November 30, 2015

‘The Bowerbird’ Seeks Help to Select Next Annual Donation Recipient

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In a few short weeks, The Bowerbird located in the Old Lyme Marketplace on Halls Rd. will be selecting a new recipient for their 2015-2016 gift wrap give-back program.  Usually, this is a closed process; however, this year the store is soliciting suggestions from their customers and readers.  Do you have a favorite non-profit that could benefit from some extra funds?

Eligible organizations must be registered as a tax-exempt nonprofit 501 (c) organization, be located in Connecticut or have a Connecticut chapter.  In addition, they are not eligible if they have previously received funds through the store’s gift wrap program.

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit

The Bowerbird pioneered ‘cause’ marketing when they created their gift wrap donation program in 1992.  In the past 22 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $71,000 to 27 statewide and local non-profits proving that small businesses can make a difference.

The current recipient is the Children’s Medical Center located in Hartford.

The 2015-2016 year’s wrap donation program will begin Nov. 1, 2015.

For more information, stop by The Bowerbird in the Old Lyme Marketplace.


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

Attorney John A. Collins III

Attorney John A. Collins III

John A. Collins, III, of Old Lyme has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® 2016. Collins is an attorney specializing in the field of Personal Injury Litigation at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law in New London.

Two of Collins’s fellow attorneys at Suisman Shapiro, Matthew E. Auger and Matthew Shafner, were also named in the Best Lawyers listing — Auger in the practice area of Medical Malpractice Law and Shafner in the area of Workers’ Compensation Law.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey.  Over 55,000 leading attorneys cast more than 6.7 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas.

Best Lawyers first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

“Best Lawyers is the most effective tool in identifying critical legal expertise,” said CEO Steven Naifeh. “Inclusion on this list shows that an attorney is respected by his or her peers for professional success.”

Collins has successfully obtained verdicts or public settlements up to $10 million on behalf of injured victims over a 29-year law practice.  He currently serves as the Managing Partner of Suisman Shapiro.  The Connecticut Bar Foundation honored Attorney John A. Collins, III, in 2005 with his selection as a Life Fellow.  “Selection as a Fellow requires demonstrated superior legal ability and devotion to the welfare of the community, state and nation, as well as to the advancement of the legal foundation”.  (Source: Connecticut Bar Foundation)

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

Shafner is a nationally recognized lawyer in the fields of asbestos injury, personal injury, maritime injury and workers compensation. He was admitted to practice in Connecticut, the Federal Courts of Appeals in the 1st and 2nd Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.  His reported decisions have been published by the Appellate Court, Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 1st and 2nd Circuits.  Attorney Shafner is a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum.

In 2015, Best Lawyers recognized Matthew Shafner as “Lawyer of the Year.” He is only the ninth person ever to receive the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association’s lifetime achievement award since the association formed in 1954.

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


Essex Savings Bank Donates to Non-Profits

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank announced the completion of distribution from the Directors’ portion of the Community Investment Fund. Total distributions for the year will amount to $100,000 and will surpass $4 million since the program’s 1996 inception of distributing 10% of after tax net income. Donations for this portion have been allocated to the following non-profit organizations.

Angel Charities, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * The Chester Historical Society, Inc. * Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. * Community Foundation of Middlesex County * Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Deep River Historical Society * Essex Historical Society * Florence Griswold Museum * The Ivoryton Library Association * Ivoryton Village Alliance * Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center & Theatre * Lawrence & Memorial Hospital * Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts * Lyme Art Association * Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau * MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust * Middlesex Hospital * Middlesex United Way * The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc. * Rotary Club of Essex Foundation * Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Inc. * Valley Shore YMCA * Vista (Vocational Independent Supported Transitional Alternative).

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.


CIRMA Recognizes Estuary Transit District for Promoting Risk Management as an Organizational Priority

town_transit_busThe Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) presented a 2015 Risk Management Achievement Award to the Estuary Transit District for making risk management an organizational priority. Their efforts, led by the District’s Director Joseph Commerford, created a culture focused on the safety of its employees and passengers.

