February 12, 2016

Presidents’ Day Closings Announced in Lyme, Old Lyme

The Lyme and Old Lyme Town Halls will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents’ Day.

The Lyme landfill and the Old Lyme Transfer Station will be closed on Monday.

The trash/recycling pick-up schedule in Old Lyme will not change on Monday.

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Lyme Library Hosts Talk Tomorrow on Power, Politics of First Ladies (… or Gentlemen?)

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama

Former First Lady and current Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton

Former First Lady and current Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton

The Friends of Lyme Library welcome MaryAnne Borrelli, Professor of Government at Connecticut College, tomorrow, Saturday, Feb.13, at 2 p.m., in the Library Community Room.  She will give a talk titled, When East (Wing) Meets West (Wing):  First Lady Politics and Presidential Power.

In this talk, Professor Borrelli will discuss the politics, policy, and power of the presidents’ wives throughout the modern presidency … and will consider the changes that might occur when the president’s spouse is male rather than female.

Come and enjoy a conversation that is both historical and timely, examining the contributions of the men and women who have won the White House.

MaryAnne Borrelli, a graduate of Wellesley College, Boston College and Harvard University, joined the faculty of Connecticut College in 1992.  She is a Professor of Government at Connecticut College.

Her research focuses on gender and the U.S. presidency, and she has participated in the White House Transition Project, which has mentored both Democratic and Republican White House staff members.   The author/editor of several books and articles, her most recent book is The Politics of the President’s Wife.

Register for this program at the Library.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber Hosts Business Breakfast Today, All Welcome

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.44.39 PMTomorrow morning the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Business Breakfast starting from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall.  The featured speaker will be Bennett J. Bernblum, Chair of the Halls Road Improvement Committee, who will give an update on the scope of the project, and discuss its challenges and successes.

Town and Chamber leaders will be present at the event.  There will also be opportunities for business networking among attendees.

All are welcome at this free event — there is no need to be a Chamber member.  Donuts and coffee will be provided courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts in Old Lyme.

Registration is not required, although if you are planning to attend, an email to email@lolcc.com would be appreciated.

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Courtney, Blumenthal, Murphy Call on FRA to Work With CT Stakeholders on Rail Upgrades

Request follows concerns from local town leaders and constituents that rail upgrades could negatively impact their communities

US Senator Joe Courtney

US Senator Joe Courtney

Last Friday, Feb. 5, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to host listening sessions along the Connecticut shoreline to hear local concerns about how early proposals for rail upgrades may impact their communities.

In a letter to FRA Administrator Feinberg, Courtney, Blumenthal, and Murphy raise specific concerns they have heard from constituents regarding the proposed rail line realignment outlined in Alternative 1 of the NEC FUTURE Plan. This proposed new segment would shift the main rail line northward ahead of the Old Saybrook Station and run through several Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline communities before reconnecting to the existing segment in Kenyon, RI. 

“While we understand that the FRA is still in the project planning stages of NEC FUTURE and many more steps remain ahead in this process, we believe consistent community involvement will serve as the most important tool for finding agreeable alternatives, increasing local buy-in, and instilling a sense of trust among affected residents,” wrote Courtney, Blumenthal, and Murphy. “As the planning process moves forward, we request that the FRA host listening sessions along the Connecticut shoreline where the proposed Alternative 1 new track segment will be constructed in order to hear the views and concerns of the communities in this area.”

The proposals for rail upgrades, including the Alternative 1 realignment, were contained in the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is currently in a public comment period. This initial report will be followed by a Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) which will be completed in 2016. The next stage of the process would be the Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2017 which will make the business case for why projects proposed in the EIS were selected for implementation. 

The full text of the letter is available online and below:

February 5, 2016

Administrator Sarah Feinberg
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

RE: NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Draft EIS

Dear Administrator Feinberg:

As the Federal Railroad Administration continues the NEC FUTURE planning process, we write to underscore the importance of creating and maintaining a sense of open communication with communities who may be affected by new track segments constructed under the proposed Action Alternatives. Furthermore, we believe that it would be prudent for the FRA to consider hosting additional meetings and listening sessions in southeastern Connecticut. 

