October 25, 2014

Musical Masterworks Announces 2014-15 Season, Opening Concert Today Features Works by Mozart, Schumann

Jeewon Park

Jeewon Park

Musical Masterworks will present its 24th season of chamber music concerts at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, beginning this weekend,  Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 25 and 26, and continuing through May. Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron has designed a season featuring award winning musicians from all over the world, with a diverse selection of music from composers ranging from Bach and Mozart to Igor Stravinsky and Estonian minimalist composer Arvo Part.

The following is a list of the 2014-2015 season dates and highlights. All concerts are held on Saturdays at 5 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme, CT, and repeated on the following Sunday at 3 p.m. at the same location.

October 25 & 26, 2014: Pianist Jeewon Park, violinist Tessa Lark, and cellist Edward Arron will perform works of Mozart, Schumann, and Kodaly.

December 6 & &, 2014: Violinist Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords, and cellist Edward Arron will perform an arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and other works.

February 14 & 15, 2015: Pianist Gilles Vonsattel, clarinetist Todd Palmer, violinist Bella Hristova, and cellist Edward Arron will perform works of Debussy, Weber, Beethoven, and Stravinsky.

Tessa Lark

Tessa Lark

March 14 & 15, 2015: Pianist Adam Neiman, violinist Maria Bachman, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and cellist Edward Arron will perform the great Piano Quartets of Schubert, Saint Saens, and Dvorak. All audience members are invited to a post-concert discussion with the musicians following the Sunday, March 15 concert.

May 2 & 3, 2015: Pianist Reiko Aizawa, violinists Jesse Mills and Hye-Jin Kim; violist/violinist Ara Gregorian, violist Max Mandel, and cellist Edward Arron will perform works of Mendelssohn, Turina, Arvo Part, and Ernest Chausson.

In addition, Musical Masterworks will present a Young People’s Concert on Saturday, March 14 at 11:30 at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The program will feature a musical version of Jean De Brunhoff’s classic children’s tale The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant.

Subscriptions to the 24th season of Musical Masterworks are available for $150 for the five concert series. Individual tickets are $35, with $5 student tickets available at the door. For more information or a season brochure, please call 860-434-2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.

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Op-Ed: The Road to Disaster is Paved with Good Intentions — Thoughts on The Boathouse Issue

In 2013 the Old Lyme community was excited to learn that it had been granted a $478,000 Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (CT STEAP) grant to expand the Boathouse and improve Hains Park.  This grant was made possible by hard-working individuals involved with the District 18 rowing teams and the local Old Lyme Rowing Club (OLRA), which includes rowers from multiple towns in southeast Connecticut.

To oversee the project, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen established the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee (BHPIC), with many of the same individuals involved in applying for the STEAP grant.   Initially the $478,000 CT STEAP grant was intended to cover all the costs of the project, so most of the community was happy to let them take the lead.  However, the BHPIC subsequently decided to demolish, rather than renovate, the existing Boathouse, while also removing/reducing other aspects of the project scope (removal of docks and improvement to the public restrooms, and multiple attempts to remove or reduce the size of the replacement basketball court).

These BHPIC decisions had several effects:  nearly doubling the project cost (from $478,000 to almost $900,000); reducing the benefit to the broader Old Lyme community; and potentially putting STEAP grant funds at risk by changing scope without obtaining written agreement from the state.  The BHPIC also proposed the Town of Old Lyme bear the full cost of the budget over-runs, raising the planned cost to Old Lyme taxpayers from $0 to $405,000.

Then, prior to providing the board of finance an opportunity to fully vet the project plans/costs or to prioritize this project versus other potential town expenditures, the Old Lyme Selectmen voted to rapidly push the project through to a Town Meeting to approve the use of $405,000 of the Town’s rainy-day fund to cover this large, unplanned capital expenditure.  The fact that the Town Meeting (Mon, Oct. 6) was scheduled less than one week from first public information session (Wed, Oct 1), and less than one full business day from the second informational session (Sat, Oct. 4) meant that adequate public review and input could not occur.

Prior to the Town Meeting, many community members (including those supportive of improving the boathouse) requested the Selectmen give the community more time for review/input, and to enable key questions/issues to be addressed.  However, the board of selectmen stated that the priority was to allow the BHPIC to begin construction in November, so the project would not impinge on the start of spring rowing season in March.  This rationale did not appear to align with the fiduciary responsibility of the Selectmen to put the best interests of the broader community first, nor did it appear justified since the existing Boathouse is functional (albeit not ideal), and that delaying the project until the following year would not have prevented the rowing teams/clubs from continuing all of their existing programs.   However, the Selectmen rushed forward with the Town vote anyway.

