May 23, 2015

Old Lyme’s Memorial Day Parade Takes Place Monday

The parade heads down McCurdy towards the cemetery.

Last year’s parade heads down McCurdy towards the cemetery.

Old Lyme’s Annual Memorial Day observance will be held on Monday, May 25, with Bill Appleby, Commander of American Legion Post 41 as Master of Ceremonies.Ceremonies.

A grand parade will start promptly at 11 a.m. at the Lyme Street Fire Station and proceed via Lyme Street and McCurdy Road to the Duck River Cemetery for a memorial service.

Invocation and Benediction will be offered by Chaplain Mervin F. Roberts, Chaplain of Old Lyme Fire Department.

Following the program, the parade will re-form and return to the fire station where refreshments will be available to all parade participants.

The winners of an essay contest on “What Memorial Day Means to Me” will read their essays as part of the cemetery program.  The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Band, New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums and a Rifle Squad from the Connecticut Army National Guard will also participate in the ceremony.

Returning for this year’s celebration are the Lyme and Old Lyme Fire Departments, a contingent from the Connecticut National Guard and music provided by the Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Middle School Bands along with Deep River Senior Drum Corps and the New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums.  A number of marching units representing local civic groups from Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook will also participate.

Parade participants are asked to report to the fire station not later than 10:30 a.m. for assignment to positions in the line of march which will form on the access road behind the fire station.

For youngsters who wish to march but do not have a group with whom to march, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau invites them to join their contingent with a decorated bike, scooter, stroller … whatever!  If the mode of transport mentions LYSB, you will win a prize!

The Memorial Day observance is sponsored by the Old Lyme Fire Department with financial support from the Town of Old Lyme.  In the event of rain, the parade will be canceled and an appropriate ceremony will be conducted at the Middle School Auditorium at 11 a.m. followed by refreshments at the Lyme Street Fire Station.

For more information contact:

Anthony Hendriks, Parade Organizer
71 Lyme Street, P.O. Box 965
Old Lyme, CT 06371
Tel (H) 860-434-9891, (O) 860-434-5201, (FAX) 860-434-8989, (C) 860-391-2947


Tony Vallombroso
69 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, CT 06371


Old Lyme Historical Society Holds First Annual Memorial Day Tag Sale

The Old Lyme Historical Society is hosting its first annual Memorial Day Tag Sale on Monday, May 25, at 55 Lyme St. in Old Lyme from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Rain date is Saturday, May 30.

Support the mission of the Society to collect, preserve and interpret the rich history of Old Lyme and its environs by picking up some “treasures” at the Memorial Day Tag Sale.


World Renowned Singers Pittsinger, Schumann to Star in Ivoryton’s ‘South Pacific’

David Pittsinger

David Pittsinger

Ivoryton Playhouse has announced that world renowned American bass-baritone David Pittsinger* will be revisiting the role of Emile deBecque – the role he played in the Lincoln Center production to great critical acclaim – in the July production of South Pacific at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Peter Marks of the Washington Post wrote of his performance’ “That quadruple bassoon of a voice interpreting the Richard Rodgers melodies – among the most melting ever composed for the theater – is all the seduction that you or Nellie need. Somehow, the effortlessness of Pittsinger’s technique helps in the illusion that the great romance at the core of “South Pacific” truly is operatic in scope.

Mr. Pittsinger is a stage performer of the greatest distinction. Having appeared on the world’s leading opera and concert stages in Vienna, Salzburg, Brussels, Paris, Tanglewood, Pesaro, New York, Santa Fe, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and San Francisco, he is equally at home in baroque through contemporary operas, as well as musical theater.

Patricia Schumann

Patricia Schumann


He will be joined by his wife, internationally celebrated soprano Patricia Schuman*, who will also be making her Ivoryton Playhouse debut, as Bloody Mary. A performer of great breadth, Ms. Schuman began her career with the great Mozart repertoire, performing Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) and Contessa Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Metropolitan Opera and has performed at most of the great opera houses throughout Europe and the United States.

David and Patricia made their home in Essex almost 20 years ago, and even though their work in the opera world has them travelling all over the world, they both feel a special connection to Connecticut shoreline. David, who grew up in Clinton and attended the University of Connecticut and Yale, is thrilled to be giving back to his community and the Playhouse is honored to welcome both of them to the historic Ivoryton stage.

South Pacific opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on July 1 and runs through July 26. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Additional matinee performances are at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, Saturday, July 18, and Saturday, July 25. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. There is no performance on Saturday, July 4.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.


‘A Year in Connecticut’ Photo Exhibit on View at Old Lyme Library

The signature photograph of the, "A Year in Connecticut" exhibition by Steve Nadler, which opens Sunday afternoon.