As representatives for the southeastern shore of Connecticut, we have seen firsthand the major need for improvement along the rail line. In fact, the vast majority of our constituents support upgrading our rail infrastructure to benefit our local economy and boost tourism. Unfortunately, these same constituents believe that the FRA has not done its due diligence in providing proper community outreach in towns that will be the most impacted by new track construction.

Specifically, we write to raise concerns we have heard from our constituents regarding the proposed new segment construction outlined in Alternative 1. As you know, the new segment in Alternative 1 will shift northward east of the Old Saybrook Station and run through several Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline communities before reconnecting to the existing segment in Kenyon, RI. Connecticut’s shoreline boasts a rich, vibrant history and is home to quiet villages and historic port cities. Importantly, according to the assessment of cultural resources and historic properties in the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Connecticut is home to the greatest amount of properties on the National Register of Historic Places that may be affected by new rail construction.

To that end, it is understandable that the NEC FUTURE Draft EIS has raised alarm among many Connecticut residents. Many in the region were surprised to learn about the potential placement of a new rail line in the towns. For example, as currently proposed Alternative 1 would run straight through the center of Old Lyme, impacting the cultural, historical and geographic integrity of the town – which is concerning to town leaders and community stakeholders.  We recognize that FRA held listening sessions and public meetings in several Connecticut cities, and we understand that the proposals in the EIS are just the beginning of any analysis—a more thorough vetting with local stakeholders consistent with federal law would happen before any project moves forward. Still, it appears that little engagement was done in these communities to assess even the preliminary views and concerns of those potentially impacted by the proposed new segment in Alternative 1 prior to inclusion in the report.  

While we understand that the FRA is still in the project planning stages of NEC FUTURE and many more steps remain ahead in this process, we believe consistent community involvement will serve as the most important tool for finding agreeable alternatives, increasing local buy-in, and instilling a sense of trust among affected residents. As the planning process moves forward, we request that the FRA host listening sessions along the Connecticut shoreline where the proposed Alternative 1 new track segment will be constructed in order to hear the views and concerns of the communities in this area.

Thank you for your consideration of our request, and we look forward to your response. 

Sincerely, 

Richard Blumenthal
Christopher S. Murphy
Joe Courtney

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CANCELLED: Buy Your Tickets Today for Thursday’s Vintage Valentine’s Soiree, Benefits LOL Junior Women

Vintage_Valentine02/09 UPDATE:  We have just heard that this event has been cancelled.

Charles Shultz once said “all you need is love … but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”

Lots of chocolate will be among the treats at the Vintage Valentine’s Soiree on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., hosted by the Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club and Deep River Rotary at the beautiful Deep River Town Hall Auditorium/Theater.

Along with chocolate, you can fill your evening with decadent hors d’oeuvres, chilled champagne (and wine and beer), and sweets as you dance the night away to the tunes of the Shiny Lapel Trio. Foods are being prepared by local restaurants, including The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Alforno, Penny Lane Pub and The Ivory.

The ticket cost is $45 per person and supports the many humanitarian projects of the Deep River Rotary and the Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club.

For tickets visit the Deep River Town Hall at 174 Main St. in Deep River, or Shore Discount Liquors next to the Deep River Post Office, or go online to www.vintagevalentines.eventbrite.com.

Questions? Email: deepriverrotary@gmail.com.

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Carney, Linares to Hold Office Hours in Westbrook Tonight

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State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) will hold pre-session office hours in Westbrook at the Westbrook Town Hall on Feb. 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) will join Carney at the Westbrook event.

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd)

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government. Anyone with questions about the event can contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Linares represents the 33rd District comprising Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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CANCELLED: Lyme P & Z Meets Tonight to Discuss Revised Zoning Regulations

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 8.05.10 AM2:00 PM UPDATE: We have just heard that this meeting has been cancelled due the snow.  It will be rescheduled but a date has not yet been determined.

Lyme Planning and Zoning (P & Z) Commission will host a Public Hearing on the revised zoning regulations during their meeting this evening (Monday) at 7:30 p.m. at Lyme Town Hall.

