July 29, 2014

Join a Business Breakfast Today to Discuss Sound View Changes, All Welcome

The Town of Old Lyme and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce are hosting a business breakfast this Wednesday, July 16, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Avenue.  Topics under discussion will include:

  • Sound View: Changes Ahead
  • Sound View Bike Path/Revitalization
  • Coastal Wastewater Management Project

All are welcome to this free event and a continental breakfast will be provided.

Free parking will be available in the Community Center parking lot across the street from the Center, and along Hartford Avenue)

A reply is appreciated to selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov or  860 434 1605, ext. 210


Attend a Free Lecture Tonight on ‘Health, Vitality with Essential Oils’ at Old Lyme Inn

lymeline150x150EOvitalityDawn Krause Swope CHHC, AADP Holistic Health Coach at Vitality Spa and Lisa Wilson, CHHC and Board Certified Natural Health Practitioner and founder of the Raw Food Institute will be hosting a lecture on, “Health & Vitality with Essential Oils,” at the Old Lyme Inn at 6:30 p.m.  Come and find out more about essential oils and how to use them in your home, your life and to create your own natural medicine cabinet.

The event will take place this evening, Wednesday, July 16, at the Old Lyme Inn, Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

The Inn will be open for cocktails from 5 p.m. prior to the lecture.  Entrance is free and the event is sponsored by Vitality Spa, The Old Lyme Inn, IFoundFitness and the Raw Food Institute.  If you cannot arrive early, grab some friends and stay for dinner afterwards.

The evening is free, but it would help to get a feel for numbers so readers are requested to express their interest by emailing the spa or sending an RSVP through the Facebook event.

Driven to restore her health and wellness following chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer, Swope began exploring various food philosophies and diets.  What she learned from her doctors at Yale University Hospital and from her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is that good nutrition is not enough to keep us healthy.  One must strive to be healthy in all areas of life and to be healthy one must find balance.

Lisa Wilson is a Certified Health Coach, Board Certified Natural Health Practitioner and Cancer Researcher and is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is part of the Nutrition Team at National Integrative Health Associates, NIHAdc.com, Washington, DC’s premier integrative medical center, founded by Holistic MD’s.  As founder of the prestigious Raw Food Institute, Wilson received the award for best, “Raw Vegan Center”, as well as the winner of, “The Medical Awareness for Raw Food.”  As a national speaker, writer and consultant, Wilson’s areas of focus include family health, obesity, ADHD, Lyme and Cancer Nutritional Support, Low Energy and Weight Loss.


Chiropractic Doctor Suzanne Murphy Joins Vitality Spa & Wellness

The new resident chiropractic doctor at Vitality Spa in Old Lyme is Dr. Suzanne Murphy.

The new resident chiropractic doctor at Vitality Spa in Old Lyme is Dr. Suzanne Murphy.

Lindsay Eisensmith, owner of Vitality Spa & Wellness on Lyme Street in Old Lyme, announced last week that Dr. Suzanne Murphy has joined the center as their resident doctor of chiropractic medicine.  By way of introduction to Murphy, Eisensmith recalls a quote from Thomas Edison, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”  She notes, “This quote sums up our philosophy of wellness at Vitality.”

Eisensmith continues, “Dr. Murphy’s natural, gentle and highly professional approach perfectly compliments the range of Wellness Services provided at Vitality and we are delighted that she has joined us,” adding, “There is a fundamental relationship between the spine and health, which is mediated through the nervous system. Ensuring that this relationship is healthy, is the key work of a chiropractor.”

Chiropractic medicine is a comprehensive health care profession that addresses many factors that impact personal health and physiology. Chiropractic physicians specialize in natural and non-invasive health care and are trained to use a full range of medical diagnostic tools and a wide array of effective treatment options in patient care.

Types of conditions that respond well to chiropractic care include: low back pain and sciatica; neck pain, headaches and scoliosis; sprains, strains, sports Injuries and Injuries from overuse of one muscle group; tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injuries and impinged hip and knee pain.  Being completely natural, chiropractic medicine is also a great way of dealing with pregnancy-related back pain.  To find out more about the range of treatments that Dr Murphy offers, visit her website.

