November 28, 2015

Old Lyme Historical Society Offers Books, Calendars for Sale, Dec. 5, 12 & 19

The Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS) will be offering its books and 2016 calendars for sale, just in time for Christmas shopping. Covering decades and centuries of local history and personages, they make a unique gift for friends and family.

The OLHS center, located in the old Grange Hall at 55 Lyme Street, will be open Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For further information, visit, or just stop by the Grange.

Take a Mystic Seaport Lantern Light Tour on Selected Dates Through Dec. 20

Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport. Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport. Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

Holiday Tradition Takes Visitors Back to Christmas Eve, 1876

Mystic Seaport will open the 2015 season of its Lantern Light Tours on Friday, Nov. 27.

A New England holiday tradition, Lantern Light Tours is a 70-minute progressive play that is set on Christmas Eve in 1876. Featuring actors from Connecticut and neighboring states, the cast weaves a heart-warming holiday story in the setting of the historic buildings and vessels of the Museum.

The Lantern Light Tour plot is changed every year and the writing and production planning begins early in the spring. For 2015, the story focusses on the Sawyer family, a young couple expecting their first child who come to Mystic and are not able to find lodging for the night. There is a surprise inheritance, a villainous Mr. King, a rousing tavern dance, and a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas in their busy toy shop.

“While not a direct telling of the Nativity, we adapted many details of the story to our setting in amusing and clever ways that we think the audience will enjoy,” said Denise Kegler, the program manager for Lantern Light Tours.

Visitors join a group of 16 to tour the Museum’s 19th-century village, stopping at designated points to take in the next chapter of the story. Performances are November 27, 28 and December 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20. Tours begin at 5 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes.

Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 860.572.5331. Tickets are $32 for adults ($26 for Mystic Seaport members) and $25 for children ages 5-17 ($19 for youth members). Lantern Light Tours are not recommended for children under the age of 4.

The 2015 Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport is presented by Citizens Bank.

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The state-of-the-art Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world access to the Museum’s renowned archives.

Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $25 for adults and $16 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free.

For more information, visit  and follow Mystic Seaport on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.


Duck River Garden Club Hosts Community Wreathmaking Event, Dec. 8

339x354-Christmas_wreath_fundraiserThe Duck River Garden Club will host its Annual Community Wreathmaking event on Monday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Roger’s Lake Community Center, Roger’s Lake Trail, Old Lyme.

Duck River Garden Club members and friends plan to create 18 large holiday wreaths for our town buildings. In addition, Girl Scouts and members will make “tussie mussies’ to decorate trays delivered by Meals On Wheels to Old Saybrook and Lyme/Old Lyme residents.

New members are most welcome. Bring some greens, gloves, clippers and the gift of your precious time—along with lots of holiday cheer. Refreshments will be served. There is no charge for this event.


Happy Thanksgiving … and Let’s Talk Turkey

We wish all our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving and are pleased today to republish an article that our good friend Linda Ahnert first wrote for us to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2007.

Who Doesn’t Love Thanksgiving?

By Linda Ahnert

Giving thanks_bookA few years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published.  The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving.  But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.  Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England:  “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.”  Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu.  It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well.   According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese.  But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table.  Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn.  In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level.  The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food.  Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America.  (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!)  And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country.  Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family.  (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday.  Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s  Book,”  a popular women’s magazine.  She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving.  She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country.   The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu.   Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity.  The result is a true “melting pot” of America.  The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table.  In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe.  There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice.  Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding.  Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly.  Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621.  In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”


Have You Voted for Braiden Yet?

An all-new look for Braiden was revealed at his last performance. Photo by E. Sunshine.

An all-new look for Braiden was revealed at his last performance. Photo by E. Sunshine.

Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine is the only Connecticut representative on NBC’s The Voice this season, and at 15, he is the youngest ever to appear on the show.  The program, which is currently the top-rated show on television, airs tonight at 9 p.m.

During the conclusion of the previous show, Sunshine was revealed as one of the top 20 contestants moving on to the Live performances, which start tonight.

A official photo of Braiden for 'The Voice.'

A official photo of Braiden for ‘The Voice.’

We caught up with Sunshine — a sophomore at Lyme-Old Lyme High School — yesterday in Los Angeles where he is busy rehearsing for tonight’s live competition.

