September 18, 2014

Collins of Old Lyme Named a ‘Best Lawyer in America’

Attorney John A. Collins III

Attorney John A. Collins III

John A. Collins, III, of Old Lyme has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 21st Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® 2015. Collins is an attorney specializing in the field of Personal Injury Litigation at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law in New London.  Two of Collins’s fellow attorneys at Suisman Shapiro, Matthew E. Auger and Matthew Shafner, were also named on the Best Lawyers listing.

Auger specializes in the field of Medical Malpractice Law and Shafner in Workers Compensation Law.  Shafner was also named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2014, and is one of a distinguished group of attorneys who have been included in Best Lawyers for twenty years or longer. “Lawyer of the Year” awards are presented annually to a single outstanding lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey.  Over 52,000 leading attorneys cast more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Best Lawyers honors are particularly humbling because recipients are chosen by our peers,” said John Collins, III, Managing Director.  “We are particularly proud of Attorney Matthew Shafner for receiving the coveted ‘Lawyer of the Year’ award.”

Collins has successfully obtained verdicts or public settlements up to $10 million on behalf of injured victims over a 28 year law practice.  He currently serves as the Managing Partner of Suisman Shapiro.  The Connecticut Bar Foundation honored Attorney John A. Collins, III, in 2005 with his selection as a Life Fellow.  “Selection as a Fellow requires demonstrated superior legal ability and devotion to the welfare of the community, state and nation, as well as to the advancement of the legal foundation”.  Source: Connecticut Bar Foundation.

Auger handles serious personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims, automobile collisions, slip and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and product liability.  Mr. Auger is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate with the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He is also a Captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Naval Reserve.

Shafner is a nationally recognized lawyer in the fields of asbestos injury, personal injury, maritime injury and workers compensation. He was admitted to practice in Connecticut, the Federal Courts of Appeals in the 1st and 2nd Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.  His reported decisions have been published by the Appellate Court, Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 1st and 2nd Circuits.  Attorney Shafner is a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum.  He is only the ninth person ever to receive the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association’s lifetime achievement award since the association formed in 1954.

Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law is located at 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591, New London CT 06320. For further information, call (860) 442-4416 or visit


Donations Needed This Week For King’s Rummage Sale to be Held at Old Lyme Church, Sept. 27-28

Christ The King's Rummage Sale is always a great place to look for bargains.

Christ The King’s Rummage Sale is always a great place to look for bargains.

Summer’s over. The kids are back in school. It’s a great time to clean out the house and get it ready for autumn.  But what to do with all the toys, books, dishes, tennis racquets, bicycles, Christmas decorations, furniture, etc., that you don’t need anymore?

Donate them to the King’s Rummage Sale at Christ the King Church’s Harvest Fun Day!  Donations are being accepted now through Sept. 19 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon) at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme (parish hall entrance). All donated items should be in good condition and saleable. No clothes, please.

Call the parish office (860-434-1669) if you need help moving a large item.

Harvest Fun Day takes place at Christ the King Church on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features the King’s Rummage Sale, a basket raffle, a bake sale, kids games and crafts, great food, and an autumn plant sale.

The Rummage Sale, bake sale, and plant sale will continue Sunday morning (Sept. 28) from 9 a.m. to noon (while supplies last).

Visit for directions.

For more information, call 860-434-1669.


Geocaching 101: Land Trusts Offer Field Class On New Outdoor Treasure Hunting Game, Sept. 20

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust and the East Haddam Land Trust have scheduled a field class on Saturday, Sept. 20 for anyone interested in learning how to participate in the outdoor game of geocaching, a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt using GPS-enabled devices.

Geocaching is a relatively new game in which participants hide “treasures” (caches) in various outdoor locations (often in parks, preserves, public forests, etc.) and then leave clues on the Internet on how others can find them using a smart phone or other GPS devices. Participants seeking out the caches navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find a treasure-filled container hidden at that location.

After finding a cache, a participant may take a treasure as long as it’s replaced with another small “treasure”, or as geocachers say, “Take some stuff, leave some stuff.”  (Treasures are usually small items of little value, such as beads, buttons, small items of plastic jewelry, and the like).

The two land trusts will supply the treasures for this event and instruction by active geocachers led by Jim Lockhart, a geocaching enthusiast.