Dr. Murphy is a 1993 graduate of Western State Chiropractic College (WSCC) in Portland, Oregon where she earned her Doctorate of Chiropractic Degree with cum laude honors.  Prior to attending WSCC, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a specialty in Exercise and Systems Physiology from Rutgers College.  She is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the New York Chiropractic Association, and has been published in the American Public Health Association Journal.

Dr. Murphy was the owner and clinical director of the Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Millbrook, N.Y., for 20 years, but has now moved to Lyme on a permanent basis, having had a family home there for nearly 10 years.


Rafal Ranked 12th in Barron’s Special Report on Nation’s Top 100 Financial Advisors

Essex Finacial Services founder John Rafal, who has been named a top independent financial advisor by Barrons.

Essex Finacial Services founder John Rafal, who has been named a top independent financial advisor by Barrons.

Barron’s, the financial and investment newsweekly, has published the 2014 list of America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors, and John W. Rafal of Old Lyme, Conn., is ranked number 12.  Very few independent advisors, such as Rafal, were included in the list, which is mostly composed of advisors from the major wire house firms.

Rafal is the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, which is owned by Essex Savings Bank.  The ranking appears in the April 21 edition of Barron’s (www.barrons.com).

In the story accompanying the list, Barron’s noted that Rafal was among a small group of financial advisors who have appeared on the top 100 list every year since inception in 2004.

“I am gratified to Barron’s for the recognition and accept the honor on behalf of the entire team at Essex Financial Services,” said Rafal.  “I want to express my sincere thanks to our clients, many of whom we have represented for over 30 years.  It’s a privilege to earn and retain your trust.”

Doug Paul, Chairman of the Board of Essex Savings Bank, which also owns Essex Financial Services, stated, “The Barron’s ranking is a testament to John Rafal and the entire team at Essex Financial Services.  On behalf of the entire board and management team, I want to offer our congratulations to John Rafal.”

Essex Financial Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essex Savings Bank, is one of the leading independent financial advisory firms in the country


South Lyme Scoop Shop Opens for Season with New Hours, Expanded Space

The South Lyme Scoop Shop has a striking new storefront.

The South Lyme Scoop Shop has a striking new storefront.

South Lyme Scoop Shop, located at 389 Shore Road, Old Lyme, has re-opened for the season with a fresh, new look and expanded offerings and hours.

After extensive renovations, the shop has doubled in size after moving into the space formerly occupied by the South Point Convenience Store.   In addition to its famous Salem Valley Farms and Guida’s ice cream, the new shop now offers fresh coffee, pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, newspapers, cold drinks, ice, candy and snacks and for every palette (including health-conscious ones).  A small selection of groceries is also available.

The South Lyme Scoop Shop has doubled in size.

The South Lyme Scoop Shop has doubled in size.

South Lyme Scoop Shop is currently open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Summer hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily) will begin Thursday, June 26.


Bee & Thistle Offers an Open ‘Art Night’ This Evening with Author B.A. Shapiro, Then Sit-Down Dinner

shell_outsideDelight the senses from palette to palate!  The Second Annual ‘Bee Inspired’ Art Night will be held this evening, Thursday, May 15, at the Bee and Thistle Inn.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour The Bee’s dining and guest rooms and beautiful grounds to meet the artists whose work fills the Inn’s spaces both inside and out.

Acclaimed author, B.A. Shapiro, will be on hand to greet fans and sign her New York Times bestselling novel, The Art Forger, a literary thriller about Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist that spans three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors.

B.A. Shapiro

B.A. Shapiro

Creative cocktails and bar specials will be offered throughout the evening.  A “pop-up” boutique featuring work by local artisans will include items for purchase.

Admission is free for this part of the event.

At 8 p.m. an exclusive sit-down dinner with Ms. Shapiro, featured artists and celebrity guests will be presented by Chef Kristofer Rowe, showcasing his imaginative “art on a plate” accompanied by wine.

This intimate gathering is the place to “see and ‘Bee’ seen!”  Tickets are required for this part of the evening only and are $75 each, all inclusive.  Advance reservations are still available by calling the Inn at 860-434-1667.  Seating is limited, so prompt reservations are advised.

Sculpture by Gil Boro.

Sculpture by Gil Boro

‘The Bee’ serves as a ‘springboard’ for local artists to gain exposure, featuring work by Brian Keith Stephens, Chamomile Hixon, Thomas Caleb Goggans, Elizabeth Weiss, Jacques Pepin, and Pola Esther.