The District established broad-based programs to reduce loss costs, including creating a formal Return-to-Work program, performing facility assessments, reviewing incident reports to identify root causes, and revising procedures.

The achievement award was presented to the Estuary Transit District at CIRMA’s May 22 awards ceremony. CIRMA, the state’s leading municipal insurer, is a member-owned and governed organization that works to empower municipalities, public schools, and local public agencies to better manage risk.

David Demchak, Senior Vice President of CIRMA, said to the audience of almost 100 municipal and school leaders, “Our awards program acknowledges the organizational and the personal commitment our members have made to protect their fellow employees from injury, protect property, and to keep Connecticut’s communities safe.”

CIRMA’s mission is to reduce losses and their costs by improving its members’ understanding of risk and the ways to manage it. CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Awards program was begun in 1981 to recognize the risk management and safety initiatives that prevent accidents and make positive improvements in Connecticut communities.

The program has expanded over the years, recognizing achievements in such areas as property management and sustained results. The program provides CIRMA members a forum in which they can share ideas and learn new methods to reduce losses.

CIRMA, owned and governed by its members, operates two risk-sharing pools: the Workers’ Compensation Pool and the Liability-Automobile-Property Pool. It also provides risk management services to self- insured municipalities and local public agencies. Today, CIRMA’s membership includes over 85 percent of the state’s municipalities and has Premiums of $90 million and Assets under management of over $360 million.

For more information about CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Award Program, contact George Tammaro, CIRMA Risk Management Supervisor, at, or visit


Lyme-Based Julia Balfour Creative Agency Receives 14 Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards

The Julia Balfour LLC creative agency located in Lyme, Conn., was honored with 14 awards.

The Julia Balfour LLC creative agency located in Lyme, Conn., has been honored with 14 Connecticut Art Directors Club awards.

Julia Balfour, LLC has been honored with 14 Connecticut Art Directors Club awards for design projects undertaken by the company in the past year.  The works include Exhibition Kiosks, Interactive Apps, Social Media Campaigns, Websites, Logos, and Invitation designs.

Work honored for the following nine partners were:

Gold Awards


  • Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network “Stop the Stigma” Campaign – Social Media (see image above)
  • Mystic Aquarium Exploration Wild Kiosks – Educational and Museum Information Design


  • Mystic Aquarium Exploration Wild Kiosks – Interactive App (see image above)

Silver Awards

  • New England Society of Healthcare Communications Conference Logo – Logo System
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Holiday Market Series – Announcements / Invitations / Greeting Cards
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Symphony Invitation – Announcements / Invitations / Greeting Cards

Excellence Awards

  • Hartford HealthCare Web Style Guide  – Employee Publications
  • Florence Griswold Museum Website – Cultural & Educational Websites
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Fall Newsletter – Pro Bono Design
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Symphony Poster – Poster Series
  • James Merrill House Website – Cultural & Educational Websites
  • Dreamup Toys Microsite – E-commerce Websites
  • Structural Graphics Google Adwords Landing Page – Online Promotion
  • Twin Networks Presentation Folder – Brochures / Folders

Julia Balfour, founder and Creative Director of the agency, comments, “I’m so proud of the work our team has done over the past year. We’ve gone from a one-woman shop to a 15-person team in four years.  The work we’ve produced, this year in particular, demonstrates the passion, strategy, and innovation that this team has poured into their work. And of course we couldn’t do any of it without our fabulous clients.” she said.

Julia Balfour, LLC is a full service creative agency specializing in design, strategy, innovation, and social media. Located in Lyme, CT, the studio works within Healthcare, Finance, Travel & Tourism, Non-Profit, Retail, Beauty and Museum & Fine Art.

The Connecticut Art Directors Club seeks to promote standards of excellence in the field of creative design within the state.  Their yearly awards show brings together and highlights the exceptional design work of the past year.