Following the Oct 6 town vote (100-73 in favor of appropriating $405,000 to cover the proposed project cost increase), many in the community asked that time be taken to address the many outstanding questions/issues/risks before going out to bid – after which it may be too late to address them without incurring additional costs/town liabilities.  Some of the issues included:

  • Lack of written agreement with the state on change in scope, to avoid risk of losing STEAP funds.
  • Lack of completed written agreements with District 18 on the transfer of ownership of the Boathouse to the Town of Old Lyme, and for future financial commitments to pay for insurance, operation and maintenance for the new Boathouse.  Without these in place before going to bid, the Town of Old Lyme takes on significant additional risk.
  • Significant code issues have been raised by both the Old Lyme Fire Marshal and Building Official.  Addressing these after the bidding process will result in expensive change orders.
  • Lack of plan reviews and safety assessments by District 18 to get buy-in and address potential issues with the configuration of the Boathouse (particularly bathrooms and locker rooms).  They are to be used by students and maintained by District 18, but do not align with safety guidelines for school construction design prepared by the US Dept. of Education and Dept. of Justice.
  • Last minute efforts to correct the size of the replacement basketball court, and lack of finalization (and broad community input) into a Hains Park Master Plan.  Ideally this should precede finalizing the Boathouse phase, to ensure that all community needs are met and related costs fully understood.
  • Rushing finalization of construction plans/documents, which will not leave adequate time for stakeholder review, and may result in errors that may also lead to costly change orders.

The fact that the Old Lyme Selectmen and BHPIC have initiated the construction bidding process without first adequately addressing these issues is very concerning in itself.  However, after release of the Old Lyme Public Notice Wed, Oct 22, 2014, there may be yet another serious issue:  lack of compliance with state requirements for the contract bidding process.  This must be addressed immediately to avoid potential loss of our CT STEAP grant funding.

Please!  It is time to stop rushing forward recklessly; we need take some time and work together to adequately address the many valid issues/questions raised.  We also need other community members/stakeholders to work with the BHPIC and rowing advocates.  This will be critical to ensuring that the project is most successful, that all of the community needs are met, and that town/state funds are not wasted or lost.

While I am sure everyone involved in the project has acted with good intentions, good intentions are not enough:  “The road to disaster is paved with good intentions.”

Let’s take a step back, and make this a truly inclusive Town project.  Let’s leverage our combined experience and allocated funds to deliver a project that is completed successfully and with the broadest possible community support.

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Questions Brew About Hains Park Boathouse Design

 

 

boathouse 2

At a Special Town Meeting on Oct. 6, Old Lyme residents approved by a scant 27 votes the expenditure of an additional $405,000 from the town’s surplus account to be used to supplement the $478,000 Small Town’s Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded in 2013 to fund the construction of a new boathouse and other improvements at Hains Park.  The current cost estimate of the project for the park, which abuts Rogers Lake, stands at $883,000.  

There are already strong indications, even before the project has gone out to bid, that changes to the design may be necessary to meet prevailing building and fires safety codes, which could lead to an increase in the construction costs.

Draft construction drawings submitted to Old Lyme Fire Marshal, Dave Roberge, earlier in October have raised a number of questions about compliance with fire safety codes, as well as possible building code deficiencies and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) non-compliance.

Roberge told LymeLine he has concerns regarding the adequacy of the emergency exits from the second floor, which, it was stated at the recent town meeting, would be an area available at times for the general public to use.  Roberge also noted that the plans he has received do not show adequate fire separation between the first and second floor.

The Fire Marshal has not yet been provided with the mechanical or electrical drawings for the proposed building, so has been unable to comment on the adequacy of emergency lighting or exit signage.

Based on his preliminary review of the draft plans, the Town Building Official, John Flower, has also expressed concern about some aspects of the building design and is planning to submit the final construction drawings, once received, to a third party for independent review.  Flower states that he has specific concerns about, “Possible under-sizing of support columns for the second floor,” and adequacy of the construction design for the front of the building.

As currently planned, the second floor will also have no handicap access and would require an elevator or wheelchair lift or other similar device to become ADA compliant, none of which are currently in the budget.  Addition of an elevator or wheelchair lift would also have fire safety and building code implications and would require review and sign-off before a building permit could be issued.