In an exclusive e-mail interview with, he told us that his favorite experience so far on The Voice has been, “Meeting the incredible people other artists and making life-long friends. These guys are incredible performers and amazing people.”  He added that other highlights have included, “Meeting and working with the coaches, meeting my idol John Popper and playing on stage with Blues Traveler.”

We asked how long he has been singing and Sunshine responded, “I started singing at five, but I joined my first band at age nine.  We recorded two original albums, then they headed off to college, so I have been singing with another group named Stone Creek and doing a lot of acoustic solo performing.”  Sunshine is well-known in Old Lyme as a veteran performer at the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau annual talent show, The Bizz, which has organized viewing parties for both his performances to date.

Finally, we wondered how life back at Lyme-Old Lyme High School has been between the shows and how his classmates have reacted to his new national stardom. He replied, “They were really happy for me. A lot of people congratulated me and were asking lots of questions about the coaches.”

He summed up the whole experience in the words, “This has been a dream come true!”

To keep this incredible experience alive for this naturally humble young man (and, of course, the associated fame for Lyme and Old Lyme!), Sunshine is now dependent on votes to continue advancing in the show, so here at, we’re delighted to show our support for him by sharing information about how to vote for Braiden.

There are four voting platforms:

  1. The Voice app on your phone
  2. Twitter:follow Braiden.sunshine
  3. The Voice Facebook page
  4. website

Each platform will accept up to 10 votes from each viewer.

Additional votes can be cast with an iTunes purchase:

If you download the song performed on the show, it counts as one vote, but if the song is in the Top 10 at the close of voting, iTunes votes are multiplied by 10.

Voting is open for 14 hours, starting at 10:01 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.

Vote while the show is in progress on Monday using the voice app.

Voting closes at noon on Tuesday.



Editor’s Note: Follow Braiden by going to Follow this link to view Braiden’s performance on the previous show:


Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT Essex Holiday House Tour, Dec. 12

Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT announces its 13th biennial Essex Holiday House Tour on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour will feature seven beautiful village homes, including a landmark house, all decorated for the holidays and within walking distance from the Town Hall for easy access to village shops and restaurants as well.

Essex Historical Society’s Pratt House and Hills Academy and the Connecticut River Museum will also be open free to ticket holders. The John Pratt II Homestead is a fully furnished historic home that was started in 1701 and finished in 1732. The Connecticut River Museum will feature, for the 27th year in a row, its remarkable model railroad exhibit created by noted artist and railroad buff, Steve Cryan, who usually makes annual changes to his delightful work. Enticing boutique wares for everyone’s shopping list and a small café at Essex Town Hall will also merit exploring.

Tickets are available at $25 each in advance from 1 N Main (Essex), Saybrook Country Barn (Old Saybrook, The Bowerbird (Old Lyme), Celebrations (Deep River), Ceramica (Chester), and Walker & Loden (Essex, Madison, and New Haven). Tickets on the day of the tour will be sold at the Essex Town Hall for $30 each, and tickets ordered after Dec. 5 will be held there. For groups of 15 or more, tickets may be ordered in advance at $20 each.

When ordering by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and send your check to: Child & Family Agency, Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex 06426.

For more information about the tour or the Agency, and to purchase tickets online, visit or call 860-443-2896.


Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme BOF Attorney Suggestions are Sensible, Now Let’s Move Forward Collaboratively

To the Editor:

Findings given in Old Lyme WPCA Probe,” The Day-October 22, 2015, accurately summarizes the preliminary findings of the outside attorney, Robert DeCrescenzo, hired by the Old Lyme Board of Finance to determine whether cost overruns in the WPCA’s waste-water study for the DEEP were the result of improper conduct.

I attended the Board of Finance meeting and listened to attorney DeCrescenzo outline his conclusions and recommendations and find them exceedingly logical and reasonable.  He recommended the formation of a project-specific oversight committee consisting of members from the Board of Selectmen office, the Board of Finance and the WPCA, in part because he found a “not uncommon, lack of institutional communication.” The attorney also made clear what he did not find: “I found no evidence that anyone working on the project was not working in the best interest of the Town of Old Lyme.  They were all working to complete the goal, which was to finish the waste-water management study.”  

The attorney’s sensible recommendations to appoint a three-member oversight committee and the appointment of a town employee as project manager should be immediately endorsed by the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance. Let’s move forward in a collaborative manner in order to complete the waste-water management study and identify solutions consistent with DEEP requirements while balancing the best long term interests of all Old Lyme residents.