The regulations have been revised as a result of an application by Sunset Hill Vineyard for a special exception permit to offer tastings and sell wine at its Elys Ferry Rd. farm.  When the P & Z Commission first discussed the application back in November last year, more than 175 residents attended the hearing with many of those present speaking out either for or against the proposal.

Those objecting to the proposal contended that it will be allowing a retail business in a part of town that is now solely residential and farming in character while, supporters argued that Lyme has successfully retained its rural identity in part precisely because it has encouraged farming enterprises.

The Commission never rendered a decision on the vineyard’s application because the owners withdrew the application — the P & Z Commission agreed to review its regulations to accommodate applications involving vineyards in the future.

With the release of the new regulations for discussion, the two schools of thought have already let their initial responses be known. Chip Dahlke, owner of Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Rd. has written a Facebook post stating, “The Town of Lyme has rewritten its regulations to allow vineyards to operate within the town.”  He says, “I urge everyone to attend this meeting and support the change of regulations,” adding, “We’re almost there, but the vineyard needs your voice.”

Dahlke continues, “If you can’t attend and even if you can, also please send an email to zoning@townlyme.org to express your support. This is important to keep the town open for agriculture and maintain its character, not simply to be another elitist community along the shoreline.”

He notes, “We need all the open space we can get,” and adds enthusiastically, “Cheers. Here’s to being able to enjoy a glass of local wine!”

Meanwhile, Laura and Kieran G. Mooney, who are neighbors of Sunset Hill Vineyard, sent LymeLine a statement on behalf of the Lyme Rural Protection Group, which reads as follows,

“The Lyme Rural Protection Group supports farming, agriculture and the maintenance of open spaces in Lyme, all of which are clearly endorsed in the Lyme Plans of Conservation and Development. (POCD 1964-2014)

The POCD states that “Lyme has continued to remain quietly “off the beaten path” and, according to respondents to both recent surveys (2001,2014), they intend to “keep it that way.” (POCD Section 1) While the POCD encourages farming, agriculture and the maintenance of open spaces within the town, it also discourages tourism and the development of commercialism, including retail, outside the existing commercially zoned areas in Hamburg and Hadlyme such as those proposed by the change in regulations.

As supporters of the POCD we do not encourage the re-zoning of residential areas to permit commercial and retail enterprises nor do we support tourism. The State of Connecticut clearly views vineyards as tourism and vital to the growing tourist industry supported by the State. Hence the establishment of The Winery Trail. Consequently the group opposes several of the proposed changes and additions to the Town of Lyme Zoning Regulations as they have been currently drafted because we believe that they will fundamentally change the character of the town.

We would encourage the town to maintain those regulations that currently support farming, agriculture and open spaces, and to restrict all commercial and retail activities associated with farm wineries to currently zoned commercial areas in harmony with the opinions expressed by the respondents to the POCD.”

 

 

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Host Superbowl Breakfast Sunday; Features Techno-Ticks Demo, Music, Prizes Galore

pancake_breakfastThe ‘Dollars for Scholars’ Super Bowl Breakfast promises to be a lively and delicious event this year.  Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 7, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, the breakfast hosts the school’s award winning Techno Ticks FIRST Robotics Team 236, who will demonstrate their new robotic creations up close.

BossGuitar, an instrumental trio from Old Saybrook, will play ‘50s & ‘60s surf and spy music and the Good News Clowns will be on hand to bring plenty of smiles to all ages.

Feast on a hearty menu of blueberry pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, tater tots, fresh fruit, coffee and OJ.  Door prizes include restaurant and salon certificates, and other items donated by local businesses.

During the event, the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions will conduct free, quick, non-contact eye screenings for people 2 to 92 years of age, using “Spot,” an instrument resembling a Polaroid camera.  From a distance of three feet, “Spot” checks for six eye diseases, and within seconds it produces a detailed test report.  This state-of-the-art equipment is used in the new Lions’ PediaVision preschool eye screening program.

The Lyme-Old Lyme community is invited to participate in this fun event.  The annual breakfast is the Lions’ primary fundraiser for four $1,500 Lions’ scholarships awarded each year to deserving high school students resident in Lyme or Old Lyme.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for children under 12.  For more information on Lions’ scholarships and the PediaVision program, visit www.lymeoldlymelions.org.