The signature photograph for the, “A Year in Connecticut” exhibition by Steve Nadler, which opens Sunday afternoon.

A new exhibition and sale of landscape photographs by Steve Nadler is on view at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

The exhibition titled, “A Year in Connecticut,” is Nadler’s photo essay on the natural beauty that exists in southeastern Connecticut.

Nadler explains, “My year is not 12 consecutive months but rather the four seasons that represent one full year.  As you walk through the exhibit area, my hope is that you experience the feeling of the changing seasons in all their glory.”

He continues, “My intent is for you to understand that it is not what you see in these images but more importantly, how you feel when you see them.”

Nadler will speak more about his work in a short gallery talk at 2:30 p.m.

The show runs through June 30, and the library will benefit from a portion of the sales of the photographs.

For more information, visit the library’s website or call 860-434-1684.  The library is located at 2 Library Ln. in Old Lyme, CT 06371.


Audubon Society’s CT River Lecture Series Starts This Afternoon

The Connecticut River Estuary Lecture Series hosted by the Connecticut Audubon Society begins this afternoon with a presentation on conservation education at Essex Meadows starting at 4 p.m.

Michelle Eckman, director of education at Connecticut Audubon Society, will discuss her efforts to advance science-based inquiry through Science in Nature, Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning environmental education program. She will be joined by a science teacher from Essex Elementary School, which is participating in Science in Nature, as well as Dr. Paul Spitzer, nationally known Osprey researcher, who will discuss the Osprey’s return from near-extinction.

Admission to the lecture is free but RSVP’s are required. To RSVP, contact Allison Bryant at the Connecticut Audubon Society at or 203 259-0416 x106.  A reception follows each lecture.

The second lecture focuses on the ecology of the estuary (May 24) presented by Dr. Wayne (Rocky) Geyer, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Dr. Gail Kineke, associate professor at Boston College and a Woods Hole scientist.

The final lecture will look at the role of the estuary in painting and writing (June 4) and be presented by Jeffrey Cooley, founder and owner of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme.

Each lecture starts at 4 p.m. at Essex Meadows.

For more information on the lecture series, visit

These lectures are one of the initial projects  of a new regional board formed by the Connecticut Audubon Society to focus on the lower Connecticut River valley and southeastern Connecticut.

The new board will work in conjunction with Connecticut Audubon Society staff and state Board of Directors to provide direction and support to the organization’s conservation and education work in Old Lyme, Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook, and other communities in southeastern Connecticut.

The board’s other seminal projects include the introduction of Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program at Essex Elementary School and an effort to expand Osprey Nation, Connecticut Audubon’s citizen science Osprey monitoring program.

For decades Connecticut Audubon Society has maintained nature sanctuaries in Montville, Haddam, East Haddam, Stonington and Middletown. In addition to being a key component of the region’s native habitat, the sanctuaries serve as portals of opportunity into nature for children and families in the region.

The chair of the new Regional Board is Herman Blanke of Old Lyme. Other members are Patsy McCook (secretary) of Old Lyme; Emily Bjornberg of Lyme; Elsie Childs of Old Lyme; Jim Denham of Essex; Margarita Emerson of Niantic; Eleanor Robinson of Old Lyme; Dr. Ted Vanitallie of Old Lyme; and Claudia Weicker of Old Lyme.

Herman Blanke and Jim Denham are also members of Connecticut Audubon Society’s Board of Directors.

In addition, Old Lyme resident John Forbis and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder have provided essential support to this effort.

“Having had the fortune to live in Essex for 15 years, I have always appreciated the values of the Connecticut River; its incredible aesthetic beauty, its ecological contributions, and its great historical legacy to the people of this nation., said Alexander Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society.

He continued, “In keeping with the great tradition of conservationists of the area, we are looking to work with its citizens and school children in order to highlight and protect the area’s birds, unique biodiversity and habitats, and leverage such interactions for greater awareness of conservation issues across the state.”

“There is a great conservation tradition to uphold in this region,” said Herman Blanke. “Roger Tory Peterson of Old Lyme helped make birding the popular pastime that it is and also drew the connection between birds and conservation. A century ago, the painters of Old Lyme turned this beautiful landscape into art. We view it as our goal and our responsibility to carry on that tradition of conservation and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.”

Jim Denham said, “From its inception, Connecticut Audubon Society has made conservation education the foundation of its work. Each generation is responsible for helping the next generation understand how the natural world works and why conservation is important, and for making sure the wonders of nature don’t get lost amid all the distractions of the modern world. That’s what we are trying to accomplish at Essex Elementary School, and we intend for it to be a stepping stone to collaborations with other schools as well.”