Striking outdoor art installations by Gil Boro, Michael McLaughlin and Chandler Davis also dot the picturesque grounds surrounding the Inn.


What is a Conservator? When Should One be Appointed? Probate Judge Lomme Explains

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme.

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme.

Let’s take an all too common case along the shoreline.  Grandmother has been a widow for several years now, and gradually, gradually, the ordinary chores of keeping a banking account, paying bills, and having her finances in order, have become too much for her.

In such a case, grandma herself can go before a local Probate Judge and request the appointment of a Conservator to keep her books and pay her expenses.  The person to be appointed could be a relative, or a trusted friend of the person seeking the court’s appointment of a Conservator.

It is not necessary to go to the expense of hiring a lawyer in a case such as this.  Rather, if the person needing help has a person that they want to handle their affairs, they simply have to go before the Probate Judge and obtain the judge’s approval for the appointment.

Old Saybrook District Probate Court

The Probate Judge for the Town of Lyme is Terrance Lomme, and he is based in Old Saybrook.  His probate district also includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Lomme’s offices are on the second floor of the Old Saybrook Town Hall, and the Court’s telephone number is 860-510-5028.

There are, of course, other cases, which are far more complicated, and they may require a private attorney’s services.

Different Kinds of Conservators

The simple case mentioned above involves a “Voluntary Conservator” appointment.  There are also “Involuntary Conservator” appointments, which require, among other things, a doctor’s report stating that the appointment of a Conservator is a medical necessity.

“Involuntary Conservator” appointments are the most common kind of Conservator arrangement and, before they are approved, there must be a formal hearing before the Probate Judge.  Also, this kind of Conservatorship will only be granted, if there is clear and convincing evidence presented at a hearing that a Conservator’s involvement is necessary.  There is also a statutory appeals procedure for Involuntary Conservator appointments.

Another type of appointment of a Conservator is one just for a limited period of time, such as 30 days.  When the temporary appointment time limit expires, the affected person resumes making his or her own decisions.

Making things even more complicated, a Conservator can also be appointed for the Conservatorship of an “estate,” meaning essentially, control over tangible assets, and not over a person.  Banks can be appointed as a Conservator for an estate, but not for a person.  Also, hospitals and nursing homes are not allowed to be appointed either for a person or for an estate.

Periodic accountings are also required of a Conservator of Estate, and the posting of a bond is customary.  As for Conservators concerning persons, they must obtain court approval before placing the subject person in a long term care institution; or approving a change of residence, the selling of household furnishings, the sale or transfer of real estate, investing the subject person’s funds or placing the person in psychiatric care.

A Conservator of Estate can be terminated if the funds therein are below $1,600.  It can also be terminated if the person under a Conservator arrangement becomes capable of managing his or her own affairs.  A conserved person has a right to request restoration, and a court must hear this request within 30 days.  Furthermore, if a conserved person cannot obtain an attorney, one will be appointed for him or her in these situations.

Conservatorships Program at Essex Library

A program is scheduled this coming Tuesday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, which is the second in a series on what you need to know about probate.  It will focus on the law and procedures of Conservators as part of ageing and estate planning and will be hosted by Probate Judge Terrance Lomme.  The public is invited to attend and ask questions.


A Weekend of Celebrations at Old Lyme Inn, Side Door Jazz Club to Celebrate First Anniversary

Ken and Chris Kitchings are ready to welcome guests to the Inn's celebratory weekend.

Ken and Chris Kitchings are ready to welcome guests to the Inn’s celebratory weekend.

The Old Lyme Inn and its on-site Jazz Club, The Side Door, at 85 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, invite the public to one great weekend, with two reasons to celebrate.

On Saturday, May 10, The Side Door will celebrate a one-year milestone of hosting talented jazz artists, each and every weekend throughout this first year.  Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for a “birthday party” that includes free champagne toast, hearty hors d’oeuvres, and, of course … cake.

Performers taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. that night include jazz virtuosos, Larry Corvell, Buster Williams, Javon Jackson and Lenny White.  Tickets are $75 each and may be purchased online at http://thesidedoorjazz.com.  Seating is limited in this intimate club setting and early reservations are suggested.