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Snow’s Here: Schools, OL Town Hall, Transfer Station All Closed Whole Day

It's a white world again in Old Lyme today ...

It’s a white world again in Old Lyme today …

Updated 12 p.m.  The Old Lyme Town Hall will now stay closed all day.

Forecasters are currently predicting 6 to 9 inches of snow in Old Lyme today.

Region 18 schools are closed all day, although the offices are open.

We are assuming the Old Lyme Transfer Station is closed.

Old Lyme Town officials ask that residents keep streets as clear as possible to enable safe and efficient plowing.

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Carney, Linares to Hold Office Hours in Westbrook, Feb. 9

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State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) will hold pre-session office hours in Westbrook at the Westbrook Town Hall on Feb. 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) will join Carney at the Westbrook event.

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares (R-20th)

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government. Anyone with questions about the event can contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Linares represents the 33rd District comprising Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Alum Chris Bugbee Captures Video of Only Known Wild Jaguar in US

Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity released new video today of the only known wild jaguar currently in the United States. Captured on remote sensor cameras in the Santa Rita Mountains just outside Tucson, the dramatic footage provides a glimpse of the secretive life of one of nature’s most majestic and charismatic creatures. This is the first ever publicly released video of the jaguar, and it comes at a critical point in this cat’s conservation.

El Jefe video

The camera project is part of ongoing efforts to monitor mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona for endangered jaguar and ocelot. Chris Bugbee, a graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School and now a biologist with Conservation CATalyst, has been collecting data on the Santa Rita jaguar for the past three years (formerly through the University of Arizona).  Bugbee is the son of Old Lyme’s Parks and Recreation Director Don Bugbee and the Rev. Rebecca Crosby, Minister for Haitian Outreach at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

“Studying these elusive cats anywhere is extremely difficult, but following the only known individual in the U.S. is especially challenging,” said Bugbee. “We use our specially trained scat detection dog and spent three years tracking in rugged mountains, collecting data and refining camera sites; these videos represent the peak of our efforts.”

“These glimpses into his behavior offer the keys to unlocking the mysteries of these cryptic cats” said Aletris Neils, executive director of Conservation CATalyst. “We are able to determine he is an adult male jaguar, currently in prime condition. Every new piece of information is important for conserving northern jaguars and we look forward to building upon on these data so that we can collectively make better decisions on how to manage these fascinating and endangered cats.”

“Jaguars have always occurred in Arizona and yet we know so little about them in the northern portion of their range. Arizona should be poised to harbor and protect both jaguars and ocelots as they continue to disperse out from Sonora,” said Bugbee, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz.

Bugbee was featured in an article about the video of the jaguar by William Yardley titled, “He roams alone: El Jefe may be the last wild jaguar in the U.S.” and published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

“Just knowing that this amazing cat is right out there, just 25 miles from downtown Tucson, is a big thrill,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center. “El Jefe has been living more or less in our backyard for more than three years now. It’s our job to make sure that his home is protected and he can get what he needs to survive.”

El Jefe, as he has come to be known in Tucson, has been photographed repeatedly by remote sensor cameras in the Santa Ritas over the past few years. He is the only verified jaguar in the United States since Macho B was euthanized as a result of capture-related injuries in March 2009. “Jaguars are solitary cats that only tolerate each other for reproduction,” said Neils.

But a huge conflict is brewing that threatens to destroy El Jefe’s home. A Canadian mining company is pushing to develop a massive open-pit copper mine right in the middle of the big cat’s territory. The mile-wide open pit and 800-foot-high piles of toxic mine waste would permanently destroy thousands of acres of occupied, federally protected jaguar habitat where this jaguar lives.

“Clearly, the Santa Rita Mountains are a vital part of this cat’s home range,” said Bugbee. “This jaguar has been photographed in every month of the year in these mountains — there are more than 100 detections of him in the Santa Ritas since 2013 — how could anyone argue the importance of these mountains?”

“The Rosemont Mine would destroy El Jefe’s home and severely hamstring recovery of jaguars in the United States,” said Serraglio. “At ground zero for the mine is the intersection of three major wildlife corridors that are essential for jaguars moving back into the U.S. to reclaim lost territory. The Santa Rita Mountains are critically important to jaguar recovery in this country, and they must be protected.”