Participants must bring a GPS-enabled device or smart phone.  More information and a free app needed to participate can be found at:

Meet at 10 a.m. in the parking lot for Mount Archer Woods Preserve, Mount Archer Road, Lyme. (On the left one mile from Rt. 156. To locate using GPS coordinates, copy and paste the following log/lat into Bing Maps, Google Maps, or MapQuest search box: 41.409354, -72.353012 ).

This outdoor treasure hunt is anticipated to last approximately two hours.

More information on geocaching can be found at:

Register by sending an email containing your name and the number in your party to: . Put “Geocaching” in the subject line.


Estuary Council of Seniors Hosts Celebratory ‘Forty and Fabulous’ Gala at ‘The Kate,’ Sept. 20

Join the Estuary Council of Seniors (ECSI) to celebrate its 40th Anniversary at a “Forty and Fabulous” Gala on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “The Kate,” at 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook. This fund-raising Gala will benefit the Estuary’s Meals on Wheels program. Last year, the ECSI provided 70,000 hot, nutritious meals to individuals in its nine town district and Madison.

Comedian Vincent McElhone

Comedian Vincent McElhone

This Gala evening will include wine and hors d’oeuvres under the tent, catered by Coffee’s Country Market of Old Lyme and “Comedy Tonight” on the stage featuring Old Saybrook resident Vincent McElhone, who has worked all over the country from Caroline’s in New York to The Tropicana in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Vince will be joined by Tony Liberati, a professional stand-up comic for 15 years, whose jokes have been published alongside greats like Chris Rock and Henny Youngman.

The Fred Astaire Ballroom Dancers of Old Saybrook, Heiko and Vera Leyhausen, will grace the stage where dancing expresses the joy of living.

Music will be by the Von Zells, who will provide music that is enjoyable for listening or dancing and starring three individuals with one unique sound.

Tickets are $50 per person and are available by calling the Estuary at (860) 388-1611.  Attire is ‘Casually Elegant.’


Lyme Library to Close Sept. 20 for Move to New Building

Architect's rendering of new Lyme Public Library building.

Architect’s rendering of new Lyme Public Library building.

The Lyme Public Library will close at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 for the long-planned move into a new library building.  The Library will remain closed through at least Sept. 29. An opening date for the new library has not been determined yet, but is projected to be in early October.

Loan periods for most books and magazines (new books excepted) have been increased to six weeks, and patrons are encouraged to check out piles of reading material to last them through the move and lessen the number of books that have to be moved to the new library.

The Library’s hours during its last week in the current building are Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  The Library is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Call 860-434-2272 for more information.


Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus Presents Concert in Old Lyme This Evening

Drawing by Madeline Favre of Deep River of Cappella Cantorum inspired by a performance in St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook.

Drawing by Madeline Favre of Deep River of Cappella Cantorum.  The work was inspired by a performance of the choral group in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook.

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus will present a concert this evening, Sun., Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on the corner of Ferry Rd. and Lyme St. in Old Lyme. The concert features selections from Irving Berlin and Oklahoma, A Patriotic Salute, Just a Closer Walk, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Barbershop and a variety of solos.

Tickets are $15 at  or 860-526-1038  or at the door.  Children aged 12 and under are free.

Soloists include Tony, Carrano with I Love a Piano, Ed Bosse with Bridge Over Troubled Water, Kevin Swan with I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire, Len Dongweck with It Only takes a Moment, and Bob Johnson with Perhaps Love.


Big Book Club Hosts Mystery, Suspense Author Event at ‘The Kate,’ Sept. 27

John Searles

John Searles

The Big Book Club has announced a new event on Sept. 27, at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (“The Kate”), presented by The Day.  The line-up of mystery and suspense authors includes:

  • John Searles, Editor-at-Large for Cosmopolitan Magazine, Book Critic for the NBC Today Show, and author of Boy Still Missing, Strange But True, and Help For The Haunted; 
  • Tess Gerritsen, internationally bestselling author and creator of the Rizzoli & Isles series on TNT;
  • Alafair Burke, American crime novelist, professor of law, legal commentator, and author of two series of crime novels featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Prosecutor Samantha Kincaid;
  • Lisa Unger

    Lisa Unger

    Lisa Unger, whose novels including Beautiful Lies and In The Blood have sold more than 1.7 million copies and been translated into twenty-six languages;

  • and, Old Lyme’s own David Handler,author of the popular Hoagy & Lulu and Mitch & Desiree mysteries.