For more information about Julia Balfour, LLC, visit and/or                                          


Action-Oriented Old Saybrook Chamber Bolsters Business Environment


The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

Founded in 1939, the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. The more than 500 members are the driving force behind the organization and also form its strong volunteer base. These, in turn, support the Chamber’s two full time employees, Executive Director Judy Sullivan and Member Services Manager Karen Pinette.

Sullivan explains, “Our job is to promote Old Saybrook as a place to work and live and play.” Composed of a diverse group of nonprofits, retail companies, insurance companies, banks, and more, the Chamber unites under their common goals of advancing the economic vitality and improving the quality of life in the community, as well as bringing businesses and new jobs to town.

Executive Director Judy Sullivan

Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Sullivan takes a brief break from her work.

With about 25 percent of Old Saybrook businesses as members, the Chamber accomplishes its ambitious goals through a variety of community events including educational programs on topics ranging from networking and email marketing software to social media publicity and customer service. The Chamber also sponsors an annual Chili-Fest to fund the college scholarship program it runs for students resident in Old Saybrook or children of Chamber members, as well as an annual Arts and Crafts Festival, which is being held this year on July 25 and 26.

In addition, the Chamber has initiated the Chamber Mail program by which every new resident receives information about surrounding businesses, and runs the Chamber Dollars program, a gift certificate program involving over 50 businesses. The Chamber also works frequently with nonprofits on community-oriented projects.


The smiling faces of Executive Director Judy Sullivan (left) and Membership Services Manager Karen Pinette greet visitors to the light and airy Chamber building.

An important aspect of the Chamber is that they serve as a link between businesses and governments to facilitate lines of communication. Most recently, at ‘Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol,’ Old Saybrook Chamber representatives spoke to senators and representatives about issues facing businesses in the state, such as Connecticut’s 15 percent occupancy tax.

OS_Chamber_Exterior_rearThe Chamber also helps foster inter-business relationships and once a month, a Chamber Connections event is held. These are casual gatherings at various local businesses, which facilitate networking between — and sometimes even within — businesses.

Sullivan grew up in Old Saybrook and graduated from Old Saybrook High School. When her youngest child started school, she fell into her role at the Chamber, first on a part-time basis and ultimately working her way up to executive director. Sullivan notes, “The hardest part of the job is being careful with each action because somebody might be affected. We constantly have to be aware of the impact of any actions we might take. We always want to leave a positive impact.”

She adds, “I’m really proud of the Chamber — it’s been here a long time. I love promoting the town I grew up in. And I find it so rewarding when we see tangible success in businesses.”


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.



Essex Savings Bank Donates Over $29,000 to 90 Organizations as Part of Community Investment Program

ESSEX – Results of the recent voting by Essex Savings Bank customers who participated in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on Wednesday, April 8.

The Top Ten Winners in attendance received special recognition. They were in order by number of votes:

  1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
  2. Forgotten Felines, Inc.
  3. Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc.
  4. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
  5. Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM)
  6. Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc.
  7. The Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1
  8. Bikes for Kids, Inc.
  9. Pet Connections, Inc.
  10. Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV)

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2015 Community Investment Program, began on Feb. 2 and concluded on March 2. The program entitles the Bank’s customers to select up to three charities from a list of 90 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank stated, “At Essex Savings Bank, we believe the way to move the world forward is by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year, the Bank donates 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This year, the Bank has allocated $98,741 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the Bank’s customers.

According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 6,987 votes were cast this year for a total of $29,620. By year end 2015, the total distribution of charitable funds will reach 4 million dollars since the inception of the Bank’s Community Investment Program in 1996.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley 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, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Click here to see the full results with voting numbers and amounts donated to each organization.


Rep. Carney Tours Bureau’s Sugarhouse, “Tastes Good … Good for the State”

Don Bureau demonstrates part of the maple syrup-making process to Rep. Devin Carney.

Don Bureau (left) demonstrates part of the maple syrup-making process to Rep. Devin Carney.