Jeff Hartmann,
Old Lyme


Complete a Survey on Underage Drinking, Help LYSB, CASFY Win $1,000

LogoIn order to win $1,000, the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) and the Community Action for Substance Free Youth Coalition (CASFY) need adult community members to complete an online, anonymous survey regarding underage drinking and other youth substance use in Lyme and Old Lyme.

All adults living in Lyme or Old Lyme are eligible to complete the survey.

The survey results will also help understand the community’s perceptions of youth substance use and assist the CASFY Coalition with future prevention planning.

This brief survey is available now at  It is completely anonymous and confidential.

LymeLine readers can help by completing the survey and asking their friends in the community to do so, too.

Your assistance is much appreciated.


CASFY Coalition Launches Third Media Campaign to Reduce Underage Drinking

The new and powerful campaign message from CASFY.

The new and powerful campaign message from CASFY.

Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY), the local prevention coalition for Lyme and Old Lyme, has launched a new media campaign aimed at teens, parents and all adults in the communities of Lyme and Old Lyme. Community members can already see Shoreline Sanitation trucks with the image of hands holding red cups and the message, “Don’t be a party to underage drinking.  It’s against the law.”

Residents will see this message on posters in the community, on social media, at community events and on a Hall’s Road banner before Thanksgiving, a time when underage drinking tends to increase.

“While underage drinking has decreased nationally and in Lyme-Old Lyme among our school age youth according national and local data, it is still our Number One youth drug problem,” reports Karen Fischer, CASFY’s Prevention Coordinator.  “CASFY members chose our new campaign with the objective of informing underage drinkers and their families about the legal and other risks they take by breaking alcohol-related laws.”

Mary Seidner, Director of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), notes that residents can take a quiz on alcohol laws on  “Select the link to Alcohol Law Quiz.  You will read about the laws and seven scenarios where underage drinking or related violations occur.  You determine what charges may apply in each scenario and then can check your answers.”

Rebecca Griffin was one of the CASFY members who took the quiz at a recent meeting.  She comments, “Believe me, the answers are eye-opening and in some cases jaw-dropping.”

Old Lyme residents will see the campaign message all over town on Shoreline Sanitation trucks.

Old Lyme residents will see the campaign message all over town on Shoreline Sanitation trucks.

CASFY’s campaign is a reminder to parents to discuss alcohol laws and the possible consequences of breaking them, as well as their own family rules.  Resident Trooper Gary Inglis emphasizes, “Few teens and underage young adults realize that breaking underage drinking laws can place their families and themselves in legal and financial jeopardy.”

He adds, “Even an infraction for underage possession of alcohol is not just a ticket.  The underage youth who received the ticket is subject to suspension of a driver’s license for 30-60 days, depending on where the infraction occurred, in addition to a fine. Plus the family’s car insurance will likely significantly increase or could even be cancelled.”

Ellen Maus, the school nurse at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, reminds adults to secure any alcohol and prescription medications to reduce access and prevent any legal or health problems that could occur in their own homes.  “I’m especially thinking about sleepovers or parties where parents might not be aware that teens in their home are taking alcohol or pills from their liquor or medicine cabinets.”

“This campaign is one example of how the whole community has pulled together to work on keeping our youth safe,” stresses Fischer.  “School personnel, police officers, members of the business community, parents, youth—the cooperation and collaboration is outstanding.”

CASFY would especially like to thank Gary Yuknat of Shoreline Sanitation for donating the use of his trucks for displaying CASFY’s campaign graphics.

Local businesses and others wishing to participate in the campaign by displaying campaign images on posters, flyers, websites and Facebook pages or other social media should contact Karen Fischer, 860-434-7208 or email

Funding for the media campaign is from a federal grant through the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

The mission of CASFY is to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug use among youth by collaborating with the community to raise awareness, modify social norms, educate youth and adults, initiate policy change and promote healthy activities.  All youth and adults who live or work in Lyme or Old Lyme are invited to join in their efforts, or their next meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at LYSB. 

For more information or to contact CASFY, visit or call 860-434-7208.