The event will be moderated by Hank Phillippi Ryan, investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affliate who has won 32 EMMYs and dozens of other awards for her ground-breaking journalism.  Phillippi-Ryan is also the coveted Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of crime fiction including The Other Woman and The Wrong Girl.

David Handler

David Handler

The event will benefit Reach Out and Read Connecticut, a non-profit organization that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. By using the code READ at registration, $10 from each ticket sale will be donated to Reach Out and Read.

Tickets are $45 each and include a signature martini courtesy of 44 North Vodka and hors d’oeuvre stations by the Bee and Thistle Inn and The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook.  A cash bar will also be open.

Books will be available for sale by Bank Square Books of Mystic, CT.  Other sponsors include Bob’s Discount Furniture, The Copper Beech Inn, Middlesex Hospital, and

The Big Book Club is a creation of LaFrancois Marketing Consultants and Essex Books.

Register at


Old Lyme Land Trust to Host Kayak Regatta on Black Hall River, Sept. 21

A kayak regatta is planned for Sept. 21 in Old Lyme.

A kayak regatta is planned for Sept. 21 in Old Lyme.

Old Lyme Land Trust in conjunction with the Black Hall Outfitters is sponsoring a Kayak Regatta and Tour Sunday,  Sept 21, beginning around 11 a.m. at the Black Hall Marina.

People can come with their own kayak or rent at the Black Hall Marina on Rte. 156.  There will be a tour led by Barry Gorfain ,an experienced and certified kayak instructor, who will explore Griswold Point and the Roger Tory Peterson sanctuary.  People may also explore the protected and beautiful Black Hall River.

The event is appropriate for kayakers of all ages and experience levels.

Refreshments will be provided and a small donation of $10 perkayaker or $25 per family is requested to benefit the land trust.

Advance notice of your participation is appreciated but not required.  Call 860-434-6294 or to respond or if you need more information.

Visit for more information.


Faculty Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy College

'Rest Stop' by Nancy Peel Gladwell is one of the signature paintings of the Studio Faculty Exhibition opening Friday.

‘Rest Stop’ by Nancy Peel Gladwell is one of the signature paintings of the Studio Faculty Exhibition opening Friday.

An exhibition of artwork by studio faculty at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven opens at the College’s Chauncey Stillman Gallery, Friday, Sept. 12.

'The Fall' by Illusration Instructor Jon Sideriadis.

‘The Fall’ by Illusration Instructor Jon Sideriadis.

Thirteen members of the College’s studio faculty are exhibiting in a variety of media in this exhibition.

"Work in Progress" by Chair of Painting Susan Stephenson.

“Work in Progress” by Chair of Painting Susan Stephenson.

The chairs of the Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Departments—respectively Susan Stephenson, Randy Melick and Brian Booth Craig—will all be exhibiting along with their colleagues in those departments.

The Illustration Department, which now comprises three acclaimed professional illustrators, will also have examples of their work on display. Two of the Illustration faculty – Dale Stephanos and John Sideriadis—are new to the College this academic year. Chairs and faculty members from all departments will be present at the opening reception to discuss their works.

Campus Dean Todd Jokl comments, “The faculty exhibition is a wonderful opportunity that highlights the exceptional artist educators who make this institution such an excellent teaching facility. Each member of the faculty is an outstanding and highly respected working artist in her or his own right.  This exhibition will showcase their exceptional talents.”

The Studio Faculty Exhibition 2014 runs from Friday, Sept. 12, through Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery. Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition or the College, call Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Olwen Logan, at 860.434.3571, ext. 135, or visit


Flat Rock Hill Rd. Bridge Rehab Update

For those of you being kept awake at night by the ongoing construction (like a significant number of LymeLine staff!), the State Department of  Transport has advised that the bridge rehabilitation project on Flat Rock Hill Rd over I-95 in Old Lyme is on schedule for completion in May of 2015.

On-going activities include removal of the stage 2 deck and steel girders, rehabbing existing concrete pier and abutments, pile driving and associated work — all of which are apparently extremely noisy activities … especially in the wee hours!


Joining Night for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts is Tonight in Old Lyme

girl-scouts-logoOld Lyme Girl Scouts’ Joining Night will be held Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd.