Bureau’s Sugarhouse & Maple Kettle Korn facility in Old Lyme has been in the business of making maple syrup since 1993, and kettle korn since 1999. State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) said after a tour of the facility on Saturday, March 28, that businesses like Bureau’s help support the state’s agri-business and make a large economic impact here in Connecticut.

Carney, who represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, met with Don Bureau and his family, who showed Carney around the maple sugaring facility, which includes maple trees and kettle korn, along with maple syrup production.

Rep. Carney looks at the maple sugar facility in old Lyme from the outside.

Rep. Carney looks at the maple sugar facility in old Lyme from the outside.

“Bureau’s is producing quality products and helping to shape the future of agriculture here in the state,” Carney said. “This business is a treat for our district –it produces some of the best local products our state has to offer.”

“It tastes good and it’s good for the state,” Carney added.

For more information about Bureau’s Sugarhouse & Maple Kettle Korn, visit


The Bowerbird Names CT Children’s Medical Center as New Recipient for Annual Donation

Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird (back row, second from left) presents a check to the Eastern Connecticut Ballet.

Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird (back row, second from left) presents a check for $5,228 to the Eastern Connecticut Ballet.

The Bowerbird in Old Lyme has selected Connecticut Children’s Medical Center located in Hartford, Conn., as the recipient of the proceeds from their 2014 gift-wrap program. The program runs from Nov. 1, 2014 through Oct. 31, 2015.

The Bowerbird in Old Lyme recently wrapped up their 2014 gift-wrapping campaign to raise funds for the Eastern Connecticut Ballet.

Eastern Connecticut Ballet was presented with a check in the amount of $5,228.00 representing 4,000 packages wrapped. The Bowerbird charges a nominal fee for gift-wrapping purchases and donates 50 percent to local non-profit organizations

The Bowerbird pioneered ‘cause’ marketing when they created their gift wrap donation program in 1992. In the past 22 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $71,000 to 27 statewide and local non- profits proving that small businesses can make a difference.

The Bowerbird is located in the Old Lyme Marketplace.

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit


Free Learn to Row Classes in Old Lyme

Learn to RowTomorrow, Sunday, March 1, Lizzie Simons is hosting a Free Learn To Row Day from 2 to 3 p.m. at Healthy Addiction, 5-1 Davis Rd. East, Old Lyme. Simons is the only local Concept2 Rowing/UCanRow2 Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor.  

In the class tomorrow, Simons will lead you through the basics of the rowing ergometer.

The benefits of rowing are numerous; it is a total-body low-impact cardiovascular exercise which can also build muscular strength and endurance. Check out the following links:

Indoor Rowing is hailed as “The New Spinning” by Harper’s Bazaar:

If you are thinking of attending tomorrow’s class, all you need to take are socks, sneakers, tight-fitting shorts or long athletic pants, a tee-shirt or tank-top and a bottle of water. 

Indoor Rowing classes are half price for this month.

Simons has created a Facebook page for tomorrow’s class at

RSVPs on that page would be appreciated in order to facilitate planning.


‘Healthy Addiction’ in Old Lyme Offers Variety of New Indoor Rowing Classes, All Levels Welcome

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Healthy Addiction, located at  5 – 1 Davis Rd. East in Old Lyme, has announced the opening of four, new indoor rowing classes each week.   These classes are run by Lizzie Simons, a certified “rowing” and “learn-to-row” instructor, as well as a personal trainer.

Monday and Thursday classes are for advanced rowers, meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with “Long and Strong” rowing on Mondays, and “Strength and Speed” on Wednesdays.  Tuesday and Thursday classes take place between 5:30 and 7 p.m., with an emphasis on “Heart Health”.

Lizzie Simon in action

Lizzie Simons in action

Rod Clingman, a Tuesday-Thursday rower, comments, “Staying true to my New Year’s resolution of keeping in shape, I was very happy to learn about the offerings of Healthy Addiction … I took advantage of a free learn to row seminar on a Sunday afternoon and was quickly brought up to speed by the instructor, Lizzie Simons.  I was now ready to row!  He continues, “We run through different drills which include rowing and stretching.  Lizzie has a new lesson plan for each session to keep your workout fresh.  Healthy Addiction really is a hidden gem.”