Although final construction drawings have not yet been submitted to the Fire Marshal or Town Building Department for review, the Town of Old Lyme published a Public Notice in ‘The Day’ Wednesday, Oct. 22, requesting bids on the project by Nov. 17 and announcing a mandatory pre-bid site walk, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m.

“If changes are required to meet fire safety codes after the bid has been awarded, it will require a change order,” noted Roberge, “and that usually means an increase in the construction cost.”

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Old Lyme Rowers Bring Home Two Silver Medals From ‘Head of the Charles’ Races

Head_of_the_charles_2On Oct. 19, a sunny and windy Sunday, hundreds of crew teams from across the United States and the world competed in the 50th annual Head of the Charles in Boston, the ultimate race that ends the primary rowing season.  The river, which winds its way through the city, shone in the bright sun, but even brighter were the two silver medals earned by the Old Lyme Rowing Association / Blood Street Sculls.

“This is a great accomplishment,” declared Head Coach Steve Baranoski, continuing, “Dedication, hard work, and tremendous support from the board, families, the town, and the school all contributed to this win.”  Baranoski took seven high school students to the contest, five of who are competing in their senior year before heading to college.

Head_of_the_charles_3_cropped

One medal was earned in the Young Men Fours race by Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors, Liam Corrigan, Harry Godfrey-Fogg, Josh Swanski, and Thomas Crisp and Madison High School junior, Jeremy Newton. The boys placed second with a time of 17:33.69 minutes – only seven seconds off first place – to complete the 4800 meter (2.98 mile) race in the field of 84 crews from all over the world.

In a race of doubles Lyme-Old Lyme High School students Brandon Green, a senior, and Peter Fuchs a junior, rowed a strong double race coming in 15th (28th) among 42 entries in the Men Youths Double. They rowed the 4800 meters in 19:47.17 minutes — just 1.32 minutes less than the winners.

Another silver medal was earned in the Director’s Challenge Women’s Quads by Charlotte Hollings, Candace Fuchs, Peggy Johnston, and Kacey Elfstrom.  These master rowers finished second out of 30 competitors in their 4800 meter race, which they completed in 19:23.23 minutes only 23 second off the lead.

“It’s a great honor for me to coach this team that competes and finishes so well against a stacked international field,” Baranoski said.  He added, “The team has worked incredibly hard and dedicated hours to this goal in all kinds of weather. We practice before school at 5:30 a.m. and then again after school at 3 p.m.”  Noting that the whole team had stayed focused and dedicated to this race, he commented, “They entered the race with a mission to do well and they all did. These team members showed a level of perseverance and focus in addition to remarkable skill and expert rowing.”

Head_of_the_charles_1_cropped

The Head of the Charles is the equivalent of the World Series of racing and the Old Lyme Racing Association / Blood Street Sculls prepared for this race throughout the season.  This year’s performance winning silver medals was a marked improvement over the last year when the 4+ came in 25th.

Coach Baranoski noted that the performance in this premier race, “Shows how the program is progressing.  This club can compete with the best crews and belongs with the elite rowing groups.”  He attributes the success to the creative, involved board members, supportive parents, and enthusiastic, dedicated team members.

Adding, “I am very fortunate to be a part of this club and to help it achieve success as a competitive program,” Baranoski concluded, “We have great athletes on both the boys and girls team.  I invite others to join.  We need members of all ages and levels.”

Next weekend the team will race again at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga, N.Y.

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Deadline for In-Person Voter Registration is Oct. 28

The Old Lyme Registrars of Voters, Sylvia Peterson and Donald Tapper, have made the following announcement regarding the upcoming Nov. 4 election:

  • The deadline for mail-in voter registration was Oct. 21.  Oct. 28 is the deadline for in-person voter registration. Voters are encouraged to check their status with the Registrars’ office if they have moved, changed their name or not voted in several years.
  • The Registrars’ office will be open: Tuesday, Oct. 28  from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is the last session for admission of electors for those who become 18 years of age, U.S. citizens, or residents of the town before Oct. 28, 2014.
  • Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for members of the armed forces or persons whose qualification as to age, citizenship or residence was attained after Oct. 28.

The Registrar’s office is located on Mezzanine Level of Town Hall.  For more information, call 860-434-1605 Ext. 226.  Regular office hours are Monday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Voter Registration applications are available at the Town Clerk’s office during regular Town Hall hours.