Owner of Katharine Hepburn Estate in Fenwick Buys Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse

Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse

Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse

Frank Sciame will soon be the new owner of the Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse following an online auction to purchase the lighthouse from the United States Coast Guard. The auction began on July 15, 2015 at 9 a.m. An opening bid of $10,000 was made on Aug. 5, and seven bidders participated in the auction which ended Sept. 1, with Sciame’s high bid of $290,000. This is expected to be the first transaction in Connecticut under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

The Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse is located on the Long Island Sound and is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, which requires the structure to be maintained in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. The Department of Homeland Security United States Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team will continue to maintain the navigational aids at the property.

“We are delighted to have participated and succeeded in the exciting auction process for this historic lighthouse. We look forward to working alongside Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office to carry out this restoration,” said Frank Sciame. “Having purchased and renovated the former Katharine Hepburn property, I have been admiring this Lighthouse for more than 10 years. Once restored, it will be a quintessential accessory building to our family summer home.”

Built in 1886 to mark a sand bar on the west side of the Connecticut River, the lighthouse is within walking distance from the Connecticut estate where legendary actress Katharine Hepburn resided with her family for many decades until her 2003 death.  The structure has four floors including a watch room and a lantern room and features molded cast-iron windows, and portholes.  It was important to Sciame, who intends to restore and renovate the lighthouse for private use, that a resident of the Borough of Fenwick own it to ensure this iconic part of the seascape be properly maintained.

Sciame purchased the Katharine Hepburn estate in 2004 and performed a full renovation creating a modern open floor plan while preserving the home’s historic integrity.  The 3.4-acre compound is the largest private property in the historic and exclusive Fenwick borough of Old Saybrook, and offers 680 feet of private beach on Long Island Sound.

Frank Sciame is the CEO and Chairman of Sciame Construction LLC, a highly recognized builder in the New York City and TriState area.  With over 40 years of experience, his firm has won numerous awards for outstanding historic restoration and preservation work. Sciame previously served as Chairman and is a current Board Member of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.


Lyme-Old Lyme VFW Helps Veterans, Their Families in Need

The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1467 has provided significant monetary help in the form of temporary services assistance to no less than 16 local veterans and family members in the last two years.

For example, it has paid for tuition, room renovations, forward and back-on heating fuel bills, helped replace a heating boiler, provided grocery gift cards and vehicle gas cards, provided temporary living expenses and paid for needy air transport, as well as repair of veterans’ vehicles.

The LOL VFW exists solely to help veterans in need, and it has no geographical boundaries or preferences in providing temporary assistance services.

The LOL VFW can defray costs for rental payment or mortgage interest payment; utility or home heating fuel;  medical expenses, medications, eyeglasses, food and incidentals, children’s clothing needs, and durable medical equipment.  The LOL VFW also defrays the costs of vehicle repairs and repairs, maintenance, or disabled access renovations of veterans homes.

The privacy of any assisted veteran and/or their families is paramount. Veterans needing VFW temporary assistance may be reached by contacting one of the following email addresses and telephone numbers:
John Donnelly,  Adjutant, j.donnelly@snet.net860-964-0876

Tim Griswold,  Senior Vice Commander,, 860-662-4001

Douglas Wilkinson, Veteran Services Officer,, 860-501-3710


Old Lyme’s Allyson McCarthy Earns Prestigious ‘Silver Wings’ at Univ. of Maryland ROTC

Cadet Allyson McCarthy (right) trains on the University of Maryland campus.

Cadet Allyson McCarthy (right) trains on the University of Maryland campus.

Cadet Allyson McCarthy, an Old Lyme native and Lyme-Old Lyme High School alumnus (Class of 2013), graduated from the US Army’s prestigious Airborne School on Aug. 23.

Currently a Cadet with the University of Maryland Army ROTC Battalion, Cadet McCarthy completed five parachute jumps under demanding conditions to earn the coveted “Silver Wings” parachutist badge.

She is one of only a handful of Cadets nationwide to be selected for the course this year.


Exhibit by Old Lyme’s Acclaimed Photographer Burt on Show at CT River Museum

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt (15.2 x 20)

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt (15.2 x 20)

An exhibition of photos by William Burt of Old Lyme titled, “Water Babies – The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds,” is on show at the Connecticut River Museum through Oct. 12, at the Connecticut River Museum. This is the fourth of William Burt’s photo exhibitions, each based on one of his books, to show at the Museum.

The exhibition features 40 framed archival pigment prints, all made by the photographer, and 18 text panels quoting passages from the book of the same name. The pieces are sequenced such that every “water baby” is juxtaposed with the adult bird it becomes.