For more information, visit or call 860.237.3707.


JLN Associates of Old Lyme Purchases Top Rung Inspection & Testing of Salem, CT

JLN Top Rung
JLN Associates LLC of Old Lyme has announced the acquisition of the Top Rung Inspection and Testing Company. Top Rung has been a leader in the testing of fire department ground and aerial ladders in the New England region since 1996.

By incorporating the Top Rung business line into JLN Associates, it aligns a proven process with the strengths and resources of JLN Associates that will allow JLN to further extend its services to the municipal fire services on the east coast.

The addition of the ladder inspection and testing services will complement JLN’s municipal services division. Ladder testing services will be added to JLN’s hose testing and community risk and fire department support business lines.

JLN Associates Principal John L. Nickerson said.“The acquisition allows JLN to become a more valuable supplier of services to the emergency response community. The core values of Top Rung and JLN align and make for a seamless transition into the JLN business model.”

JLN Associates has been providing safety and fire protection services since 1999. JLN core services include a diverse safety product line including field safety services, providing emergency response management and staffing to industrial facilities, technical consulting to municipal emergency services community, along with regulatory required safety and specialized training at JLN’s Training Center located in Old Lyme, Conn.

For further information about JLN Ladder Testing or other Safety/Training Services, visit JLN’s Web Page or contact John L. Nickerson at (860)-434-3443 or (855)-SAFEJLN.


Local Lawmakers Meet With Old Saybrook Chamber 

Gathering for a photo at the legislative forum are, from left to right, Angus McDonald of Angus McDonald/Gary Sharpe & Associates; Leigh-Bette Maynard of Liberty Bank; Kristen Roberts of Comcast; Leland McKenna of Middlesex Hospital Primary Care; Kenneth Gribbon of Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; Lori Woll of the Octagon @ Mystic Marriott; Judy Sullivan – Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Linda Brophy of Edward Jones and Suzie Beckman – Executive Director of the Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission.

Gathering for a photo at the legislative forum are, from left to right, Angus McDonald of Angus McDonald/Gary Sharpe & Associates; Leigh-Bette Maynard of Liberty Bank; Kristen Roberts of Comcast; Leland McKenna of Middlesex Hospital Primary Care; Kenneth Gribbon of Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; Lori Woll of the Octagon @ Mystic Marriott; Judy Sullivan – Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Linda Brophy of Edward Jones and Suzie Beckman – Executive Director of the Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission.

State Sen. Art Linares (R-33) and State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) on Jan. 15 met with the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce to discuss issues facing the state legislature and their efforts to improve the state’s business climate.

“This type of discussion and transparency amongst elected officials and constituents is essential,” Rep. Carney said. “We have to understand the concerns held by the people of our towns, along with the input from the business community, and be their voice in the Capitol.”

“We can make Connecticut a Top 20 state for business,” Sen. Linares said. “To get there, we must pass policies which reduce tax and regulatory burdens on businesses. We must pass pro-growth policies which unlock our potential as a state, address our weaknesses, and capitalize on our strengths. We need to listen to what Connecticut businesses here in Old Saybrook and across the state are telling us.”

Attendees at the legislative forum discussed a variety of issues, including state taxes, funding for transportation infrastructure, and the need to eliminate burdensome unfunded state mandates.


Nautilus Architects of Lyme Receives ‘Best Of Houzz 2015′ Award

Pool house on Cove Rd. designed by Nautilus Architects

Pool house on Cove Rd. designed by Nautilus Architects

Nautilus Architects of Lyme, Conn., has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design & Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. This modern design studio was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014.

Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, says, “I encourage my clients and those considering any building/renovation project to use Houzz as a way to discover design ideas that work.”

Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz, comments, “Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project.” She comments, “We’re delighted to recognize Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Nautilus Architects and Chris Arelt at this link.