In October the rare cat was named “El Jefe,” which means “the boss” in Spanish, after a vote by Tucson school kids and others. The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity has been working for decades to save jaguars in the United States, with the hope that El Jefe will soon be joined by more jaguars that wander up from Mexico. In 2014 the Center secured more than 750,000 acres of federally protected critical habitat for U.S. jaguar recovery.

Jaguars — the third-largest cats in the world after tigers and lions — once lived throughout the American Southwest, with historical reports on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the mountains of Southern California and as far east as Louisiana. Jaguars disappeared from their U.S. range over the past 150 years, primarily due to habitat loss and historic government predator control programs intended to protect the livestock industry. The last verified female jaguar in the country was shot by a hunter in 1963 in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim.

This research builds upon a three-year project (2012- 2015) from the University of Arizona surveying jaguars and ocelots throughout southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Editor’s Notes: i) The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

ii) Conservation CATalyst is a Tucson-based nonprofit organization specializing in conducting scientific research on cats that are in conflict with people.

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Lyme Ambulance Association Offers Free CPR Class, Saturday

Lyme Ambulance Association (LAA) is offering a free ‘Hands-Only CPR’ class for Lyme residents on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The class will take place at Hamburg Fire Station on Rte. 156 in Lyme.

Pre-registration is required.

For further information or to register, call (860) 434-5667.

Although the class is free, donations are always appreciated since the LAA is a non-profit, self-supporting organization.

Editor’s Note: our apologies for incorrectly stating initially that this course was being run by the Lyme Fire Company.

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Old Lyme Selectmen Express Strong Opposition to Proposed Rail Project

Updated 02/01, 17:37 — We are trying to keep up to date with all the commentary occurring regarding the NEC high-speed railtrack proposals.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder submitted the following letter dated Jan. 13, 2016 to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Draft Plans:

“To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Bonnie Reemsnyder, First Selectwoman of the Town of Old Lyme. I have come here today to express my concern with and opposition to the Alternative 1 of the draft EIS for the NEC plan to improve rail service.

First and foremost, this plan would decimate the heart of our community. The path of the railroad would completely change according to this plan, cutting through the heart of our community. We are a small town with very little “central community” area, and what we do have is extremely important to our history, economy, character and sense of community. This plan would impact our only commercial area, which houses our grocery store, pharmacy and many small businesses. Our village center, which is directly off of the commercial area, houses the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, as well as the famous Florence Griswold Museum and the Lyme Art Association. All are sites of historic significance and the individual organizations have worked diligently to continue with their legacy and maintain the physical structures. It is beyond comprehension that these buildings would be considered of little importance as this project moves forward.

But the plan also impacts many properties along the way, as it is an entirely new track, cutting through several neighborhoods, not to mention wetlands, open space and areas of archaeological significance. Our community maintains our character through strict zoning regulations, considerate planning, and support of our historic treasures, including the museums, colleges, library and various art organizations.

I am equally concerned that the Federal Rail Administration did not contact the First Selectman’s office personally to solicit feedback and comment. Hearing about plans that have a major impact on our community through the grapevine is unacceptable.

I am vehemently opposed to Alternative 1 of this plan and urge you to look at other, more reasonable solutions for reducing time travel between major cities. Thank you for your time.”

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal submitted the following letter also dated Jan. 13, 2016 to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Draft Plans:

“To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Mary Jo Nosal, Selectwoman from Old Lyme, CT. It is with great concern, anxiety and in total opposition to the Tier 1 draft EIS for NEC, Alternative 1 that I comment.

It appears that this Alternative focuses on meeting some of the regional goals of the NEC by addressing the chokeholds along the southern part of the existing route. However, by adding new track through the heart of our town our local needs are not addressed and therefore the objectives of the Tier are not met.

Specifically, the proposed section of new track from Old Saybrook to East Lyme, CT will adversely affect our entire community, will cut-off the established tourism lifeline of our region and will not provide a meaningful improvement in efficient rail service.

No data was provided in the EIE to demonstrate that our local commercial, residential and environmental concerns were considered.