For more information about the anniversary weekend performers visit, their websites at:

www.javonjackson.com                     www.larrycoryell.net
www.lennywhite.com                       www.busterwilliams.com

On Sunday, May 11,  from noon to 7 p.m., the Old Lyme Inn will host moms and their families with a three-course meal from a specially prepared menu.  Offering a fresh take on traditional favorites, including: oyster Rockefeller, filet of beef, passion fruit crème brulee, and many other options, mom will be assured an delicious experience filled with great memories.

To add to the occasion, and in recognition of our Jazz Anniversary Weekend, Guitarist Tommy Giarrantano will be entertaining in the lobby for the enjoyment of all guests to the Inn that afternoon.  Seating is limited and reservations may be made online at http://oldlymeinn.com or by calling 860.434.2600.  This three-course meal is prix fixe at $55 per person/$25 for children 12 and under.

To review the full Mother’s Day menu, visit http://oldlymeinn.com/restaurant/mothers-day

The view from the veranda at the Old Lyme Inn long ago.

The view from the veranda at the Old Lyme Inn long ago.

The Old Lyme Inn building was constructed circa 1856 by the Champlain family.  The 300-acre-estate was a working farm until the Connecticut Turnpike construction began in the early 1950s.

It once housed a riding academy, where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reportedly took lessons.  At the turn of the century, many of Old Lyme’s famous impressionist artists hauled their painting wagons into the beautiful fields and Connecticut woodlands behind the Inn.  The Inn’s barn also served as a studio for artists from the Florence Griswold

When the turnpike arrived, the Champlain family home was sold and ultimately became the Barbizon Oak Inn.  The Inn was named after the Barbizon School of painters, as well as the 300-year-old Oak tree located on a hill behind the Inn property.  It was a friendly establishment with rooms for boarding.

In 1965, the building endured a major fire that ultimately closed the Barbizon Oak.  With its staircase and interior walls destroyed and not replaced, it passed through the hands of new owners several years later that ultimately restored the building and deemed it the Old Lyme Inn.



In 2011, Ken and Chris Kitchings, long-standing members of the Old Lyme Community purchased the beautiful, but sadly neglected, Old Lyme Inn.  Following an extensive and passionate renovation, the Kitchings have brought this icon back to life, providing the community with a place to eat, drink and celebrate.

The Sidedoor Jazz Club is the realization of a long cherished dream.  Ken Kitchings has always been a true fan of jazz music and brought many great artists to The Garde Theatre in New London, CT during his time there.

Once the inn became an established part of the community, Ken set his sights on an unused “side door” space attached to the inn, visualizing the perfect jazz venue: intimate, welcoming, elegant and a quality, great sounding room in which the very best jazz artists would be happy to play.

George Wein cuts the ribbon to signify the opening of The Side Door while a delighted Ken Kitchings stands at right.

George Wein cuts the ribbon to signify the opening of The Side Door while a delighted Ken Kitchings stands at right.

On May 10, 2013 its door and stage was opened by none other than the venerable George Wein and his Newport All Star band, cutting the ribbon and giving his blessing to an awestruck Ken Kitchings.  This gala night opening  set the standard and placed The Sidedoor firmly on the jazz venue map.


Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber Hosts 14th Annual “Taste of Lymes” Business Expo Today


Four local chefs will present cooking demonstrations at the 14th Annual  “Taste  of the Lymes Business Expo” on Sunday afternoon, April 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., to be held this year at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Many local businesses and Chamber members will exhibit at the Business Expo including Fresh Ayer Gallery, Amity Home Construction & Design, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Florence Griswold Museum, The Woman’s Exchange, and Office Express.

Food preparation demonstrations by chefs from The Bee & Thistle Inn, Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food, Café Flo (Gourmet Galley) and the Old Lyme Country Club will provide seasonal recipe ideas.  Landscape Designer Sheila Wertheimer will conduct a demonstration on planting a spring patio pot, and Julie Garvin Riggs of the Florence Griswold Museum will provide ongoing demonstrations of how to create handcrafted greeting cards.

Sample delicious foods from local restaurants, refresh your palate with a treat from the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe cart, and participate in drawings to win prizes at this annual event.  The Old Lyme Country Club will host a cash bar.

The promotional art work for this event was created by Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts graduate Rick Lacey, who is a past Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce scholarship recipient.

Tickets at $10 per person are available at “Lyme Tree: The Woman’s Exchange” in the Old Lyme Marketplace or at “Fresh Ayer Gallery” in the Old Lyme Shopping Center, or at the door.