Mindfulness Series Starts at Vitality in Old Lyme


From the boardroom to the classroom to the yoga room, mindfulness techniques are being used to manage stress, improve performance, gain insight and clarity and improve time management.  Find out what mindfulness is all about in a six-week series starting today at 5:45 p.m. at Vitality Spa & Wellness of Old Lyme.
Anderson Cooper started everyone talking about mindfulness in early December when his CBS 60 Minutes program discussed the time that he spent with Jon Kabat-Zinn on a weekend-long mindfulness retreat.  A meditation expert of over 47 years, Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and developer of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.
But Cooper was not the first skeptical newscaster to benefit from mindfulness.  ABC News Anchor Dan Harris talks about how MBSR helped him after his very public on-air breakdown in 2004.  He was drawn to mindfulness despite “massive misgivings” but found that MBSR provided a secular and sustainable practice that allowed him to regain control of his life and his career.
One of those “well known secrets,” MBSR is finally gaining traction as medical experts recognize it is a valuable tool in the management of stress and depression.  Both the US National Institutes for Health and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK recommend mindfulness as a treatment and as a preventative tool in addition to, or as an alternative to traditional pharmacological treatments.
“Have you been wondering about the benefits of meditation, but didn’t know what to ask? Do you want to start a mediation routine in your daily life, but are not sure you have the time?” asks Karen Gomez, a Holistic Life Coach at Vitality Wellness, who has been practicing and teaching mindfulness techniques for over 20 years.
Gomez notes, “One of the most rewarding things about my work is seeing people who come keyed up … ‘come on, get on with it, teach me these techniques, I haven’t got time to hang around’ … and by the end of the series they realize that mindfulness has created time for them.  It has given them back time, it has created that 25th hour in the day or better still it has taught them that they really don’t need 25 stressful hours to achieve all that they want to achieve.”
She continues, “Mindfulness has taught them to live in the moment, these techniques have shown them how being present in every moment of your life and not wasting time on the past or the future creates space, creates time and creates balance.  Their performance at work improves, they gain clarity in their thinking at work and at home with their families and most importantly they reduce stress and learn to live and love life again.”
Each weekly interactive class will cover techniques you can integrate into your busy schedule easily, a group coaching component, as well as a meditation segment.  The purpose of this series is to enable participants to gain a sound background in holistic approaches for stress management and share a variety of effective relaxation techniques which include, deep breathing, positive thinking, affirmations, visualizations, muscle relaxation, with reviews of Yoga, Meditation, and Reiki.
If you would prefer to schedule 1:1 sessions at Vitality, call 860.434.1792.
Call Vitality at 860.434.1792 for more information or find Vitality Spa & Wellness at 14 Lyme St. Old Lyme or on Facebook and online at

Santa & Mrs. Claus, Blumenthal, Courtney in New London to Support ‘Toys for Tots’ Campaign

Santa will have gift for every child at Saturday's event.

Santa will have a free gift for every child at Saturday’s event.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride into the new Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in New London this Saturday, Dec. 13, from 12 to 3 p.m. to join United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney in supporting the U.S. Reserve Marine Corps annual ‘Toys for Tots’ campaign.

This free event will include photos with Santa and the whole family … even pets are welcome. Santa will greet visitors in a Harley-Davidson® sidecar set in front of a traditional stone fireplace within the former Coca-Cola® factory. Local sports celebrities including Casey Cochran (UConn football player) and Roger LaFrancois (former Boston Red Sox player and St. Louis Cardinal’s coach) will be on hand to sign autographs.

The brand new showroom not only features motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft, but also boasts an extensive selection of riding gear, accessories, clothing, and toys; there’s something fun for every member of the family at this exciting new venue. Each child will receive a free gift from Santa, and festive refreshments will be offered.

Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson is the New London County collection and staging headquarters for ‘Toys for Tots’, locally sponsored by the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League. For months, the community has been donating toys and the Marines have been collecting, sorting and staging the gifts inside of Mike’s Famous®. The initiative will provide toys to children represented by dozens of charities and non-profit organizations this holiday season. Additionally, non-perishable food items are being accepted for donation to the Gemma E. Moran United Way Food Center.