A new track through Old Lyme provides no local economic benefit or advantage to local commuters or residents, while the extreme destruction it will cause to an environmentally sensitive area is irreversible.

As proposed, Alternative 1 will be strongly opposed by the community.”

Old Lyme Selectman Arthur 'Skip' Sibley

Old Lyme Selectman Arthur ‘Skip’ Sibley

Old Lyme Selectman Arthur “Skip” Sibley submitted the following letter dated Feb. 1, 2016 to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Draft Plans:

“To whom it may concern,

My name is Skip Sibley and I’m writing to you both as a citizen and an Old Lyme Selectman. I echo the comments already submitted by my two fellow BOS colleagues: Ms. Bonnie Reemsnyder & Ms. Mary Jo Nosal. I strongly object to the proposal as outlined in “Alternative 1”, in which the current train tracks would be relocated through the center of Old Lyme.

Additionally I find it incredible that a $30 million study using taxpayer dollars was already conducted producing a 1000 page report without any correspondence to the impacted towns. It was only a “tip” given by an outsider that Old Lyme even became aware of this initiative by the NEC corridor agency. I’m glad that an extension was given for folks to post their comments.

The rail path for Alternate option # 1 cuts through the heart of our historic district, potentially causing a devastating impact to residents, businesses, museums and schools. And I can’t imagine the damaging impact it would have on our environmentally sensitive areas.

Before moving forward in your plan and spending more dollars, I strongly encourage that a public hearing be scheduled so that other concerned citizens could voice their opinions as well. Please keep me informed on my request.”

 

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Federal Rail Administration Provides Info, Links on Their Proposals; Requests Feedback

Here is a message from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding their proposals for improving the rail line from Washington, DC to Boston, Mass.  This text has also been published on the Town of Old Lyme’s website.

“The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is extending the close of the public comment period for the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) until February 15, 2016.

NEC FUTURE is the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) comprehensive plan for improvements to the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail line from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts. As part of this effort, the FRA released the Tier 1 Draft EIS for public comment on November 13, 2015 and held public hearings throughout the Northeast region.

The public comment period was originally scheduled to close on January 30, 2016.  The FRA has decided to extend the close of the comment period until February 15, 2016 to allow for additional time. Comments can be provided online at www.necfuture.com, by email to comment@necfuture.com or by mail.

The Tier 1 Draft EIS is available for download at www.necfuture.com. All materials presented at the public hearings are also available online.

We look forward to your feedback and continued involvement.”

 

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Musical Masterworks Hosts Beethoven Bonanza Over Two Weekend Concerts

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

Musical Masterworks continues its celebration of a quarter century of magnificent chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m.

In a bold break from their traditional programming of repeat concerts, Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park will play two different programs in the Saturday and Sunday concerts, traversing the entire cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s works for piano and cello over the two days, providing a fascinating window into the arc of Beethoven’s compositional career.

The two different programs will include three sets of variations and five sonatas as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m.

Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Opus 5, No. 1
Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Opus 102, No. 1
12 Variations in F Major on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’, Opus 66
Sonata No. 3 in A Major, Opus 69

Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.

12 Variations in G Major on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’, WoO 45
Sonata No. 2 in g minor, Opus 5, No. 2
Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46
Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Opus 102, No. 2

For those who plan to attend both programs, Musical Masterworks is offering a 50 percent discount on tickets to the additional concert.

Musical Masterworks has partnered with the Old Lyme Inn with a special promotion for February concert-goers.  With a February Musical Masterworks ticket or stub, Old Lyme Inn will offer a 10 percent discount on dinner on Saturday, Feb. 13, (between 7 and 9 p.m.) and a 10 percent discount on brunch on Sunday, Feb. 14, (between 10 and 3 p.m.)

For more information or to order tickets, call the office at 860.434.2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

'Cipollini Onions and Company' by Randie Kahrl is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘Cipollini Onions and Company’ by Randie Kahrl is one of the signature paintings of the ‘Annual Associate Artist Exhibition.’

The opening reception for the 24th Annual Associate Artist Exhibition and Wonders of Winter will be held this Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Lyme Art Association (LAA) at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

Both exhibitions are on view from Jan. 22 through Feb. 26.  The 24th Annual Associate Artist Exhibition is on view in the Association’s front galleries and features landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture by Associate Artist members while Wonders of Winter showcases winter scenes by members of all levels and is on display in the Goodman Gallery.