For additional information, visit www.visitoldlyme.com or e-mail email@lolcc.com.


Middlesex Hospital Hosts “Open House” at New Medical Center in Westbrook

Exterior of Emergency Center with helicopter coming in to land.

Exterior of Emergency Center with helicopter coming in to land.

Middlesex Hospital held a very successful preview of its new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook on Saturday, April 19.  The new center is located off I-95 at Exit 65 and has a street address of 250 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook. The four-hour preview event, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., attracted a flood of visitors to the new 44,000 square foot medical facility.

The new medical center will open its doors for patients on Monday, April 28.  Until then, Middlesex Hospital will continue to provide medical services at its present medical center in Essex.  Once the new center opens in Westbrook, the Essex center will be closed down permanently.  It should be noted that Middlesex Hospital has been providing emergency medical services at various locations in Essex since the 1970s.

Middlesex Hospital’s new facility on Flat Rock Place in Westbrook is housed in a single long building, which is divided into two discrete sections.  The section on the right, when facing the building coming off Flat Rock Road, houses the Emergency Center.  The section on the left houses the Outpatient Center.  There is a single walk-in entrance to the Emergency Center.  There are two entrances to the Outpatient Center, one facing Flat Rock Place, and the other at the left side of the building.

The Emergency Center

The Emergency Department, named the “Whelen Emergency Pavilion,” offers emergency medical treatment, for things such as a heart attack, or a crushed limb.  Also, located at the Emergency Center is an “Express Care” treatment center, which offers treatment for injuries of a non-emergency nature, such as a sprained ankle, or for a minor cut.

Laurel Patt, Director, Radiology Services; Paula Howley, radiologic technologist; and Kim Carey, radiologic technologist.

Laurel Patt, Director, Radiology Services; Paula Howley, radiologic technologist; and Kim Carey, radiologic technologist.

There is also a separate ambulance entrance to the Whelen Emergency Pavilion, with a helipad located just beyond the ambulance area.  To give visitors a little extra excitement during the recent open house, the LifeStar helicopter made a special landing on the helipad and allowed visitors to explore it.

The Outpatient Center

The Outpatient Center is the section of the Medical Center, which is to the left of the Emergency Center when entering from Flat Rock Place.  The Outpatient Center has two separate entrances, one at the front of the building and another on the left side of the building.  The services offered at the Outpatient Center are extensive.  They include: a Radiology Department, which offers state-of-the-art imaging services, including the latest generation MRI, CT scanning, X-ray, digital fluoroscopy, among other services.

Interior of waiting area of the Outpatient Center.

Interior of waiting area of the Outpatient Center.

A Women’s Imaging Center is also located in the Outpatient Center.  It includes private spaces for digital mammography, ultrasound and bone density examinations.  Also in the Outpatient Center has a new MRI unit, which features the most advanced imaging with a wider and shorter opening aperture.

In addition, this is the location of the Medical Center’s laboratory, which is accessible to outpatients and for emergency services.  Finally, in the Outpatient Center there is an infusion section with a private area for receiving intravenous (IV) fluids.

On an artistic note there is also a Community Gallery featuring rotating works of art by professional, amateur and student artists.  There is also an open area stone garden off the left end of the building.

Entertainments for the Day

At the recent Saturday Open House, in addition to tours of the Emergency and Outpatient Centers, there were vehicles on display from the Westbrook and Essex Ambulance Associations, the Middlesex Hospital Paramedic service and neighboring commercial car dealers.  Also, there were free blood pressure screenings offered to visitors, and a roving magician to entertain the young.  Connecticut State Police officers distributed child fingerprint ID’s, among other amusements for the young and old.


Shoreline Medical Center Hosts Open House Today


The brand new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center, pictured above, which held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, is hosting a community Open House on Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Bring the whole family to enjoy:

    • Medical Center tours hosted by the staff
    • Free health fair with blood pressure screenings, child fingerprint IDs and more
    • “Touch-a-Truck” featuring paramedic and other vehicles
    • A roving magician and balloon sculptor to entertain the kids
    • Local food trucks offering barbecue, seafood, desserts & more for purchase

The Medical Center is located at 250 Flat Rock Place, Westbrook, CT 06498 .