Science in Nature, which provides curriculum-based outdoor science education to students in elementary and high schools, recently completed its first session at Essex Elementary, with a field trip to Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth. The second session is set for May 28 at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Science in Nature teaches the principles of conservation science in local outdoor settings, focusing on climate and weather, rocks and soils, ecological adaptations, and wetland ecology. The goal is to increase environmental literacy among elementary, middle and high school students so they will understand basic environmental science principles and be more likely to participate in finding solutions to environmental issues within their communities.

In October it was named the best outdoor conservation program in the region by the New England Environmental Education Alliance. Schools from almost 50 communities in Connecticut have participated in Science in Nature, although Essex Elementary is the first in southeastern Connecticut to take part.

Osprey Nation uses volunteer citizen scientists, working under the direction of Connecticut Audubon’s conservation staff, to find and monitor nests of the state’s resurgent Osprey population.

More than 400 Osprey nests have been identified and plotted on a map. The greatest concentration in the state is on Great Island in Old Lyme. Connecticut Audubon is hoping that increased awareness of the project will propt more local residents to volunteer to as Osprey stewards in Old Lyme and elsewhere throughout the southeastern part of the state.

Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society is the state’s original and still independent Audubon Society. The Society manages four nature centers, two museums, and 19 sanctuaries across the state. It uses the charismatic nature of birds to inspire the next generation of conservationists, and to work with the current generation to protect and improve the state’s natural habitats for the betterment of state residents, birds and other wildlife.

Connecticut Audubon Society’s headquarters are at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield. It has regional centers and associated boards in Fairfield, Pomfret, Glastonbury and Milford.


Buttrick Breaks Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Long-Standing Long Jump Record

Brian Buttrick

Brian Buttrick leaps to a new school long jump record!

Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Brian Buttrick jumped 21 feet 1 inch in the long jump at the Coginchaug High School athletics meet held May 5.

The deservedly happy LOLHS long jump record holder!

The deservedly happy LOLHS long jump record holder!

Buttrick’s jump broke the school record by three full inches.

Buttrick lands in the sand after crushing the previous school record.

Buttrick lands in the sand after crushing the previous school record.















Brian Buttrick

Brian Buttrick lands in the sand after crushing the previous school record.


Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Host Murder Books Promotion During May

“M” is for May…..Murder and Mayhem at Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) Book Sale. Now that warmer weather is finally here after an endless winter, take some time for yourself with a book sitting on the porch or back deck.

Feature titles include James Patterson’s “Cross-Double Cross,” Steve Martini’s “Guardian of Lies” and Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol- Inferno” along with many other spine-tingling page turners.

All promotional books are on sale for half price- hard cover books are $1 and paperbacks at $.25. Also, our supply of jigsaw puzzles are clearance priced at $0.50 as well for hours of fun.
The LVVS is gearing up for summer too with a “Paperbacks for the Beach” theme so look for that promotion next month. Stock up for your summer reading pleasures.

Stop in Monday-Thursday between the hours of 8am -2pm. The LVVS bookstore is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Contact Literacy Volunteers at 860-399-0280.

The LVVS is lways accepting gently used books, including paperbacks, 2005 or newer.


Center School Celebrates “80 Years of Change”

view_of_school_with empty_maypole_compressed

school_date_plaque_368x333Center School hosted a program last Friday to celebrate “80 Years of Change.”  The school opened in 1934 as a 1st through 12th grade school but has had many grade iterations since, including its most recent one as a 3rd through 5th grade school, which goes back some 30 years.

The final three grades have been phased out of Center School in the past three years during which time no new grades have entered the school.  The Kindergarten through 5th grade population has thus now been divided between Mile Creek and Lyme Consolidated Schools.

Next year Center School will take on a whole new persona as it becomes both the administrative offices for the District housing the superintendent and his support staff and the home of the District’s Pre-School program.

Friday’s celebrations included a rendering of “Happy Birthday” by the Pre-K students, a speech by former student and teacher Kevin Cole and a maypole demonstration by students from the final four classes at the school.

Alumni of the school were honored with boutonnieres and, along with students, parents and members of the public, they listened to the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School band play under the direction Ms. Carrie Wind and Mrs. Herel’s class sing the Center School song.

One alumnus, Jim Fafalla (pictured above), who attended the school from 1948 to 1956, told LymeLine he has fond memories of his days at Center School.  When he attended the school it housed  1st through 12th grades and he recalled the best thing about the school being that, “Everyone looked out for each other.”  He also explained that, at that time, the younger grades were on the right hand (south) wing of the building as you walked into the school and the older grades were on the left (north) side.

Fafalla mentioned that six generations of his family have attended Center School and even now, in its swansong era, his granddaughter Lauren Belville is there.


Center School alumni, mother and daughter, Lauren (left) and Michele Dickey. Michele, who graduated from Center in 1963, recalls fondly that she was in the same class as Kevin Cole!