 

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Letter to the Editor: Essex First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To The Editor:

As a business owner and the First Selectman of Essex, I am keenly aware of the difficulties companies and municipalities face here in Connecticut. Small towns like are taking on an unfair share of the burden and are feeling the weight of an increasing number of unfunded mandates from the state.

We need a stronger voice in Hartford, and that’s why I am endorsing Emily Bjornberg for State Senate in the 33rd District. She has the life experience, tenacity and drive to effect real change in Hartford.

Representing our region in Hartford needs to be more than casting a partisan protest vote against the state budget and then blaming the state’s problem on others. What our region needs is someone who will be at the table as important decisions are being made to represent the needs of our towns.

She understands the needs of small business, having grown up working with her family who owns Reynolds Subaru in Lyme. It’s through that family, made up of prominent local Republicans and Democrats, who have instilled in her the ability to find the common ground necessary to bring about constructive and positive change.

I ask that you join me in voting for Emily on November 4.

Sincerely,

Norman Needleman,
Essex

Editor’s Note: The writer is the First Selectman of Essex.

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See a “Ballet Spooktacular” at The Kate Today

Halloween_Spooktacular__Anna_with_veilTreat children of all ages to family-friendly Halloween fun with Eastern CT Ballet’s “Ballet Spooktacular,” at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “The Kate,” in Old Saybrook. Special effects and bewitching costumes set the stage for spirited performances of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dancing Bones, and Halloween Waltz.

Children are invited to wear their costumes to parade on stage, trick-or-treat throughout the decorated theater and pose for spellbinding photos with the dancers.

Performances will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18 and 19 at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Tickets to the Ballet Spooktacular are $16 for adults and $10 for children (age 12 and under) and are available through The Kate box office at 860-510-0453.

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LAA Hosts ‘Incredible India’ Cultural Expo & Marketplace, Gala Tonight

PosterIn honor of the Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) 100th anniversary, the Lyme Art Association presents Incredible India!, an expo and gala celebrating the culture of India. This exceptional event to benefit the LAA has two components: A Cultural Expo and Marketplace in the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 18, followed by a Benefit Gala in the evening.

“For anyone looking for an interesting, exotic, and genuinely authentic experience, I can assure you that our ‘Incredible India’ event is exactly that!” says LAA’s Director of Development Gary Parrington, adding, “The Association has a long tradition of lavish themed galas dating back to the Association’s founding a hundred years ago.”

The Cultural Expo and Marketplace will be a fun-filled afternoon for the entire family to discover and experience the culture and charm of India. Vendors will display art, photographs, shawls, brassware, and other fine marketplace items from India. There will also be Indian food vendors, and musicians to entertain visitors. The Cultural Expo and Marketplace runs from noon until 3 p.m. and is open to the public, free of charge.

The Benefit Gala, which takes place from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., will be an extraordinary experience including select items from the Expo, a palm reader, Henna hand painter, a unique India gift for every guest, and the opportunity to bid in an auction for travel packages to India.

The Presenting Sponsor for ‘Incredible India’ is Air India in collaboration with the Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism. The Premier Media Sponsor for the expo and gala is ‘The Day.’

For additional information on ‘Incredible India’ and to make a reservation for the Benefit Gala, visit www.LymeArtAssociation.org or contact LAA’s Director of Development Gary Parrington at gary@lymeartassociation.org.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.

The Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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Conference on Israel, Palestine Kicks Off in Old Lyme Today with Concert, Bazaar

TOL14 OL Poster 09-04_750The tenth annual Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, in Old Lyme, CT, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL). Special emphasis this year will be on the children of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as children of warriors, and as tomorrow’s leaders and shapers.

Open to the public, the interfaith forum is organized by the Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) and supported by organizations and individuals committed to peace and justice.

In announcing the Conference, the Rev. David W. Good, Chairperson, TOLEF, and Minister Emeritus of the FCCOL, commented, “Both Palestinian and Israeli children are growing up assuming that the world is not safe, that violence is a way of life, that some lives are more valuable than others. As we are citizens of the world, they are children of the world, our children, whose safety, well-being and journeys into adulthood must concern us. This year’s Conference speakers will address those deep concerns.”

Opening concert, bazaar, exhibition and reception – Saturday, Oct. 18 – 6:30 p.m.