Scouts welcome girls from grades K-12.  The troop is also in need of adult volunteers to become leaders or assist with troops.

For more information, contact Jenna Duff at

Boy_Scouts_of_AmericaOld Lyme’s Cub Scout Pack 27  will also be hosting their Joining Night the same evening, Sept. 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd.

Cub Scouts is open to all boys in 1st through 5th grade.


Latin Arts Organization Awards Scholarship to Incoming Student at Lyme Academy College

Aubrianna Robinson of Groton -_323x468

2014 LNVA Scholarship Winner Aubrianna Robinson of Groton

Aubrianna Robinson describes herself as unique, creative and happy, qualities that helped her win a scholarship funded by the Latin Network for the Visual Arts (LNVA

Robinson, a Fitch High School graduate who enrolled at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts last month, won a $2,000 scholarship administered by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. The foundation awarded a record 206 scholarships totaling $440,000 this year.

Co-founder of the LNVA Mimi Daumy said as the organization closes its doors after Latin Views 2014, its seventh and last biennial exhibit from Sept. 19 through Oct. 31, the group’s annual scholarship will endure as its legacy. The LNVA also awarded a $1,200 scholarship to Lisa Chavez, a New London High School graduate, who will attend Eastern Connecticut State University.

Robinson plans to pursue illustration at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. The 17-year-old served as editor and contributor to Fitch’s art magazine and designed a T-shirt her classmates wore to honor a Day of Silence supporting the school’s Gay/Straight Alliance.

She pursued drama as an actress in the Groton school’s theater program and in the community to help raise money to alleviate hunger. She also received art and writing awards from the Connecticut Art Education Association.

Robinson credits her mother as her role model, saying, “She’s been there my whole life and she listens to me if I have problems or if I have trouble coming up with an idea for art. She is very, very supportive of everything I do.”

That support helped shape a young woman with well-defined opinions. “Everyone is born with a unique and important purpose,” Robinson wrote in her scholarship application essay. “The gift I was given and my purpose in life is to be an artist.”

'Casino' by Aubrianna Robinson

‘Casino’ by Aubrianna Robinson

The first characters that Robinson drew were Powerpuff Girls, three little cartoon girls with a mission to save the world before bedtime. The animated television series ran from 1998 to 2005, but Robinson added, “I’ve been drawing since forever.”

Her career goals include recognition for her art, inspiring other artists to keep working their imagination, and creating, “A new, different and complete series of cartoon.”

It’s no surprise that her favorite band is a virtual, fictional, electro-pop band of cartoon characters called “Studio Killers” that employs 2-D and 3-D animation, unique fashions and unpredictable voices emanating from characters. “Sweeney Todd” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” rank among her favorite movies.

Robinson, her mother, stepfather and two younger sisters are a Navy family accustomed to frequent moves. She came from Washington State to Groton for her senior year in high school.

In her spirit of believing in a strong community and giving back, she made a video for sailors on deployment and received recognition from the Chief of the Boat in appreciation for boosting morale.

Robinson said she is excited to attend Lyme Academy College, especially since its recent partnership with the University of New Haven that creates expanded opportunities for studies.

She enjoys drawing teeth, as evidenced in her pieces called “Teeth” and “Braces.” In “Teeth,” she challenged herself to experiment with gouache, an opaque watercolor medium, learning to create shades of skin. “Braces” is an observational drawing in which Robinson stood in front of the mirror, holding a finger to pull one side of her mouth and expose the braces on her teeth.

'Beautiful Way' by Aubrianna Robinson

‘Beautiful Way’ by Aubrianna Robinson

“Ruffles” shows her intention of creating movement, while “Beautiful Way,” (shown at right)with its psychedelic images streaming from the character’s heart, takes its title from a Beck song with the line, “Such a beautiful way to break your heart.”

The pieces are just a sampling of Robinson’s creations. Her bedroom walls are covered with her art – colored-pencil drawings, ink-and-marker posters and even her red graduation cap, which fostered an art lesson in using acrylic on unfamiliar fabric. She painted herself as an illustrator with a ruffled white skirt under her graduation gown and lettered the words: “Off to illustrate my future!”

Robinson and Chavez join four previous LNVA scholarship winners. The organization has awarded $7,000 to the six winners since establishing the scholarship in 2011.