The school’s gymnasium had effectively been converted into a museum by the Celebrate Center Committee with a wonderful display titled, “Through the Decades.”  Display boards filled with photos and information of each decade that the school had operated were on display along with memorabilia and artwork associated with the school.

View_of CS_gym_as_museum_compressed
The boards and museum exhibits were lovingly planned, designed and built by a dedicated group of eight Center School students who worked weekly, sometimes daily, for months to put together the exhibit.  The members of this club also each spoke at the celebration as did various other teachers, alumni and the school principal, Lori Susi.

Also on view were the 2015 time capsule that has been created, a memory wall, a timeline and a video including memories shared by alumni and former staff members.



Old Lyme Country Club Kicks Off 2015 Season with Get-Acquainted Scramble

The members of the WGA gather for a photo at their annual meeting.

The members of the WGA gather for a photo at their annual meeting. Photo courtesy of the Old Lyme Country Club.

The Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf Association (WGA) held it first event of the season on Thursday, April 23. The WGA ladies participated in the 9-hole Get Acquainted Scramble under unseasonably cool conditions.

The 1st place winners with a score of 27 were: Helene Nichols (Essex), Paula Bingham (Lyme), Carolyn Daddona (Essex), and MJ Bertolini (Old Lyme).

The 2nd place winners, also with a score of 27, were: Harley Manning (Essex), Bev Windatt (Essex), Kate Bollo (Essex), and Louise Ferrebee (Old Lyme).

The 3rd place winners with a score of 31 were: Mardee Moore (Guilford), Carol Gordon (Essex), and Martha Norcia (Old Saybrook).


With Protection of The Preserve, Partners Secure Historic Conservation Gain

Conservation acquisition of almost 1,000-acre coastal forest in Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook expands Connecticut’s conservation legacy and is the culmination many years of work.

OLD SAYBROOK, CT—A coalition led by The Trust for Public Land and including The Nature Conservancy today announced protection of The Preserve, a huge swath of undeveloped forest located primarily in Old Saybrook.

To support this project, The Nature Conservancy will hold a conservation easement over almost 900 acres of The Preserve.

Over the years, the Conservancy was involved in many efforts with partners to protect the land. In the end, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) took the lead and, in 2013, negotiated The Preserve’s acquisition from River Sound Development LLC. TPL secured $10 million for project costs with financial commitments from the state, Old Saybrook, Essex and many public and private donors. The state and Old Saybrook are sharing ownership, with the Essex Land Trust owning 70 acres in Essex. The state will hold an easement over the acreage in Essex.

“Helping protect a place of this magnitude is an opportunity that simply does not come around often. When it does, you take it,” said Frogard Ryan, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “It’s gratifying for the Conservancy to be able to play a crucial role in this milestone—a success that adds substantially to Connecticut’s remarkable legacy of conservation.”

The Preserve is an extraordinary expanse of forest, wetlands and vernal pools. It includes the headwaters of the Oyster River. It is a stopover spot for migratory birds and provides habitat for dozens of animal and plant species.

“The Preserve was the last remaining opportunity in Southern New England to protect a block of coastal forest this large,” Ryan said. “We’re inspired—and galvanized for the future—by the leadership and vision of the many partners who made this achievement possible.”

In 2014, to provide extra protection for public lands, the Connecticut General Assembly gave the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection authority to grant protective easements over state park and forest land to nonprofit organizations. Lawmakers also granted authority for an easement over The Preserve. Because of the Conservancy’s experience, the state, TPL and Old Saybrook asked the Conservancy to hold that easement.

The Conservancy is thrilled to be able to accept the easement and is grateful for financial support for long-term costs from TPL and philanthropist Joan Livingston Tweedy, her family and their Tortuga Foundation.

“This is an iconic conservation success story, and we’re honored to play a part in it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Trust for Public Land, the Tortuga Foundation, the state of Connecticut, the towns of Old Saybrook and Essex, Connecticut Fund for the Environment: The list goes on. So many people have played a part in making this dream a reality.”

David Sutherland, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut said: “Connecticut’s conservation community long has been working to preserve this property. Through years of hopes and setbacks, the impact of raging real estate markets and the weight of global financial forces, The Preserve and the wildlife that lives on it has endured. This acquisition will enable them to continue to thrive for decades to come.”


Celebrating 80+ Years of Center School’s History


There will be a celebration of the over 80-year history of Old Lyme’s Center School on Friday, May 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event will include a Maypole dance, reminiscent of the school’s former Mayday event; speeches; and informative displays of photos and artifacts from each decade of the school’s history.

Starting next year, the school will house the district’s central offices and preschoolers only. Other elementary grades will be located at Mile Creek and Lyme Schools until population trends require further changes.