For further information, contact Kathleen Russo at 860-358-6200 or Kathleen.Russo@midhosp.org


The Bowerbird Donates Almost $5,000 From Gift Wrap Program to Lyme-Old Lyme Lions


Pictured presenting the check are (from left to right) Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird, Marianne Szreders, President of L-OL Lions club and Phil Parcak, Vice-President of the L-OL Lions Club.

Pictured during presentation of the check are (from left to right) Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird, Marianne Szreders, President of Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club and Phil Parcak, Vice-President.

The Bowerbird in Old Lyme recently wrapped up their 2013 gift-wrapping campaign to raise funds for the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club.  The organization was presented with a check in the amount of $4,883.00 representing 2,870 packages wrapped.  The Bowerbird charges a nominal fee for gift-wrapping purchases and then donates 50% to local non-profit organizations.

The Bowerbird has selected the Eastern Connecticut Ballet as the recipient of the proceeds from their 2014 gift-wrap program.  The program runs from Nov. 1, 2013 through October 31, 2014.

In the past 20 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $65000.00 to 26 statewide and local non- profits.

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit www.thebowerbird.com.


Celebrate ‘National Chocolate Mousse’ Day at the Old Lyme Inn’s ‘Local Night’ Tonight

The Old Lyme Inn is introducing ‘Local Night’ on Thursdays starting at 5 p.m.  Tonight’s theme is ‘National Chocolate Mousse Day’ with The Chocolate Shell

‘Local Night’ is being billed as an opportunity to connect with the people who live or work in your neighborhood.   The Inn will be promoting community events, businesses, artists and produce.

Owners Chris and Ken Kitchings invite readers to come by and get to know the other locals.  ‘Local Night’ is intended to be a casual, public event and will be held every Thursday evening at 5 p.m.

Upcoming events planned are:

  • April 10: National Sibling Day — bring a family member and get 15 percent your bill.  Produce from Pezzello Bros. Fruit and Produce will be offered.
  • April 27: National Joe Day with Ashlawn Farm Coffee

Cease and Desist Upheld Against ‘Chocolate Shell’

After the hours of testimony in two Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals meetings and an Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting, it took less than 30 minutes for the members of the ZBA to determine that there has been a change of use at The Chocolate Shell and to uphold Zoning Enforcement Officer Ann Brown’s Cease and Desist order on the café being operated in the store by owner Barbara Crowley.

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Judith McQuade stressed that members must simply answer the question, “Has the use changed?  That’s what we want to know.”

Karen Coniff responded, “I do think there has been a use change.  I appreciate what she [Crowley] is doing there.  I just don’t think it’s the same use.”

Noting that although the café is, “a really nice thing for the town,” Kip Kotzan said, “I can’t say I really like it, so I’m going to pass on it [enforcing the regulations.]  He cited the re-doing of the space, the change of hours, the introduction of wi-fi and the extension of the fence as indicators of a change of use at the store.

Mary Stone similarly stressed that the board should confine their decision to “a very narrow area,” and then also expressed the view, “There has definitely been an expansion of use.”

McQuade said it was important to distinguish between an ‘expansion’ of use and a ‘change’ of use, as the former might be permissible.

Commenting, “It was a whole different proposition,” after the café opened, Arthur E. Sibley noted, “It wasn’t there before,” adding, “The decision was made in this town to preserve Lyme Street as much as they possibly could … I don’t think there’s any doubt this is a change of use … this operation is not really compliant and I don’t think we should allow it.”

Kotzan summed up that the café is “pretty clearly a change of use,” but stressed again that the board was, “not making a judgement that it was a bad thing.”  He suggested that if the process were followed, a permit application for the café might be approved by the Zoning Commission in due course.

When McQuade called the vote after a motion by Sibley was made to uphold the Cease and Desist, the vote was unanimous.




Traveling Tea-Cart is Art Student’s Dream, Business Funding Campaign Currently Underway

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson is an accomplished artist.  A senior at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, he will graduate in May of this year, but rather than pursuing his craft  in the more traditional fields of the post-graduate art world such as illustration or teaching, Peterson has chosen a very different path.

Fascinated by the tea-making process since a young age, Peterson has formed a company called Thorn Tea with the goal of building a traveling  tea-cart that he can, “Bring out of a trailer alongside a road, in the city, at a farmer’s market.”  He plans not only to sell cups of his own freshly-brewed, hand-blended tea from the cart but also to sell the tea itself.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Peterson’s aspirations, however, go far beyond the sheer financial side of the business.  He explains that the mission of Thorn Tea is, “to bring strangers together over a cup of tea,” or as he puts it another way, “to re-establish personal communications between people through tea.”  Peterson feels strongly that people have what he describes as, “such small circles,” and asks rhetorically, “Why not extend them through tea?”