The group strives to enrich the Southeastern Connecticut community through visual arts created by Latin American and Latin European artists.

The LNVA culminates its work this fall with Latin Views 2014: The Final Biennial. The exhibition features more than 70 pieces of art, showcasing 43 artists that represent 18 countries. The exhibit’s opening reception is 6 to 8 p.m., Sept. 19, with a meet-the artists’ event from 12 to 1 p.m., Sept. 20. The show runs through Oct. 31 at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at the Branford House Mansion on the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus.


Late Registration for Cappella’s ‘Magnificat,’ ‘Gloria,’ Sept. 15

Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus late registration/rehearsal for Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria is Mon., Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River, 06417.

Registration is $40, Vivaldi’s Gloria $12, Bach’s Magnificat $6.

Rehearsals are Monday nights. Use the rear entrance.

The Gloria, Vivaldi’s best known sacred work, is a joyful hymn of praise and worship.

Cappella is a non-auditioned Chorus.  Tenor and bass soloists will be auditioned from the membership, on Sept. 22, 7 p.m.


Vitality Spa to Expand Premises in Old Lyme, Also New Offerings in Classes, Clothing and More

Lindsay Eisensmith, Founder and Director of Vitality Spa & Wellness,

Lindsay Eisensmith, Founder and Director of Vitality Spa & Wellness,

Lindsay Eisensmith, founder and director of Vitality Spa & Wellness, has announced the spa’s expansion to the space formerly occupied by the Diane Birdsall Gallery on Lyme Street.

She explains, “This exciting move will enable Vitality to continue to grow in both the number of clients that we are able to serve as well as expand our range of Spa and Wellness offerings. Vitality has grown consistently over the past eight years and we are excited to now offer classes such as yoga, spin and meditation as well as an expanded retail space to our clients.”

Vitality recently announced that a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, Suzanne Murphy, had joined the practice, offering gentle, natural chiropractic care and Ideal Protein® Weight Loss Intervention Program. Dawn Swope is also a recent addition to Vitality, specializing in Holistic Health Counseling and Nutrition.

To add to that line up, Vitality has now partnered with personal trainer Donna Scott of IFoundFitness.

Scott’s main studio is in Deep River, but, as a long term resident of Lyme-Old Lyme with three daughters who have grown up through the Region 18 school system, the partnership with Vitality was an obvious move as she looked around to expand her business.

Scott notes, “I was delighted to have been voted No.1 Personal Trainer in the area by The-e-List readers and realized that this was the right time to expand IFoundFitness with classes that fit perfectly with the range of health and wellness services offered by Vitality.”

IFoundFitness will be offering Spin and Yoga, as well as one of the first Barre Classes in the area with instructor Sky Washington. Yoga will be taught by Meredith Dow who is a Kripalu Certified Instructor and Spin Classes will be taught by Scott. Strength classes specific to those undertaking the Ideal Protein® weight-loss intervention will also be offered. For teachers on the Lyme-Old Lyme School’s Campus, it is now a short walk to after-school classes.

In the expanded retail space, Vitality will be offering a boutique clothing line, The Stand Juices, healthy treats for clients on the go, as well as an expanded range of fitness and rehabilitation equipment. They will also be bringing in new lines such as Alicia Winalski’s Jewelry and will be the premier retail location for Solavedi Organic Skincare; 100 percent organic, food-grade, skin care products for the whole family from their Guilford CT Formulary.

Reflecting on the reasons for her expansion, Eisensmith says, “We are sad to see the closure of the Diane Birdsall Gallery. Diane has been a great neighbor and we wish her all the best in her new venture. Diane has always been generous in our use of the gallery space for Vitality events, which is why we knew that this expansion was not only a great move for Vitality, but for the historic neighborhood too. Our new offerings will always be in keeping with our location, but at the same time will give a new reason for visitors to travel down Lyme Street to see what is on offer at the Village Shops”.

A Grand Opening and Wellness Tasting will take place at Vitality on Friday, Oct. 3, between 5.30 and 9 p.m. and all are welcome. For more information, follow Vitality’s Facebook page or visit


LymeLine Makes the News!