LAA’s 94th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition on Show Through June 5

'Fishing boat' by Chris Zhang

‘Fishing boat’ by Chris Zhang is one of the signature paintings in the current LAA exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the 94th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition, on view from April 24 through June 5.  All four galleries will display work by Elected Artists, who are the LAA’s most accomplished artists.

'Working in the Studio' by Bill Hanson.

‘Working in the Studio’ by Bill Hanson.

These torch-bearers for the representational tradition follow directly in the footsteps of the Lyme Art Colony artists who hung their tonalist and impressionist works in this historic building.  This is a great opportunity to see, and perhaps take home, work by Elected Artists, showcased in the LAA’s sky-lit galleries. 

The LAA will hold an opening reception and a gallery dedication in memory of Foster Caddell, Elected Artist, on Friday, May 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.

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 LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated.  Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Team Wins Middlesex Math League for Second Consecutive Year

Eric Pan receives his scholarship from the Tresurer of the Math League, Bill Varas of Portland High School.

Eric Pan receives his scholarship from the Tresurer of the Math League, Bill Varas of Portland High School.

In an extraordinary victory, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team recently won the overall title of the Middlesex County Math League.  Comprised of Middlesex County high schools along with Regional Hebron Andover Marlborough (RHAM) High School and Lyme-Old Lyme High School, this League has 11 members and is divided into a large and a small conference.  Lyme-Old Lyme is a member of the latter, making this overall championship win for the second consecutive year even more exceptional.

The leaders of the team are seniors Eric Pan and newcomer Jared DiCarlo.  Pan has played for four years and recruited teammate DiCarlo last year.  Pan was recognized as the highest scorer as a freshman, sophomore, junior and again this year.  As a senior, this accomplishment was recognized with a scholarship.  DiCarlo also scored very well and similarly earned a scholarship for his second highest score of all seniors.

LOLHS Varsity Math Team League Champions 2015

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team are the Middlesex League Champions 2015!

The team consists of five official scoring members of which only two can be seniors and at least one must be a freshman or sophomore.  These junior members also contributed to the success, especially junior Ryan Harty who scored the most of any junior in the League.

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team proudly display their trophies

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team proudly display their trophies

Other contributors to the team include senior Thomas Roth, juniors Austin Pilgrim, Evan Deng and Jason Feng, sophomores Jeff Zhang, Natalie Rugg, Laura Lee Wayland and Cole Dushin and freshmen Reed Spitzer and Gabriel Zumbaum-Stephens.

Congratulations to the team and their coach Glenn Elliott on this amazing result!


Use of $600K From Surplus Account Keeps Old Lyme’s Mill Rate Increase to Less Than 5 Percent

Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder address the audience at the April 20 Budget Hearing

Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder address the audience at the April 20 Financial Year 2016 Budget Hearing

Last Monday evening, April 20, some 15 residents turned out to hear the Old Lyme Board of Finance present their proposed town budget for the 2015-16 financial year.  Board of Finance Chairman Andrew Russell opened by explaining that the budget process had begun back in December and continued through to the present with meetings between members of the board and department heads, committee chairs, commission heads, the board of selectmen and representatives from a variety of non-profits.

He summarized the status of the proposed budget noting that in total the budget of $34,756,641 shows an increase of 3.67 percent over the previous year, but that the categories within the budget — although all show an increase — by no means show consistency in terms of the size of their increases.  For example, the Capital Outlay request is up 44.01 percent while the Total General Government has only increased by 6.84 percent.

Russell then proceeded to highlight the areas of significant change across all the various sectors of the budget.

With regard to the Parks and Recreation budget, he noted that the board was requesting a 0.8 percent reduction over the previous year, “due to the installation of the kiosks at Sound View.” This, in turn, had caused the number of seasonal town employees for the Sound View area to be reduced enabling some $15,000 in savings to be gained by the Town.

One area where Russell said he was not entirely confident of the current budget numbers was the Public Safety segment of the budget.  The board had requested an increase of $11,600 to cover the State Trooper’s contract at the 80 percent level rather than the current 70 percent, as required by the state.  Russell pointed out, however, that there are indications, “Hartford wants the town to fund 100 percent of the trooper’s salary,” which would require a further increase in the budget.

Under the category of Social Services and Senior Citizens, the board had included an additional $3,000 for Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau. This was due to a possible reduction in state aid since, Russell noted , “All youth service bureaus have lost funding from the state.”

Capital Project Funds showed a major increase of 126.3 percent, which incorporated a single line item of $400,000 for road improvement.  Russell justified this dramatic increase noting, “We’re finding out we’ve been underfunding our roads,” adding in a later discussion, “We’re probably going to have to be more aggressive with our roads in the immediate future.”