NL shop front

Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson store in New London

“We are thrilled beyond belief to be working with Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson this year on our annual toy drive,” said Jim Reid, Junior Vice Commandant of the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League. “Mike has gone above and beyond the call of duty and has spent a lot of resources to accommodate our needs. In past years, we have worked in unheated warehouses and other tough conditions. Our very comfortable headquarters at Mike’s Famous is absolutely fantastic, and his staff has been great to work with. We are extremely grateful,” Reid added.

Following the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s positive November jobs report, the 2015 economy looks bright for the region. This bodes well for U.S. businesses like Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, and its owner, Mike Schwartz, who invested in the City of New London this past year. He purchased the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant on Bank Street in the late summer of 2013, and by soliciting suggestions from the community, transformed the crumbling building into a customer led showroom and retail destination, which opened in the spring of 2014. This adaptive reuse project has created 40 full and part-time jobs in a  unique, authentic environment, which merges two iconic brands, Coca-Cola® and Harley-Davidson®.

Coca-Cola’s® 2014 holiday campaign, “Make Someone Happy,” focuses on the spirit of generosity and togetherness, and encourages small acts of kindness. Coke® is bringing back their original Santa, imagined over 80 years ago by artist Haddon Sundblom, to elicit a feeling of history and nostalgia. In keeping with this theme, elected officials, local celebrities, Boy Scouts, Young Marines, senior Marine officers and military personnel are donating their time on Saturday to participate in the ‘Toys for Tots’ event at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, bringing the larger community together to help others.

The objectives of ‘Toys for Tots’ are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson is located at 951 Bank Street in New London, CT. The new dealership opened in March of 2014 in 55,000 square feet within the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant. It also represents the Can-Am® brands of ATVs, Side-by-Sides, Spyders® and Sea-Doo® Watercraft, and carries the full line of Polaris® recreational products.


Final Weekend for Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale in Old Lyme

Hide Painting by Travis Harden

Hide Painting by featured artist Travis Harden

Tribal Crafts Inc., will hold its annual holiday sale each weekend through Dec. 14.  Storefront hours are Saturdays 10 am to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 86 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace (next to Rob Rivers Salon).

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

The non-profit organization is based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) and the sale of items directly benefits Lakota artists and crafters of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

The Lakota people face immense challenges on the reservation. According to 2010 census data, Ziebach County, which makes up the majority of the Cheyenne River Reservation, is America’s poorest county with unemployment estimates of above 75 percent.

Reservation life is about daily survival.  Being able to help by way of Tribal Crafts is a vital part of the organization’s mission.  Not only does Tribal Crafts affirm and celebrate the beautiful traditional crafts for which the Lakota are known, but it is also an important source of financial assistance.

The featured artist this year is Travis Harden:  among his items are paintings on hide, paper and pottery.  Harden also crafts jewelry from buffalo horn and elk bone and inlays it with turquoise, yellow sandstone and pipestone Harden says it is not always easy to sell artwork on the Reservation.  “When you know Tribal Crafts is coming, you know they’ll be buying from you and that could be your rent for the month,” notes Harden, referring to the annual trip made by representatives of Tribal Crafts and FCCOL.  The church and the people of Cheyenne River will celebrate 30 years of partnership in 2015.

In recent years, Tribal Crafts has also sold the work of Haitian artists affiliated with The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education, a program with strong ties to FCCOL. Other items on sale include hand-made silver and beaded jewelry, vibrant Haitian paintings and sculptures, dream catchers, quilts, purses and more.

Necklaces by featured artist Travis Harden, who will be in the store Nov. 22, 23.

Necklaces by featured artist Travis Harden, who will be in the store Nov. 22, 23.

To learn more, visit

Like Tribal Crafts on Facebook at

Visit Tribal Crafts’ online shop at


Business Breakfast This Morning Features Political Candidates

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business Breakfast this morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Ave., featuring local candidates for State Senator and State Representative.