The Conference opens on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m., with a bazaar featuring Palestinian crafts and olive oil, along with books and publications dealing with issues that will be addressed in the Sunday speaker program. A concert featuring Palestinian musicians Tamer Al-Sahouri on the oud, singer Nadine Shomali, and percussionist Alber Basil – along with members of the Lyme-based Silver Hammer Band – will be the evening’s main event. Following the concert, attendees will be welcomed at a reception featuring an exhibition of Palestinian children’s drawings from Gaza, and photographs by Robert Shook taken on his recent travels in the West Bank.

Speaker program – Sunday, Oct. 19, 1 p.m.

The pressing question, “What will become of our children?” will be addressed on Sunday, Oct. 19, by speakers whose tireless efforts reflect their championship of a world free of prejudice and hatred.

Uri Gopher, an Israeli working to promote Arab-Palestinian-Jewish relations, will describe his work as executive director of Hagar, a non-profit organization in Be’er Sheva that runs a bi-lingual Arab-Jewish school there – recognizing that education is a springboard for social change and peaceful coexistence.

Ivan Karakashian, Advocacy Unit Coordinator at Defense for Children International-Palestine, will detail his efforts to defend and promote the rights of children living under Israeli military occupation.

Barbara Lubin, lifelong peace activist and Founder and Executive Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, will talk about the impact of Middle East politics on children in the region, with special emphasis on the plight of children in war-torn Gaza.

Sahar Vardi, coordinator of the Israel program for the American Friends Service Committee, and peace advocate since childhood, will describe her opposition to the militarization of Israeli society, her refusal to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces and resultant imprisonment.

Danielle Yaor, an active member of Shministim, an organization of young Israelis who refuse compulsory service in the Israeli military, will present the open letter the group sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year.

Following the speaker program, a Middle Eastern dinner sponsored by the Islamic Center of New London and the Connecticut Council on American-Islamic Relations will be served.

The art/photography exhibit and the bazaar featuring Palestinian crafts and olive oil, books and information that opened on Saturday evening will be open on Sunday as well, and musical interludes on Sunday will be provided by the Palestinian performers featured in the Saturday program.

Admission, reservations, information

Both Saturday and Sunday programs are open to the public. Admission:  $10 per person on Saturday; $35 per person on Sunday. Students and attendees under age 21 admitted free to the Sunday program.  Advance registration and sponsorship commitments may be made online at www.tolef.org, or through the FCCOL office at 860-434-8686. The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is located at the intersection of Ferry Road and Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT.

Editor’s Note: The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities, helping participants to become more enlightened and engaged in make this a more just and peaceful world. Established by the FCCOL in 2002, TOLEF today operates independently.  TOLEF is joined in partnership with Friends of Sabeel-North America (www.fosna.org) and Kairos USA (www.kairosusa.org) in support of the Conference.  This year’s Conference speakers and musicians will also be appearing in TOLEF programs at several other locations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.

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Opening Reception for William Burt Photo Exhibit at Old Lyme Library Tonight

Signature photo by William Burt for his exhibition opening Friday at the Old Lyme Library of a Purple Gallinule feasting in Palm Beach County, Fla.,

Signature photo by William Burt for his exhibition opening Friday at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library of a Purple Gallinule feasting in Palm Beach County, Fla.,

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library presents an opening reception for ‘William Burt: New Photographs & Old’ on Friday, Oct. 17,  from 5 to 7 p.m. A Gallery Talk will take place at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The show samples Burt’s photography of the familiar wetland scenes as well as the rare and elusive birds and their downy young. Most photographs selected were made locally within the Connecticut River estuary, but included also are one each respectively from Florida, North Dakota, and Saskatchewan.

William Burt is a naturalist, photographer and writer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds – especially marshes, and the shy birds within.  His photographs and stories are seen in major U.S. publications and he is the author of three books: Shadowbirds (1994); Rare & Elusive Birds of North America (2001); and Marshes: The Disappearing Edens (2007).

He lectures often, and his traveling exhibitions have shown at some 35 museums across the U.S. and Canada. Museum quality archival pigment prints will be for sale by the artist at www.williamburt.com. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Library.

The Library is located at 2 Library Ln., off Lyme St. in Old Lyme. Winter hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 860-434-1684 or visit www.oldlyme.lioninc.org to register on the Events calendar.

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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.

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Formica Wins CBIA Business Support

Paul Formica

Paul Formica

Paul Formica, the Republican candidate for the 20th State Senate seat, has won the endorsement of the state’s largest business organization.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) this week endorsed Formica, the owner of Flanders Fish Market, for the last 31 years. Formica is the First Selectman of East Lyme who has been active in local business and government leadership initiatives.