The Private Beach Associations category showed a decrease of almost $30,000 ($29,600) primarily due to implementation of the new calculation recently drawn up by a Town Committee and agreed by the board of selectmen regarding funding for the Private Beach Associations by the Town. The proposed reduced funding total paid by the town to the Private Beach Associations is $71,700.

A decrease of 1.6 percent ($5,844) is reflected in Debt Service ($357,719) due to the fall in interest as the Town repays the principal on the loan for the Town Hall renovations.

Russell noted that the budget called for a total of $600,000 to be taken from the town’s surplus to fund removal of oil tanks ($200,000) and $400,000 to fund the additional funds needed for the boathouse on top of the $454,000 awarded under a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) state grant.

Other significant expenses in the budget are $160,000 for a new dump truck with plow, $100,000 for the engineering segment of the Mile Creek Rd. bridge (final costs are unknown at this stage but a STEAP grant application is being prepared), $85,000 for a fire/police boat, $35,000 for the Emergency Management Phase 2 Communications Project, $25,000 for the Cross Lane firehouse boiler, $20,000 for weed eradication at Rogers Lake, $17,000 for the Lymes’ Senior Center roof and carpet, and $12,000 for repairs to the Cross Lane tennis courts.

An additional $125,000 was originally in the Public Works operating budget but has since been transferred to the capital budget.

Russell noted the new mill rate required to support this budget would be 20.62 reflecting an increase of 4.88 percent.  He pointed out that if the $600,000 were not taken from the budget surplus, then the resultant mill rate would be 21.00 reflecting a 6.8 percent increase.

Russell gave three examples of the projected cost to homeowners showing that owners of a house valued at $347,200 would pay $5,011 in taxes at the new mill rate as opposed to $4,777 at the current rate.  A property valued at $540,200 would incur $7,796 in taxes compared to a current amount of $7,433, while a $1.25 million home would be levied $18,104 in contrast the current amount of $17,261.

When the floor was opened for public comment, Steve Cinami questioned Russell about the transfer of monies from the town’s surplus account to fund projects, asking, “What is a number that the town feels is a responsible number [to retain in the surplus account]?”  Russell responded that the number used to be 7 or 8 percent but that the surplus account currently stands at around 20 percent.  Cinami quizzed Russell as to why the excess should not be returned to taxpayers, suggesting, “Why not get it down to 12 percent and fund new projects from taxes?”

Russell noted in response that the Town had, “Put $1.2 million back into the surplus,” and also that the Town needs $25,000 to $30,000 for each blizzard.  He added that he personally would like to see the surplus at around 15 percent while First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder mentioned, “The auditors want 12 to 15 percent.”  Russell used the Mile Creek bridge as an a example of something that contributed to the need to keep a robust surplus.  He pointed out that the Town wanted to fix the bridge, but at the time of writing the budget, it was unclear whether it, “… would get any money from Hartford.”

Former First Selectman Timothy Griswold asked why the approximately $400,000 being used from the surplus to fund the new boathouse in Hains Park did not appear in the budget.  Russell agreed in principle that Griswold was correct, noting to rippled laughter that the purpose of a hearing such as the one being held was to identify any omissions of this type before the final budget was submitted.

Russell closed the meeting by reminding the audience that, assuming the Region 18 budget vote passes successfully on May 6, the vote on the town budget will be held on Monday, May 18, in a town meeting.


Tree Trimming in Old Lyme This Week

Eversource, formally CL&P, has contracted with Lucas Tree to perform tree trimming within several sections of Old Lyme this spring.  According to Eversource, the tree trimming is vital to reducing the number of tree-related power outages, and will improve electrical service reliability.

Trimming is scheduled to take place the week of April 27 on the following streets in Old Lyme:
Boggy Hole Road
Hillside Road
Saunders Hollow Road
Sill Lane
Whippoorwill Road

In addition, representatives from Lucas Tree continue to go door to door to notify residents about the planned trimming on behalf of Eversource.

All Lucas Tree employees will have proper identification.


Lyme, Old Lyme Presents Rogers Lake Weed Study Findings

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

A view across Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.

The Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme have scheduled a public presentation on the recommendations of the Rogers Lake Weeds Study, completed by New England Environmental (NEE),  for Monday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.

The recommendations are to use the herbicide flumioxazone to target certain areas of the invasive weeds that are a nuisance and safety concern, and to employ hydroraking in areas that contain nuisance pond lilies.

The Rogers Lake Weeds Study Committee voted 4 to 1 to approve the recommendation for the treatment and to proceed to a public information presentation. Representatives from NEE will be on hand to present their findings and answer questions on the options that were considered and the recommendations.

The Water Quality Report, Well Impact Report and the Final Report are all available on the town website at, under Current Projects.