'Beaverbrook Farm in Winter' by Joan Wallace is found in the 'Wonders of Winter' exhibition.

‘Beaverbrook Farm in Winter’ by Joan Wallace is found in the ‘Wonders of Winter’ exhibition.

“The Annual Associate Artist Exhibition highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” notes Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager. She adds, “The Wonders of Winter exhibition in the Goodman Gallery celebrates the beauty of the winter landscape, its colors, textures, and dramatic lighting.”

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is housed in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within the Old Lyme Historic District.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Carney, Formica Oppose NE Corridor Future Rail Study Affecting Old Lyme

Area Legislators are requesting the proposal be removed or a public hearing be held

Sen. Paul Formica (left) stands with State Rep. Devin Carney.

Sen. Paul Formica (left) stands with State Rep. Devin Carney.

State Rep. Devin Carney and State Sen. Paul Formica are calling for action in response to a number of constituent concerns regarding the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future Tier 1 Draft EIS “Alternative 1” that includes a study to improve rail service and travel time between major cities at the expense of the Old Lyme community.

NEC Future maintains that “Alternative 1” would increase service to keep pace with growth in population and employment. This is accomplished by expanding capacity, adding tracks, and relieving key chokepoints. However, this new track would dramatically change the path of the railroad, moving the tracks inland, cutting right through the heart of Old Lyme.

Carney stated that “this will negatively affect homeowners, the Old Lyme Historic District (including many shops, historic art galleries, the Florence Griswold Museum, and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts), businesses, and the character within this quiet, beautiful community. Not to mention, the environmental impacts including additional pollution and the demolition of wetlands, open space and our natural resources.”

“This proposal would have negative social and environmental impacts on Old Lyme, and these consequences have not been properly taken into consideration,” Formica said.  “There are severely worrisome eminent domain implications regarding this proposal that would destroy Old Lyme’s infrastructure, community, and overall way of life.”

Carney and Formica said that along with their constituents, they too were not given any official notice about this study by the federal government.  The legislators said they found out via word-of-mouth, which is unacceptable. Furthermore, both legislators feel that before this process moves any further, this proposal must be removed from any current and future studies. In the event that this proposal is not removed, they have requested that there be a public hearing in Old Lyme before the comment period for this project ends on February 15; they have yet to receive a reply.

“The people of Old Lyme and the region deserve to have their voices heard on a proposal that would drastically alter their lives,” added Carney.

Residents that have concerns or would like to testify are urged to do so by February 15th, which is the comment period deadline. Residents can comment online at http://www.necfuture.com/get_involved/, via e-mail comment@necfuture.com, or by mail U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration, One Bowling Green, Suite 429, New York, NY 10004.

Carney and Formica also believe people should contact Congressman Joe Courtney, Senator Chris Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal urging them to take action. Courtney’s Norwich office number is (860) 886-0139, Murphy’s Hartford office number is (860) 549-8463, and Blumenthal’s Hartford office number is (860) 258-6940.

NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched NEC FUTURE in February 2012 to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands. Through the NEC FUTURE program, the FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC, and provide a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2016 in support of that vision.

For more information, visit http://www.necfuture.com/alternatives/alternatives_comparison.aspx

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Dredging Update From Old Lyme Harbor Management Commission

Dredging in progress on the Four Mile River upstream of the railroad bridge.

Dredging in progress on the Four Mile River upstream of the railroad bridge.

Steven A. Ross, Old Lyme’s Harbor Management Commission (HMC) Chairman and Ned Farman, HMC Vice-Chairman, sent us the following update regarding the dredging on the Four Mile and Black Hall Rivers:

The Town of Old Lyme’s waterway dredging project shifted in late January from the Four Mile River to the Black Hall River.

The dredge company, Patriot Marine of Boston, plans to employ two dredge units at a time on the Black Hall in order to make up for work days lost due to high winds and waves.