“We need to elect more candidates like Paul Formica, who understands the importance of economic development and has a commonsense approach to dealing with issues of importance,” said Joe Brennan, CBIA executive vice president.

Formica, who lives in Niantic, believes tax reform, real discipline in state budgeting and more private sector solutions are needed to grow Connecticut’s economy.

CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957; meaghan.macdonald@cbia.com) or visit the CBIA Newsroom.

Formica has also earned the support of the National Federation of Businesses, the nation’s largest association for small business, as well as the endorsement from the CT Realtors Association, the state’s largest trade association.

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Nibbles: Super Squash Soup Warms The Heart

It was a bit of an iffy week, with some weather including rain, heat (mid-seventies in October!) and a pretty cold evening when I thought I might take the soft and comfy throws into the living for the cats and me.

Each of the days, while my friend Nancy was vacationing in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, I fed her feral cats. She had packed up eight enormous plastic bins of dry cat food and left me a quart-sized bottle for fresh water. Each early afternoon, I would change my shoes for sneakers and walk a path down a hill and into the woods, rife with poison ivy, to the little den she fashioned with one of those plastic igloos and a large green trash can set on its side to hold the food and water.

I am a city girl so for decades I thought poison ivy was a maple leaf (three points on a leaf) for three leaves, so I guess I am not allergic to the little devils though my husband knew exactly what they looked at and was very sensitive. On the other hand, I did get scraped by some twigs and wound up with a few infected sores which are fine, now.

Doug and I were never leaf-peepers. We grew up in upstate New York and together we lived in New England. We never thought it important to drive hours to Vermont or New Hampshire when we saw gorgeous colors up and down I-95 and in our own backyard. But my good friend Kirsten McKamy and her adorable partner, Charles, invited me to have lunch at his 1750 cape in Storrs, Conn.

It took about an hour from my condo on the shoreline to Storrs and I must say that the foliage was spectacular. His magnificently restored house sat in seven acres, at least two of which were mowed. The vivid green of the lawn, the enormous maples and oaks and the big pond across the road turned my quiet Sunday into quite a picture.

Even better was the food: an herb “cake,” squash soup and two desserts, Kirsten’s pear tart and my apple cake. I will serve that soup the next time I have friends for dinner. Then again, maybe sooner.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage

From Epicurious

Roasted kabocha squash soup with pancetta and sage

Roasted kabocha squash soup with pancetta and sage

Yield: 8 servings (about 11 cups)

1 4-pound kabocha squash, halved and seeded

1 cup vegetable oil

20 whole fresh sage leaves plus 1 and one-half teaspoon chopped fresh sage

One-quarter pound sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 and one-half cups chicken broth

3 and one-half cups water

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Dollops of crème fraiche (optional)

Roast squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast squash, cut sides down, in an oiled roasting pan in middle of oven until tender, about an hour. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin.

While the squash is roasting, heat vegetable oil in a deep small saucepan until it registered 365 degrees on a deep-felt thermometer. Fry sage leaves in 3 bathes until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Cook pancetta and make soup: Cook pancetta in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until brown Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to power towels to drain.

Add olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, broth and water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Puree soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Return soup to pot and reheat. If necessary, thin to desired consistency with water. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with pancetta and fried sage leaves. If you like, dollop spoonsful onto soup.

Cooks’ note: you can make soup 3 days in advance and chill, covered.

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Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association Welcomes Karen Veselka, RN, as New Town Nurse

Karen Veselka

Karen Veselka

The Board of Directors of the Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association recently appointed Karen Veselka as the new Town Nurse. She graduated from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing in 1973.

Veselka’s work experience includes emergency room, Medical / surgical, pediatrics, post-partum, Oncology, respiratory and long term care.

Prior to accepting the positon as the town nurse for the Old Lyme VNA, Veselka spent the past 10 years working in long term care at Bridebrook Health and Rehabilitation.  She joined the staff of Interim HealthCare of Eastern CT, Inc. in August 2014.

She is a resident of Old Lyme.

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Old Lyme VNA Hosts Health & Wellness Fair, Nov. 1

The 2014 Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association Health & Wellness Fair will be occurring at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The hours are 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and screenings for glaucoma, dental cancer and foot health will be available. Laboratory tests, including complete blood counts, metabolic panels, cholesterol and PSA counts will be available for a small fee.

