYSB COVID-19 Resource Card for Lyme-Old Lyme Residents

Resource_card_8.20.20

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Republican Presidential Primary Preference Ballot

Republican Primary Ballot

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Sustainable Old Lyme’s Walk Audit for Old Lyme Village

Old Lyme Walk Audit Village McC edits.2

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Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

  • The 2020-21 school calendar has been changed so that all six teacher development days are at the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1.
  • Face coverings will be required by all persons in all school buildings. There will only be exceptions for verified medical reasons.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented by various means throughout all five schools. Neviaser noted they are now using the term ‘physical’ rather than ‘social’ since it is felt that students benefit from social engagement.
  • Cohorting will be introduced for students, in Neviaser’s words, “as best we can … to limit the number of interactions students have with larger groups.”

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

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Legal News You Can Use: Work, Disability and SSD in the Age of COVID-19

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash.

From New London to Los Angeles and beyond, the world has shut down to contain and fight the COVID-19 virus. The global lockdown has upended life for billions who now find themselves isolated in their homes.

While the isolation of self-quarantine and the anxiety of worrying about the illness that could lead to death is an alien experience for most people, it is for many disabled people a way of life that is not entirely new. Many who are unable to work because of injury or illness are excluded from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

recent article pointed out that even when those with disabilities can continue working, the odds of continuing their careers are long. After all, “people of working age with disabilities have an employment rate that is 28.6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities” the author stated, adding that only 4 percent of companies offer positions inclusive of disability.

It is almost impossible to find anything positive about the pandemic. Still, Americans have largely shown their best in dealing with the virus, going out of their way to protect not only themselves but to protect friends, family members, colleagues, customers and strangers.

Businesses have responded quickly to the virus, implementing home-work systems and customer-protection measures to keep us all safer.

The swift business adaptations have hopefully shown many CEOs and managers that companies can make simple accommodations that would successfully include valuable, productive workers who happen to have disabilities.

Of course, for those whose disabilities make them unable to continue working, no accommodations or adaptations will change their situations. They must instead turn to a social safety net, such as Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Obtaining those benefits is a complicated process, however, requiring the disabled to complete and submit extensive and detailed applications and then gain approval from the Social Security Administration.

In many cases, applications are rejected. Appeals include revised applications and a hearing before an administrative law judge.

An attorney experienced in SSD appeals can guide you through the complex legal process and obtain for you needed medical records and physician statements, prepare you for the hearing and represent you before the administrative law judge.

This post is sponsored by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.

Editor’s Notes: i) During this challenging time, Suisman Shapiro is providing essential legal services via electronic communications that keep staff in touch with clients while, at the same time, keeping both groups safe.

ii) Attorneys at Suisman Shapiro can discuss Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits with you and answer your questions on the subject. Visit their website or call 800-499-0145 — lines are open 24 hours a day.

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Did You Mean to Finish There?

We’re not sure if you meant to leave our donation page.  If you didn’t and wish to complete your donation, then please return to our Donation page.

If you did, then thank you for considering a donation to support local, independent online journalism and we hope you continue to read LymeLine.com and perhaps reconsider whether to contribute in the future.

Thank you,

Olwen Logan,
Publisher.

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Thank You!

Thank you for your donation. We appreciate your support of independent, online local news and hope you will continue to read LymeLine.com every day.  If you haven’t already signed up to receive our e-newsletter, then please consider doing so at this link.

Thank you again for your support.

Olwen Logan,
Publisher.

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Support Old Lyme Library’s Renewal Campaign by Buying “Pizza for Phoebe” Today, 10am-8:30pm

OLD LYME — If you buy some delicious food from Teddy’s Pizza tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 18, between 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and you’ll be supporting the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library’s Renewal Campaign.

Teddy’s is generously donating a portion of the day’s proceeds directly to the campaign.

Teddy’s Old Lyme Pizza Palace is located at 264 Shore Rd. in Old Lyme.  Their phone number for more information or to place orders is 860-434-1517

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Volunteers From Old Lyme Open Space Commission, CT Hiking Alliance Join Forces to Remove Fencing on McCulloch Farm

A veritable army of volunteers from both the Old Lyme Open Space Commission and the Connecticut Hiking Alliance worked together on Nov. 9 to take down and dispose of the old fences on the McCulloch Farm property , which was recently acquired by the Town. Photos by and published with permission of the CT Hiking Alliance.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme purchased 300 acres of the McCulloch farm in September, and the Old Lyme Open Space Commission has been working since to prepare the property for public access.  Coincidentally, the Connecticut Hiking Alliance (CHA) was at the same time looking for worthwhile volunteer projects.

It was a perfect match for both organizations and thus the McCulloch Farm horse-fence removal project became the CHA’s Act of Kindness #76. 

The CHA is an active group with three trademarks – day’s activities end with an “Après-hike” social period; they graciously provide “Acts of Kindness,” whether that be muscle power/manual labor, cash donations, in-kind donations, and goods donations; and they love photo memories, taking lots of pictures and posting them on their website. Volunteers from the group take on trail work around the state.

Hard at work, volunteers take stock of the day’s job ahead of them.

Amanda Blair, Open Space Commission Co-Chair, and Bill Ruel, of CHA, put Saturday, Nov. 9, on the organization calendars.  Ruel and about two dozen volunteers from all across Connecticut showed up early that morning at The Bowerbird in Old Lyme to meet with Open Space Commission members, and everyone car-pooled to the McCulloch property (where construction of parking areas hasn’t yet started.)

The day’s job was to dismantle and dispose of old McCulloch Farm horse-fencing. According to a McCulloch family member, rubber strips strung between cedar posts were cut from old factory conveyor belts and installed some 40 years ago to keep prize-winning Morgan horses in the fields.

According to Blair, “Taking down the fencing was a big step as the property transitions from a farm to a beautiful hiking property.  McCulloch open space and the Old Lyme Land Trust’s neighboring Lay Preserve will be an expansive 450-acre ‘Green Corridor’ with great hiking trails to connect one property to the other.”

The fencing pictured above, which was removed by the volunteers, is believed to have been cut from old factory conveyor belts some 40 years ago.

“We’re so, so grateful for the help from the Connecticut Hikers Alliance to do some of the needed grunt work.  It’s been all volunteers from both groups working together for a good cause.”

In a preview of the future, after the fencing take-down, Hiking Alliance volunteers trekked from the McCulloch property through the Lay Preserve to Lord’s Meadow Lane, and back.  Keeping it an all-Old Lyme event, the volunteers enjoyed their “après-hike” social period at the Hideaway Restaurant and Pub.

Photos of the day’s activity can be found @https://www.meetup.com/The-Connecticut-Hiking-Alliance-great-hikes-and-more/photos/30513732/486511049/

For more information about the Connecticut Hiking Alliance, visit this link.

For more information on the Old Lyme Open Space Commission, visit this link.

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