Peterson is currently working to raise seed capital for his business through Indiegogo.com, which is, according to the company’s website, “a platform [used] to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns.”  The Thorn Tea  campaign is open through Thursday, March 20, and readers can contribute directly to Peterson’s project at this link, where Peterson has created a mini-website with extensive information about his plans.

Although his future is in tea, Peterson’s skills as an artist are not going unused.  He has designed all the company’s promotional materials, including its attractive logo, and is also working on the construction specifications of his tea-cart concept.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson's original designs.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson’s original designs.

Peterson, who says he has been making tea since “around the age of 14,” blends and packages his teas himself:  he has a variety of organic blends with exotic names like Morning Mint and Queen of Wild Flowers, along with the more traditional Chai.  Sales of his teas have been growing steadily among family and friends, but Thorn Tea is his first foray into the business world.

Driven by the idea of the old-fashioned tea-house, where, in his words, there is, “community, support and love,” Peterson is passionate about bringing “that ritual back into everyone’s lives,” and giving people the opportunity to “break down the barriers” that are keeping them from communicating effectively, thus “bringing people together again” — and all through the medium of Thorn Tea.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Thorn Tea or to donate to Peterson’s project, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thorn-tea–2

Click here to see more art by Erik Peterson.


Chamber Hosts Scholarship Fundraising Event Tonight at Lyme Academy

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce is hosting a fundraising event, “Paving the Way to a Brighter Future,” on Friday, March 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, 84, Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

This event is being held to raise funds for a new scholarship for a graduating senior from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, who plans to pursue a career in business.

Tickets are $20 per person and  refreshments will be served.

All are welcome.

Reservations to assist with planning the event would be appreciated.  RSVP to either olwenlogan@gmail.com or rosemary@bonnesantellc.com.


Middlesex Hospital on Target to Open New Westbrook Medical Center in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is on schedule to open in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is on schedule to open in April

Middlesex Hospital is on track to open a new emergency and outpatient medical center off Exit 65 of I-95 in Westbrook this coming April.  The new 44,000 square foot medical center is located at 250 Flat Rock Road, which is on the road that leads up to the Tanger Outlet Mall.

As soon as the new Westbrook Medical Center is completed, Middlesex Hospital will make the transition from its existing Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.  The new Westbrook location will be double the size of the Essex facility.  In addition, it will have the capacity to expand up to 60,000 square feet, if there is a need to do so.

Middlesex Hospital’s new Westbrook facility will have many improvements over the present Essex facility.  These include an expanded emergency center with 24 beds, as well as an urgent care area for non-emergency patients.  Patient privacy will be also be improved at the new center and there will be a separate outside entrance to the adjoining outpatient area.

In addition, the new facility will have a full service laboratory, an infusion therapy suite, expanded radiology services and a designated women’s imaging area.

Chester Company Donates $1 Million to New Center

Whelen Engineering, Inc., which is headquartered in Chester, is donating $1 million towards the building of the new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook.  The new Emergency Department in Westbrook will be aptly named the “Whelen Emergency Center.”

Whelen Engineering previously donated $1 million towards to the construction of a new Emergency Department in Middletown, which the hospital named the “Whelen Emergency Pavilion.”

Middlesex Hospital’s History of Medical Care on the Shoreline

Middlesex Hospital has a history, beginning in 1970, of providing medical care to the shoreline residents of Middlesex County.  The hospital first rented a space in Centerbrook, where it set up a full-service, satellite Emergency Department.

From its first day of operation, this Shoreline Medical Center in Centerbrook experienced phenomenal growth.  In fact, it soon became impossible for the medical center to remain at its Centerbrook location and properly serve an overrun of patients for the size of the facility.

Two Essex residents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. Knapp, came to the rescue by donating to Middlesex Hospital 10.4 acres of land on which to build a new, permanent Shoreline Medical Center in Essex. Today, the facility serves on average 2,000 to 2,500 patients a month in its Emergency Department alone.  In addition, the Medical Center’s Emergency Department has received a number of prestigious awards for its excellence in patient satisfaction.

The Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex will close this coming April when the Westbrook Medical Center opens.

The Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex will close this coming April when the Westbrook Medical Center opens.

Middlesex Hospital to date has not announced its plans for the building in Essex, once it has been closed and replaced by the new Westbrook facility.


The Chocolate Shell Café Re-opens

case _of_goodies

Barbara Crowley, owner of The Chocolate Shell on Lyme Street, has announced the re-opening of her Café on the premises.  The cases of cakes and pastries, which have been empty for a couple of weeks, are full once more, as shown in the photo at left.

The Café  was closed under a Cease and Desist order issued by Old Lyme’s Zoning Enforcement Officer, Ann Brown, who contends that the Café  is operating as a full-service take out restaurant and a full-service restaurant.  The Cease and Desist Order required Crowley to remove all tables and chairs from the front lawn and back patio, to stop selling coffee and to remove the “Café Open” flag.

Crowley has now filed an appeal with the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Pending the hearing of that appeal, Crowley has been advised that she can operate her Café under the regulations prior to the issue of the Cease and Desist.


No “Butts” About It, CVS Pharmacies Have Stopped Selling Cigarettes, While Rival, Rite Aid, Continues

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain, CVS, recently announced that it would stop selling cigarettes. However, one of its major competitors in the pharmacy business, Rite Aid, has declined not to adopt a similar policy.

Rite Aid’s Bob Neveu, who is in charge of the pharmacy at the Colonial shopping center in Essex, maintains that even though Rite Aid still sell cigarettes, it is still cutting back in selling tobacco products generally.  “We used to have a special cigar section in the stores,” he says, and now they have been eliminated.

Rite Aid’s Nevey admits he has always felt that, “It was somewhat incongruous for a health goods store, like Rite Aid, to be selling cigarettes.”  However, regardless of the store manager’s personal feelings, cigarettes enjoy a prime spot behind the checkout counter at the front of the store, where Marlboro cigarette packages and other brands are on full display.

As for the CVS pharmacy chain, in its pharmacy in downtown Old Saybrook on Boston Post Road, it indeed appears that CVS is not selling cigarettes, true to its word.  Not a single cigarette package was evident on recent visit.  However, it does appear that CVS has not given up selling other tobacco products.  On a recent visit right behind the checkout counters, although there were no cigarettes in view, there were clearly other kinds of tobacco products for sale.

When asked what they were, “We sell pipe tobacco and cigars,” said one of the women behind the CVS checkout counter.


Essex Savings Bank Reflects on Successful Year at Annual Meeting

Essex Savings Bank held its semi-annual Trustees’ Meeting Monday, Jan. 27,  at the Bank’s Plains Road corporate office in Essex.  Bank Chairman Douglas Paul welcomed the attendees and stated that he was proud to preside at the completion of the Bank’s 162nd year.

Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO, reported on the Bank’s performance for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013 by stating, “I am pleased to report that the Bank posted a net profit of $1.7 million. Bank assets grew by $6.7 million to $331.5 million. While core deposits rose by $12 million, credit quality remained strong with zero foreclosed properties and capital increased by $1.8 million to $40.4 million – far exceeding regulatory requirements.”

He continued, ” Our branches continue to attract new relationships and our newest branches in Madison and Chester are operating ahead of our projections.  During the year, the Bank generated over $76 million in loans which were comprised of both residential and business loans. We are also proud to report that our Trust Department, led by professionals, Granville Morris and Moira Martin, has brought assets under management to over $300 million. ”

Shook added, ”  As part of our Bank’s success, we will again be distributing 10% of our after-tax net income or $224,000 to non-profits in our market area.  By year end, we will have contributed back to the community in excess of $3.9 million over the past 18 years that the Community Investment Program has been in existence.”

Charles Cumello, President & CEO of Essex Financial Services Inc., reported that gross revenue for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013 was $18.7 million, which is up 12 percent.  “This year’s performance is one of the firm’s best, and marks the fourth year in a row with record revenue growth.”

Cumello informed the trustees of  the  many improvements and investments in technology and infrastructure currently underway that will increase the excellence of the firm’s client service as the firm continues to grow.  He stated that these investments in infrastructure are critical as the addition of new clients to the firm has been very robust and inquiries from potential clients continue to rise.

Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut RiverValley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC.

Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.