For 40 years, photographer William Burt has chased after the birds few people see: first rails, then bitterns, nightjars, and other skulkers – and now these, elusive creatures of a very different kind: the Water Babies. They are the subjects of his coming book, and also this exhibition at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. The book will be published in October 2015 by W. W. Norton/Countryman.

Red-necked phalarope ©Wm Burt

Red-necked phalarope ©Wm Burt

The “babies” are the downy young of ducks, grebes, gallinules and shorebirds, herons, and other wetland birds – those that get their feet wet, as it were – and challenging they are, to birder and photographer alike: quick-footed, wary, and well-camouflaged, to say the least; and temporary.

You have only a week or two each year in which to find them. But above all else, they are endearing. From the comic-monster herons to the fuzzy ducklings and stick-legged sandpipers, these tots have personality, and spunk. You see it in their faces, each and every one.

To find these youngsters and adults, Burt prowled their wetland breeding grounds each spring and summer for some seven years, all over North America, from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a portrait of these wild birds of the wetlands as both young and old, unknown and known, new and familiar.

Burt is a naturalist, writer, and photographer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds – especially marshes, and the shy birds within. His feature stories are seen in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and other magazines, and he has written three previous books: Shadowbirds (1994); Rare & Elusive Birds of North America (2001); and Marshes: The Disappearing Edens (2007).

Burt’s photo exhibitions have been shown at some 35 museums across the U.S. and Canada. He lives in Old Lyme, Conn.

For more information on this and other museum programs, visit

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 860-767-8269 or visit


Literacy Volunteers Seek Trainee Tutors to Help Valley Shore Residents

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization. Its mission is to train tutors to teach Basic Reading (BR) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to residents of the Valley Shore area, who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills. This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each fall and again in the spring each year. The next training session begins Sept. 17, and runs through Nov. 12. Registration for the fall session is open now and the deadline for applications is Aug. 28.

Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of Westbrook’s Public Library by phone at 860-399-0280 or e-mail at


Acton Public Library Presents Repro of Infamous Mercer-Williams House

OLD SAYBROOK — For the months of August and September, the Acton Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a reproduction of the Mercer-Williams House. The reproduction was painstakingly made by Maribel Girnius.

The house and the infamous crime that occurred in it were the focus of the book and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

The Acton Library is open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


Acton Library Hosts Job Search Boot Camp; Third Session Covers Interview Questions, Aug. 31

CTWORKS Job Search Boot Camp will be held at Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook on three dates this summer as follows:

  • Monday, June 29: to discuss interview questions
  • Monday, July 27 : to discuss job search tools
  • Monday, Aug. 31: to discuss questions to ask employers during the interview

Boot Camp brings area people together who are unemployed or in career transition. These programs are free and presented by CTWORKS.

To register, call the Library 860-395-3184 or email or for more information visit the library online at


It was Another Magnificent Midsummer Festival in Old Lyme …

Can you believe it’s been a full week since the Midsummer Festival was held in Old Lyme? Here (finally!) is our traditional photo essay of the event for which — yet again — the weather cooperated offering clear skies and warm air right through from Friday evening when concert-goers gathered behind the Florence Griswold Museum to Saturday night when fireworks lit up the sky behind the high school — all in all, it was — yet again — a positively perfect Festival!

Enjoying the Friday night concert on the Florence Griswold's lawn on the banks of the Lieutenant River.

Festival-goers enjoyed the Friday night concert on the Florence Griswold’s lawn on the banks of the Lieutenant River …

... and the stunning sunset looking west.

… and watching the stunning sunset looking west.


Saturday morning Lyme Street was a hive of activity, especially outside Patricia Spratt’s home goods business, which was also hosting clothes from her daughter Lilly’s original fashion line.


Food and more was on offer at the Lyme Street Firehouse.


And down at the Lyme Art Association, some four-legged folk had moved in …


… and, as always, were drawing quite a crowd.


There was music everywhere …

... and vegetables ...

… and vegetables …

... and flowers ...

… and flowers …

... and jams and jellies ......

… and jams … and jellies ……

... and olive oils!

… and olive oils!

.. and sheer delight  for this little girl as she plucked a violin string for this Wandering Minstrel!

And, perhaps summing up the Festival, we catch the sheer delight of a little girl as she plucked a violin string for this wandering minstrel!