We were thrilled to read the article about LymeLine published Sept. 5, in the Street Fight online magazine, which has a national and international readership and is subtitled, “Inside the Business of Hyperlocal.”  Titled, “How LymeLine Succeeds Against a 133-Year-Old Daily,” Tom Grubisich explores LymeLine’s growth from its creation by Jack Turner in December 2003, when it received some 80 visits in its first month of existence, to its current situation when it generates overs 26,000 page views monthly.

Thank you to all our readers for supporting LymeLine along its exciting journey.


‘Dinner and ‘Mrs. Doubtfire” Event This Evening Benefits Childhood Cancer Research

ACT flyerAn organization with a mission to raise funds for pediatric research, Achieve Change Together (ACT), is hosting a “Dinner, a Movie, Popcorn and More” event on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Clark Memorial Field in Old Saybrook.  Grass opens at 6 p.m. and the movie, now announced as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” starts at 7:30 p.m.  The costs is $20 per car, which includes the movie and popcorn.  Guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

Every dollar raised goes directly toward childhood cancer research via The Truth 365’s “Dream Team” of leading oncologists.  These talented doctors represent The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Sloan Kettering, St. Jude’s and Seattle Children’s (visit for details).

The following editorial was submitted by event organizer Kristen Michalski Alexander:

Not so long ago, I learned from a friend about Madison “Maddy” Garrett.

In 2012, Maddy had been diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma.  One of the rarest childhood cancers.  It had spread into limbs, snaked through her spine, and had penetrated into bone marrow; the tumor was wrapped around organs and arteries, through her intestine and into her chest. The tumor in her three-year-old belly was so large that she looked nine months pregnant.

Maddy had a 30 percent chance at survival.

Inspired by her bravery, I researched what I could.  Though average cancer survival rates have grown for the last 40 years, many childhood cancers have survival rates much lower than the average.  The facts are unsettling:

  • Less than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is directed to childhood cancer research (Source: St. Baldrick’s Foundation)
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • In the last 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only two pediatric cancer drugs that were initially studied in children. (Source: American Association for Cancer Research)

During her journey to recovery, Maddy’s 5-year-old friend had been diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.

Another child suffering.  Another family struggling.  I couldn’t sit back anymore.  I had to help win this war!

And so I decided to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer through a special event, “Dinner, A Movie, Popcorn and More.”  The event will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.

I reached out to my high school classmate Lou Rolon, a guiding force for our community through Shoreline Neighbors, for advice.  Lou possesses an inspirational compassion, dedication, and strength. He offered to help however he could.

I then reached out to Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation ( AWOCCF helped produce The Truth 365, an Emmy Award-Winning documentary film and social media campaign that gives a voice to all children fighting cancer.

I asked their co-founder Dena Sherwood if we could work together.  When she graciously agreed, it meant we could host the event with their 501(c)(3) status.

For continuing updates, “Like” the ACT – Achieve Change Together Facebook page and remember to join us on Sept. 6.

For further information, call: 860-339-6310,  via e-mail:

On Facebook:
Website coming soon

To donate: Please make a check payable to Arms Wide Open/The Truth 365 and mail it to P.O. Box 495, Ivoryton, CT 06442.  Or go online at and select “Achieve Change Together Event – CT”.


Zhang’s Artwork Featured in Fresh Ayer Gallery Exhibition

Artwork by Christopher Zhang.

Artwork by Christopher Zhang.

“Artwork by Christopher Zhang” is currently on view at the Fresh Ayer Gallery in Old Lyme.

Born in Shanghai, China, Zhang acquired a BFA degree in China and a MFA in the United States. In addition to creating subject matter paintings, he specializes in portraiture and landscapes. His versatile styles and skills in both still life and Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy have also won popularity.  His primary painting medium is oil.  Others are watercolor, acrylic, gouache and Chinese ink.

As a professional artist, Zhang has focused on two types of subject matter in his paintings:

  • Chinese minorities and their indigenous cultures and traditions:
  • Classical Ballet Dance



An Open Letter to our Readers from Diane Birdsall

An Open Letter to Friends and Patrons of the Diane Birdsall Gallery

I have taken on a job that will take me outside of the gallery in Old Lyme and into another phase of exhibiting.

I will be working with a hotel developer, Charles Mallory — he operates several beautiful and viable hotels in Greenwich, Southport, Stamford, Aspen [Marfa] Texas and a Vermont inn to be completely revamped, as well as a new hotel project on the boards to open in 2016.