In addition, numerous local organizations and individuals will be available to discuss issues from primary care to pesticides.

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Welcome, Felix Kloman: Our Newest Columnist

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Felix Kloman

We are delighted to welcome a new columnist to our ranks today. Felix Kloman will be writing book reviews under the column title of “Reading Uncertainly” and we are pleased to publish his first review in a separate article today.

Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer.  He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008).  A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history.  But he does throw in a novel here and there.

For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings.

His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.  Her characters also explore the world, causing murders or tripping over bodies in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Stockholm, Sweden, Hamilton, Bermuda, Newport, R.I., Bainbridge Island, Wa., and, believe it or not, Old Lyme, Conn.

He can be reached at fkloman@aol.com.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Old Ways’ by Robert Macfarlane

the_old_ways_robert_macfarlane_206x320What a refreshing and stimulating view of the practice of walking, “as enabling sight and thought rather than encouraging retreat and escape; paths as offering not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing.”

First suggested by our schoolteacher son, Robert Macfarlane’s mesmerizing and lyrical stories of his walks along the English Downs, sailing and hiking in Scotland, plus other walks in Palestine, Spain and Tibet are a paean to movement, observation, thought and imagination.  As he says, “paths connect. This is their first duty and their chief reason for being.”  They then become a “labyrinth of victory,” of personal freedom. “Walking is a means of personal myth-making.”

I agree completely!

Walking, especially solo treks, can restore serenity and sanity, curiosity and calm.  Macfarlane’s words reminded me of my hiking England’s South Downs and its Way in 1978, during an autumn sabbatical in West Sussex, from Cocking and Graffham, where we were living for four months, around Bigham Hill and on to Arundel, where a pub and a pint rewarded my effort.  I also recall with fondness my many treks on the “public footpaths” of England, on the “wanderwegs” of Germany and the Appenzell of Switzerland, around Sydney Harbor in Australia, the Milford Track in New Zealand and, closer to home, in the Nehantic State Forest of Lyme, Conn.

And his words pulled back into memory Jonathan Raban’s ‘Coasting,’ his story of sailing counterclockwise around the British Isles, and Paul Theroux’s ‘A Kingdom By The Sea,’ his clockwise walk around England, both in 1982 (the two travelers met by chance in a pub on their respective journeys and had little to say to each other!)

Macfarlane’s remarkable memory and descriptions of his travels become almost Joycean at times.  Here is his sailing departure from Stornoway Harbor:

“ . . . hints of oil, hints of hooley.  Sounds of boatslip, reek of diesel. Broad Boy’s (the boat he travelled on) wake through the harbor – a tugged line through the fuel slicks on the water’s surface, our keel slurring petrol-rainbows.  Light quibbling on the swell . . . . Seals . . . their blubbery backs looking like the puffed-up anoraks of murder victims.”

Strangely, though, Macfarlane never mentions or quotes Baudelaire and his famous flaneur, another exponent of the joy of setting one foot in front of the other, without worry of time and course.

He concludes with a lovely Spanish palindrome: “La ruta nos aporto otro paso natural” (The path provides the next step.)  The “old ways” are indeed “rights of way and rites of way.”

Editor’s Note: Robert Macfarlane’s ‘The Old Ways’ is published by Penguin Books, New York 2012.

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Fall Play Gives a Glimpse of Life in Nazi Labor Camps

Director and history teacher Brett Eckhart gives instruction to cast members during a recent rehearsal for "Letters to Sala."

Lyme-Old Lyme High School fall play director and history teacher Brett Eckhart gives instruction to cast members during a recent rehearsal for “Letters to Sala.”

This year the Lyme-Old Lyme High School fall play will be “Letters to Sala.”  The performances will take place in the high school auditorium on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, with an estimated admission price of $7, or $5 with a canned good.

“Letters to Sala” is a true story about a woman “sharing her past with her family” through letters that she wrote while in a labor camp during World War II, according to Brett Eckhart, the director of the play, who also teaches in the history department at the high school.  Eckhart says he “came across [the play] by accident” while “sifting through some [play options] online.” He chose the play because students had asked for a more dramatic piece, rather than his usual comedic selections.  Being a history teacher, Eckhart says he just, “fell in love with the story,” which is based on real life.

The play details the “trials and tribulations of a young lady in the Holocaust,” comments Eckhart.  Sala is an old woman by the time she divulges the letters to her daughter, Ann, and her two granddaughters, Caroline and Elizabeth, so the play takes place in both the modern day and the 1940s during World War II.  Eckhart wants “Letters to Sala” to “shed light on labor camps,” which were not like the well-known concentration camps.