Caroline’s Miracle Foundation Event Draws More Than 500 Runners

Ready to run ...

Ready to run …

The weather was perfect Saturday as more than 500 runners and walkers of all ages started to gather in front of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School from 6:30 a.m. onward to participate in the three races being held that day to support Caroline’s Miracle Foundation (CMF).  It had previously been announced that this would be the final time that the event would be held.

Shortly before 8 a.m. when the 5K race began, a large crowd thronged the starting line.

Shortly before 8 a.m. when the 5K race began, a large crowd thronged the starting line.

The O’Brien family came together for a photo (below.)  It was their eldest daughter Caroline, who passed away in July 2010 from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) – a rare and inoperable form of brain cancer — at age 11, who formed CMF prior to her death. All proceeds from the event support the Foundation.

The mission of CMF is to bring smiles to the faces of children battling brain tumors and other serious illnesses, as well as supporting safety initiatives in Old Lyme.  To see some of the ways the foundation has brightened the lives of these children, visit

The O'Brien family stand at the starting line.

The O’Brien family stand at the starting line.

After the race, some of the innumerable volunteers posed for a photo in their T-shirts spanning all five years of the event.

Some of the loyal volunteers, many of whom have served through all five years that the event has been held.

Some of the loyal volunteers, many of whom have served through all five years that the event has been held.

A total of 316 runners finished the 5K race.  The other two events were a 5K walk and a Kid’s K.

Twenty-five year-old James Rosenberger was the overall winner of the 5K with a time of 18.08.3.  The fastest woman was 19-year-old Sarah Hammond who completed the 5K course in 20.40.4.  Medals were awarded for the first, second and third placed runners in each age category.

Click here to view a full list of the race results.


Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce Presents Scholarships, Grants to Local Students at Annual Meeting

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber honors its scholarship winners. From left to right are State Senator Paul Formica, Eli Kuhn, Sloane Sweitzer, Gabriel Barclay, Brett Hartmann and State Representative Devin Carney.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber honors its scholarship winners. From left to right are State Senator Paul Formica, Eli Kuhn, Sloane Sweitzer, Gabriel Barclay, Brett Hartmann and State Representative Devin Carney.

Gabriel Barclay, Brett Hartmann, and Sloane Sweitzer are the 2015 recipients of the N. Rutherford Sheffield Memorial Award for Entrepreneurial Promise and Achievement from the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce. The award was established in 1999 by the Chamber in honor of Mr. Sheffield, who served the Chamber for over 50 years, and was a leader in many community organizations.

Elijah Kuhn, entering his senior year at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the College of New Haven, received the Scholarship Award for Achievement in the Visual Arts. Mr. Kuhn has received the award from the Chamber for each of his years at the College.

All four students were also acknowledged with Proclamations from the State Legislature presented by State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney, who attended the Annual Meeting, and State Senator Art Linares.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce Scholarship program has awarded over $30,000 in scholarships and grants to local students since its inception. The Chamber Scholarship Fund is supported through donations to CMRK clothing donation bins located in Lyme and Old Lyme: at the Lyme Firehouse, behind The Bowerbird, at 151 Boston Post Road, and on Route 156 at Shoreline Mowers.

Outgoing President Catherine Frank Honored for Service by State Senator Formica, State Rep. Carney

Outgoing Chamber President receives a Proclamation from the State Legislature from State Senator Paul Formica (left) and State Representative Devin Carney (right).

Outgoing Chamber President receives a Proclamation from the State Legislature from State Senator Paul Formica (left) and State Representative Devin Carney (right).

Outgoing Chamber President Catherine Frank was also acknowledged for her exemplary service to the Chamber with a Proclamation from the State Legislature presented by State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney, who attended the Annual Meeting, and State Senator Art Linares.

Mark Griswold and Olwen Logan, the newly-elected President and Vice-President respectively of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Griswold and Olwen Logan, the newly-elected President and Vice-President respectively of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Griswold was elected the new President of the Chamber and Olwen Logan was elected Vice-President.

Information about the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber is available at


Old Lyme Youth Program Featured at Washington DC Juvenile Justice Conference

From left to right, Missy Garvin, Youth Programs Coordinator at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau,  Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Julia Strycharz and Taylor Hamparian, and Old Lyme Police Officer Martin Lane at the annual conference of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington, DC.