Due to the low-lying Amtrak rail bridge, the Four Mile project was unusually challenging and labor-intensive. The general contractor for the dredge operations, working on behalf of the Town of Old Lyme and its Harbor Management Commission, is Coastline Consulting of Branford.

Permitted by Connecticut DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) and the federal Army Corps of Engineers, the dredge projects are designed for environmental protection– improved water flow prevents stagnation and collapse of the salt marshes– and safer navigation at all tidal levels.

It is expected that users from all over the state — boaters, kayakers, those that fish and crab and bird — and the three marina owners will benefit from these infrastructure improvements.

With 100 percent grant financing from the Connecticut Deptartment of Transportation, the dredging of the two rivers is taking place at no cost to the Town of Old Lyme.

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Sunday Deadline for Entries to Land Trusts’ Amateur Photo Contest

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

This photo by Hank Golet was a winning entry in the 2013 Land Trust Photo Contest.

Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest. Everyone is welcome to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs. Submissions are being accepted until Jan. 31.

A panel of three judges will award prizes in five categories for photographs that best capture the beauty of the scenic countryside, wildlife, plants, and cultural and historic features in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme and Salem. Children are encouraged to enter in the Youth category for ages 14 and below.

Entry Forms are available only by email at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org. A copy of the Contest Rules with details about submission will be included in the reply.

For more information and details for submission go to lymelandtrust.org. http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/

Cash awards are being funded with the generous support of our sponsors: RiverQuest/CT River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Lorensen Auto Group, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Essex Savings Bank, The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, ChelseaGroton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust are sponsoring the event. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos are viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/.

All of the photographs entered will be displayed and celebrated at the Photo Contest Reception on March 11, at the Lymes’ Senior Center. The winning photographs will be announced at that time.

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It’s That Time Again! The Insane Insidewalk Sale Continues in Saybrook Saturday

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There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

The-e-list.com presents the Seventh Annual Insane Insidewalk Sale Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, at 105 Elm St., in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, just a few doors down from the Stop & Shop grocery store.  The Sale will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.  Admission is $5, which covers entry for both days and the first 25 people to enter the Sale on Friday will have their admission fee waived.

This Sale enables people to shop the best stores and designers on the shoreline in one location at up to 75 percent off — it’s a pop-up specialty mall, featuring over 20 of the best local boutiques and designers offering deals on women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor, and kid’s clothing for two days only.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Exhibitors include Ann Lightfoot Jewelry, Just Hatched, Mix Design Store, Grace, Ciao Bella, Ella Where She Shops, Lulu’s, Southern Exposure, J. McLaughlin and many more.  For a full list of participating vendors, visit http://theeli.st/1MOsmSy

The Insane Insidewalk Sale was conceived in 2008 to help local retailers who were stuck with excess inventory after the financial crash and a dismal holiday season. The-e-list rented a vacant storefront and invited 20 boutiques to sell their wares at deep discounts. It was a huge success for both vendors and attendees and now it’s become a well-established tradition that Shoreline shoppers eagerly anticipate.

Last January, more than 1,500 enthusiastic shoppers turned out for the Insane Insidewalk Sale. Bargains were snatched up from the likes of Southern Exposure, Silkworm, Stonewear and many more. Erica Tannen, creator and publisher of The-e-List commented, “It was a delight to meet and gab with e-list readers face-to-face,” adding, “I snagged a few steals myself: perfect wineglasses at Mix, de rigeur stretchy fleece leggings from Grace, and a hilarious but too-cozy-for-words hat/scarf/mitten combo (with ears) from Ciao Bella!”

Tannen continued, “It [the 2015 Sale] was the best one yet, and I’ll chalk it up to the enthusiastic crowds and happy vibe. It was a joyful place: vendors were thrilled to clean out their excess stock, shoppers were excited to score extreme bargains.” She noted, “The real fun was in the communal dressing room. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes stripped down to their skivvies and swapped clothes, opinions and advice. Unlike most solitary dressing room experiences (Oh, no! Whose thighs are those?), if you needed a boost to your self esteem, you got it there.”

She concluded, “[The 2015 Sale] left me nostalgic for the days when we shopped en masse versus all alone with a computer screen. Online shopping is handy but will never deliver instant gratification and community like the Insane Insidewalk Sale [does].”

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