“Not many know about the labor camps, which were instituted during the war,” says Eckhart. Operation Schmelt, which began at the start of World War II, involved the creation of 177 different labor camps around Nazi Germany and its allies so that those countries were supplied with people to sew uniforms and complete other menial tasks for the soldiers.  In the labor camp, Sala, along with the other workers, was allowed to send and receive mail until 1943.

Cast members rehearse a scene from "Sala's Gift."

Cast members rehearse a scene from “Letters from Sala.”

Eckhart wants the performance to be “educational as well as entertaining” and has reached out to local survivors of the war and also children of survivors to attend the performances and speak to the cast, so that they might gain insight in to what life was like at that time.  At the end of each performance, a screen will come down in front of the stage, and Eckhart will show pictures of the real Sala and her family, as well as other labor camp workers whom Sala knew.

“Letters to Sala” is based on a book titled, “Sala’s Gift,” written by Ann Kirschner, Sala’s daughter, as well as the true accounts that Sala gave her daughter and grandchildren when she showed them the letters.  Anne donated the letters to the New York Public Library, which currently has the letters on show in an exhibition in their building. The Library also has a permanent online exhibition on their website, so that people can view the historical documents from any online location worldwide.

Eckhart concludes, “If the play is done right, the audience will be emotionally drained — in a good way.”

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Old Lyme’s Health Director Issues Ebola, EVD68 Information for Residents

The Town of Old Lyme’s Health Director Dr. Vijay Sikand has issued some informational directives for residents regarding the current outbreaks of Ebola and Enterovirus D68 as follows:

Ebola virus

Ebola virus

Ebola is a rare but potentially deadly disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids.  There is presently a widespread outbreak in West Africa and one person who traveled to the USA from Liberia has died of Ebola after contact with a patient before traveling to Dallas.  Public health authorities and hospitals are implementing procedures to identify and prevent Ebola from spreading to the USA.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html

There is presently a nationwide outbreak of infection with the Enterovirus D68 (EVD68) that may cause severe respiratory illness in children, especially those with asthma or other underlying chronic disease.  It is most common in the summer and fall, so we are currently within the latter part of the transmission season.  EVD68 is spread from person to person from coughs, sneezes or contact with a surface recently touched by others.

For further information about how to protect yourself and recognize the symptoms, click on the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/EV-D68.html

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Helping the Hungry of Old Lyme, Shoreline Soup Kitchens Launches Annual Appeal

clip_image002In a recent letter to the residents of Old Lyme, Rev. Ryan Young, board chair of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP), posed the question, “Are there really hungry people on the shoreline? How about in Old Lyme?”

Noting that people often do not realize the number of residents in need, Young wrote, “For most of us, it’s hard to imagine not knowing where the next meal will come from; but for many of our neighbors, even in a beautiful town like Old Lyme, it is a reality they face every day. Last year SSKP registered 317 Old Lyme residents at one of our food pantries. Over half needed to come every week for food.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of SSKP. By providing groceries through five separate weekly pantry distributions and offering daily hot meals at eight local meal sites, they help any resident of Old Lyme in need of food assistance. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries also serves the towns of Essex, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Killingworth, Westbrook, and Deep River.

Young continued, “Most people are hard-working adults whose jobs simply do not pay enough. Others are people struggling with an illness that keeps them from being able to work. Many are families with young children, or seniors who simply cannot make ends meet.”

The Old Lyme Pantry is hosted at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. It distributed over 253,000 pounds of food last year. Volunteers at the Saturday morning distribution gave out enough groceries for over 273,500 meals to 1,805 guests.

Old Lyme residents are able to choose from a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, canned and boxed foods, as well as meat, eggs and dairy. Also every Saturday morning at the First Congregational Church, rotating teams of volunteers prepare a hot nutritious breakfast, and last year, served 4,911 meals.

Young concluded his letter with an appeal for support. “To help reach our Annual Appeal goal the H.J. Promise Foundation has pledged to match the first $30,000. When you receive my letter, please consider helping your Old Lyme neighbors in need.”

The SSKP Annual Appeal is held from October through Dec. 31 Donations by check may be mailed to P.O. Box 804, Essex, CT 06426. To donate online or for a full listing of times and locations of the pantries and meal sites, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org or call (860) 388-1988.

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