From left to right, Missy Garvin, Youth Programs Coordinator at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, stands with Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Julia Strycharz and Taylor Hamparian, and Old Lyme Police Officer Martin Lane at the annual conference of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington, DC.

On June 11, members of the Old Lyme Youth and Police group known as ‘Cop Club’ highlighted their four-year-old program at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice 2015 Annual Conference in Washington DC.

Old Lyme Police Officer Martin Lane and Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) senior Julia Strycharz were panelists during the presentation titled, “Increasing Positive Relations between Police and Youth.”  This presentation was included in the conference’s Welcome and General Session, which highlighted the importance of positive relations between police and young people.

Lane and Strycharz described the local efforts in Connecticut that bring law enforcement and youth together around jointly planned projects.

A collaborative project between the Old Lyme Police and the Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), was awarded $10,000 in grants administered by the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to establish a youth and police program.  The youth programs are required to provide leadership roles for the youth and non-authoritarian roles for police officers.

Julia Strycharz presents at the conference.

Julia Strycharz presents at the conference.


Initially called ‘Operation LOL,’ LOLHS students and police collaborated in the writing of the grant.  The program has a goal of creating opportunities for youth and police to get to know each other through a series of monthly planned activities. These activities promote positive youth development, strengthen relationships between youth and police, and also help the community through a group service project.

Since being awarded the grant, youth and police have jointly planned fun monthly activities, including trips to New York City, Mount Monadnock,  a trampoline park, go-kart racing, snow tubing, bowling and an annual table tennis tournament held at LYSB.  Officer Lane said “Nothing builds friendships better than sharing ice cream together after getting beaten by the youth in a game of ping pong.”

Over 60 Lyme and Old Lyme youth have participated in ‘Cop Club’ since its inception.  The Connecticut Youth and Police grant permitted a maximum of three years funding for any one program.  Due to this, in 2014 the Town of Old Lyme decided to continue their commitment and fund this successful program.  The Old Lyme Police Union has also contributed monthly to ‘Cop Club’ for the past four years.

One of the requirements for Old Lyme Police Officers to participate in “Cop Club” was to attend a mandatory training in ‘Effective Police Interaction with Youth.’  This training provides patrol officers with information to understand youth behaviors better and provides practical strategies for interaction with young people in positive ways.

Officer Lane (left) and Julia Strycharz (right) were participants in a panel discussion at the 2015 Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington DC.

Officer Lane (left) and Julia Strycharz (right) were participants in a panel discussion at the 2015 Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington DC.


From this training, officers became better equipped to communicate effectively with young people they encountered and increased the likelihood that interactions with youth would result in positive outcomes.  Old Lyme Police Officers learned about the problem of inequitable treatment of minority and white youth in the juvenile justice system.

They discussed approaches for collaborating with youth officers and identified the benefits of taking a more supportive approach to dealing with youth.   Eventually, two thirds of the Old Lyme Police received this training and actively participated in the youth and police program.

In his remarks Officer Lane added, “Within my first year in Old Lyme, I realized that the Old Lyme Police Department had little to no involvement with the community’s youth and I began to develop this program with LYSB.  As for the experience being rewarding, the transformation of attitudes toward youth by police officers, who had previously little contact with this age group, was immediately visible.”

Getting to know other conference delegates over meals was an especially enjoyable part of the conference.

Getting to know other conference delegates over meals was an especially enjoyable part of the conference.

Strycharz commented, “I was a little nervous to be speaking to an audience of 300 people, mostly juvenile justice professionals.  I told them how our relationships and friendships are invaluable. Not only did the youth develop a new-found-opinion of the policemen of this town, but as the word spread about the club, the new attitude about the policemen also spread too.”

She continued, “The ‘Cop Club’ has changed the culture school-wide.  The youth of our town are not afraid of the policemen anymore. If they happen to be in the school, or at a sporting event, students aren’t afraid to approach them and say hello, ask them a question, or casually talk to them.”


Joining Lane and Strycharz at the conference were LYSB Programs Coordinator Missy Garvin and LOLHS senior Taylor Hamparian.    Garvin said “We are very proud of the success of our program in Old Lyme and it’s an honor for us to be highlighted at this national juvenile justice conference in Washington.  LYSB and the Old Lyme Police have created a valuable partnership, which will benefit both our youth and the police in our town for years to come.”

She added enthusiastically, “I can’t wait to start planning our next group to start in the fall.”