New Owners of Village Shops on Lyme St. ‘Look Forward to Working With Current Business Owners’

The shop and businesses, which comprise the Village Shoppes on Lyme Street, have a new landlord.

Lee and Michelle Mergy, who live in the property on Lyme Street that was formerly Christ the King church, have purchased the Village Shoppes from the current owner, Warren Hannas. The sale, effective April 21, was completed under the name 26 Lyme Street LLC and kept under wraps until its announcement Wednesday.

The businesses located in the Village Shoppes include Vitality Spa, The Chocolate Shell, Sandy Garvin Fine Art and Marilyn C. Clarke, Attorney at Law.

After hearing of the purchase, Lindsay Eisensmith, owner of Vitality Spa, told LymeLine, “Vitality Spa & Wellness was recently made aware that one of our Lyme Street neighbors has purchased the building. We have not been informed about their plans for the Village Shops and therefore have not yet determined what lies ahead for the future of Vitality.”

She also noted, “We are hopeful that our new landlords will work with us to resolve our ongoing zoning concerns.” Eisensmith has recently been involved in a lively debate with the Old Lyme Zoning Commission regarding some of the new activities she has added at  her business.

Lee Mergy commented online in response to an earlier article on, “We are very happy to have the opportunity to own and manage The Village Shops, which has been a fixture in the Old Lyme historic village since 1932. We thank the previous owner for doing a terrific job in keeping the property well maintained.”

He continued, “We look forward to working with the business owners and neighbors to ensure that the Village Shops continue to be a great asset for the community, and in keeping with its location on Lyme Street in a residential district.”

In a subsequent email to LymeLine, Lee Mergy said, “The only other thing to add is that it is well known we have been looking to buy a commercial property on Lyme Street for a long time now and this opportunity arose and given its proximity to our home it seemed a great opportunity.”

He also stressed that he and his wife, “strongly support a vibrant small business environment in downtown Old Lyme that is in keeping with the residential neighborhood and historic district, and intend to maintain The Village Shops as a viable commercial enterprise.”

The Mergys are renowned for their monumental Halloween displays outside their Lyme Street residence, which each year incorporate a different theme.  Lee Mergy concluded his email to in a lighter vein, noting, “And in case anyone asks, we did not buy it because we ran out of space for our crazy Halloween decorations!”


Village Shoppes on Lyme Street Change Hands

Yesterday the shop and businesses, which comprise the Village Shoppes, were informed that with effect from May 1 of this year they will have a new landlord.

Lee and Michelle Mergy, who live in the property on Lyme Street that was formerly Christ the King church, have purchased the Village Shoppes from the current owner, Warren Hannas.  The sale, which was completed under the name 26 Lyme Street LLC, was kept under wraps until its announcement yesterday.

Other businesses located in the Village Shoppes include Vitality Spa, The Chocolate Shell, Sandy Garvin Fine Art and Marilyn C. Clarke, Attorney at Law.



Ivoryton Playhouse Looks at (Older) Love in “The Last Romance”

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance," which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance,” which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

On an ordinary day in a routine life, an 80-year-old widower named Ralph decides to takes a different path on his daily walk — one that leads him to an unexpected second chance at love. Relying on a renewed boyish charm, Ralph attempts to woo the elegant, but distant, Carol. Defying Carol’s reticence — and the jealousy of his lonely sister Rose — he embarks on the trip of a lifetime and regains a happiness that seemed all but lost.

Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance, a bittersweet romantic comedy with a little Puccini and a smidgen of dog treats, opens in Ivoryton on April 22.

DiPietro recently won two Tony Awards for co-writing the musical Memphis, which also received the 2010 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and which will be opening in Ivoryton in August this year. DiPietro is an Ivoryton favorite; his shows I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change(the longest-running musical revue in Off Broadway history), and the Broadway musical All Shook Up were both popular successes at the Playhouse.

Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance"Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance”

Directed by Maggie McGlone Jennings, the cast includes Chet Carlin* as Ralph, whose Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel and the National Tour of Sir Peter Hall’s As You Like It; Kate Konigisor*, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare with Benefits, as Rose; Stephen Mir as the Young Man and Rochelle Slovin*, making her Ivoryton debut as Carol and reigniting a theatre career after spending the past 30 years as the Founding Director of the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Vickie Blake.

The Last Romance opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 22, and runs through May 10. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Photos by Anne Hudson

  1. Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin*
  2. Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin*

*Indicates member of Actors Equity Association

This production is generously sponsored by Essex Meadows and The Clark Group


New Management Sets Sights on Placing Phoebe’s BookCellar on Community’s Collective Radar

BookCellar co-managers Paulette Zander (left) and Ann de Selding (right) discuss new plans for "the only bookstore in town" with Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann.