I closed the Old Lyme, 16 Lyme Street address gallery at the end of this past show on Aug. 22. The walk-in traffic has always been slow and having a presence outside of the brick and mortar space is more viable.

After SCOPE in Basel and Cutlog in New York, I am now receiving request regarding sales and just recently sold a work to the largest art collector in Turkey.

Funny how art sales work — it sometimes takes years or minutes for people to make a move.

I do conceive a pop-up show here in Connecticut in a completely different sort of space.  You as patrons and clients are important to me and bringing the work of artists out into exhibition is my passion, so I do not want to lose this side of the art world that I truly enjoy.

My website will remain active and I have planned exhibits for 2015 – they will take place in new locations and expanding worlds.

I have always felt honored to work with talented artists and to be a part of their world.  And encouraging others to bring art into their life is like food for me — an absolute necessity — how can you live without it?

I could not have enjoyed the success of these past eight years without your help and belief and I thank you for your patronage and friendship.  See you soon under a different tent, but assuredly an exciting format.

With heartfelt thanks to you.


Diane Birdsall


Lyme-Old Lyme Boy Scouts Attend High Adventure Camp, Conquer New Mexico Mountain Challenge

The Philmont crew comprising Scouts and leaders from Lyme-Old Lyme Troop 26. From left to right standing are Connor Carberry, Mike Miller, Lauren Main, John Mesham, Paul Reid and Norman Main, and seated are Matt Miller, John Miller, Owen Mesham, Ranger Zach, Luke Grabowski, Brendan Wright and Dan Reid.

“Climb every mountain” was the theme for Boy Scouts of America Troop 26 of Lyme/Old Lyme this summer. Troop 26 was selected by lottery to attend a challenging seven-day-adventure at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico this August.

Philmont is the premier high adventure camp for scouts. Founded through the generosity of Oklahoma oilman Waite Phillips over 75 years ago, the ranch covers over 214 square miles and hosted 22,500 scouts this year.

Troop 26 spent 18 months training for this trip to perfect their backpacking and back country survival skills. Because of the rigorous nature of this adventure, Philmont requires scouts to be of high school age. Once selected to attend, the scouts form a crew and elect their own leaders.

The Philmont crew standing in front of the 'Tooth of Time' prior to making the 9,000 ft. ascent.

The Philmont crew standing in front of the ‘Tooth of Time’ prior to starting the 9,000 ft. ascent.

During their stay at Philmont, the scouts run every aspect of their trip including land navigation, meal preparation, water purification and – perhaps, the most important – how to keep their campsite free from critters (such as bears!) by using tree-hung bear bags.

Philmont runs a number of different treks so crews are spread out over the entire ranch. The Troop 26 crew participated in a very challenging trek that included 14-mile-hikes with backpacks weighing over 50 pounds, summiting the iconic Tooth of Time peak at over 9,000 feet and camping on Uracca Mesa at over 7,000 feet.

Mission accomplished!  View from the summit of the "Tooth of Time."

Mission accomplished! View from the summit of the “Tooth of Time.”


The crew also enjoyed horseback riding, challenge events and opportunities to engage with historical role players.

Another activity in which the crew participated while at Philmont was to volunteer on a conservation project that cleared up a section of the forest floor to minimize the damage that could be caused by a wildfire.

If any youth is interested in joining the Troop, meetings are on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Lyme Firehouse.


Old Lyme Land Trust Hosts Popular Swallow Cruise, Sept. 27

The famous, "Swallow Tide," above the Connecticut River, photographed by Atwood Johnson.

The famous, “Swallow Tide,” above the Connecticut River, photographed by Diana Atwood Johnson.

SOLD OUT! Join the Old Lyme Land Trust for an incredible natural spectacle on the Connecticut River.  In the late afternoon during the fall migration, hundreds of thousands of tree swallows gather on the river from 30 miles around and create beautiful sweeping formations in the sky.  Just as the sun sets, they converge into a huge funnel over Goose Island and disappear into the reeds to roost for the night.

Old Lyme Land Trust will host a cruise on the Connecticut River to view the swallows in action on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Tickets are $40 each.  Wine, beer, and soft drinks will be provided.  Guests are welcome to bring a picnic supper.

Contact Ted Mundy (860-434-5674) for more information or to purchase tickets.