BookCellar co-managers Paulette Zander (left) and Ann de Selding (right) discuss new plans for “the only bookstore in town” with Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann.

If you haven’t been to The BookCellar located in the basement of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library recently, there are more reasons than ever to stop by and visit.  The BookCellar represents a major resource to the community and yet many Old Lyme residents are unaware of its existence.  But now there are more reasons than ever to stop by since the place now has a whole new look with more space for both browsing and sitting, attractive face-out displays and a brand new ’25 cent sale’ section.

The BookCellar management team hard at work.

The BookCellar management team hard at work.

The recently appointed co-managers Paulette Zander and Ann de Selding are well on their way to transforming the BookCellar into one of those delightful little bookshops that have all but disappeared, primarily due the impact of online shopping.  This transformation isn’t really a great surprise when one considers Zander is the former owner of the beloved ‘Happy Carrot’ bookshop in Old Lyme.  Meanwhile, de Selding worked at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts for more than 12 years as the Director of Alumni and Volunteer Relations, meaning that organizing — and reorganizing — is in her DNA.

Books are The BookCellar's business.

Books are The BookCellar’s business.

An ardent book-lover, who previously turned her passion into her business, Zander comments enthusiastically about her new position, “I’m living vicariously through this — just touching and fondling the books is rewarding.”  De Selding elaborates further on Paulette’s involvement in The BookCellar, saying, “Paulette’s legacy [from The Happy Carrot] to this community — and to these books — has morphed into a wonderful continuity for the town.”

Mary Haymann has some fun in the Children's Corner!

Mary Haymann has some fun in the Children’s Corner!

The BookCellar houses upwards of 7,000 books, which include, but are not limited to titles falling under the following sections: History, Classics, Biographies, Gardening, Cooking, and Children & Young Adults and, of course, an enormous supply of fiction and non-fiction.  There’s no question that there’s something for everyone in the BookCellar so Zander and de Selding hope to make The Cellar a frequent stop for book lovers, as well as one that is affordable to all.

In addition to the basement, The BookCellar offers a selection of very gently used books and DVDs for sale in the main lobby of the Library.  Each month features a different theme and, in a nod to the long-awaited season, April’s theme is appropriately Spring Pursuits.

Lift_doorBuilt in 1995, along with a new addition to the Library, The BookCellar operates under the umbrella of the Friends of the Library, the volunteer fundraising arm of the Library.   It is fully staffed and managed by more than 55 dedicated volunteers, including de Selding and Zander.  Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann is enormously appreciative of all the volunteer efforts, noting that they are helping to support what, “… is now really the only bookstore in town.”  Moreover, she stresses, “When you buy a book in The BookCellar, you are supporting the library.  All proceeds from the Cellar go directly to library.”  Every one of the books, DVDs and CDs is donated by local area residents allowing sales from The BookCellar to contribute around a staggering — and most welcome – $20,000 each year to the Library’s budget.

Vintage and rare books are files together.

Vintage and rare books are filed together.

Many of the library volunteers, including Haymann, have made a long-term commitment to the institution.  Haymann has been president of the Friends since 2008, but her involvement with the library goes back much further.  Her father Joseph Dunn was the librarian for 20 years from 1947-67 and her mother, Mae Dunn, followed in his footsteps in the early 70s.

New volunteers are always welcome at The BookCellar and de Selding notes, “The hours are flexible meaning they are as long or short as you choose — and the pay is priceless!”  On a more serious note, she continues, “We would love more folk to join us here – it’s a great work environment.  We never know what the next drop-off of donations will bring, so there are plenty of surprises and treasures in our business.  You can volunteer just a few hours each month and we really have a lot of fun down here.”  If you are interested in volunteering, contact or call 860.434.1684 and ask for The Book Cellar for further information.

The Cellar is also able to “pay it forward” by donating thousands of books, which are shipped to Ghana, as well as numerous books to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme for the annual White Elephant Sale; children’s books to the Soup Kitchen (through the Henderson Project); and age-appropriate books to the Lymes’ Senior Center.  The BookCellar will also be present at the Midsummer Festival at the Library, where a huge number of books will be for sale.

Stacking shelves is all in a (volunteer's) day's work.

Stacking shelves is all in a (volunteer’s) day’s work.

Donations of books are welcome year-round.  If you’re currently doing some spring cleaning and have some books to donate, take them to the Library during operating hours* and place them in the box near the elevator on the lobby level.

Zander and de Selding are also planning to start a twice-yearly collection program in May and December, when they will arrange pick-up of books from resident’s homes.  The program is still in its development phase but watch for more details soon in announcements from the library and published on

Operating year round, The BookCellar is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For a limited period of time, the Cellar will be open Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

*The library is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1- a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  It is closed on Sundays.