April 29, 2016

Lyme Art Association Hosts Opening Reception This Evening for Two New Shows

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the annual showcase of the best new works of art by Elected Artists Members. These artists are professionals of note and significance whose works are known, collected, and exhibited throughout the country, as well as along the Shoreline.  The LAA hosts an opening reception for this show and Body Language, displaying artwork based on the human figure in all its forms, on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free — come and meet the artists, enjoy the music and celebrate fine art! 

The 95th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Body Language are both on view through June 3, 2016.

Also on view in The Art Market is an unjuried show featuring an entirely new collection of affordable smaller works.  All artwork on display is for sale.

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

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

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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Presentation of Sound View Improvements Draws Praise, Criticism at Lively Meeting

From left to right, Selctwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Sound View Improvement Committee member Angelo Faenza, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (standing), SVIC member Pappalardo and a memebr of engineering member BSC listen to a question from the audience at Monday night's meeting.

From left to right, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC) member Angelo Faenza, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (standing), SVIC member Frank Pappalardo and a member of engineering firm BSC listen to a question from the audience at Monday night’s meeting.

In a boisterous meeting Monday night held at the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Ave. Old Lyme, more than 60 people gathered to hear the latest information on the Sound View Improvement Project.  With her fellow members of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, members of the Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC) and representatives of the engineering firm of BSC of Glastonbury seated behind her, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder made a presentation covering where the project stands currently.

Noting that construction is expected to begin after Labor Day this year and continue through early December 2016, then “shut down [and re-start in early 2017] and finish in early spring [2017],” Reemsnyder noted that the final design is “close to going out to bid.”  She anticipates a town meeting this summer on July 16 to approve the Town of Old Lyme’s 20 percent share of the cost of the improvements estimated at $148,000.  The remaining 80 percent of the cost is being funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT).

The improvements, which originally included a park (named Sound View Green) and upgraded restrooms that have both now been removed from the plan due to budget overruns, comprise the reinstatement of horizontal parking on Hartford Avenue, sidewalks expanded from 3 ft. to 6 ft., lighting, plantings, bike racks and the addition of curbs and bump-outs.  The proposed plans do not include the much discussed bike path on Rte. 156 that is planned to connect the Baldwin Bridge with Sound View because Rte. 156 is a state road and therefore, the state must carry out those upgrades.  Reemsnyder noted, “It is likely the town will finish their portion before the state.”

Question time was lively at Monday's Sound View informational meeting.

There was almost a full house at Monday’s Sound View informational meeting.

Reactions to the project ran the gamut from those who were delighted with the proposals to those who expressed anger and frustration about them. Mary Hyland – a seasonal resident of Portland Ave., which runs parallel to Hartford Avenue, whose family has been in Sound View for 70 years – said, “You’re doing a great job,” adding that she was, “Very, very pleased with what’s going on.” In contrast, Deb Corto, whose son, Lenny, operates, “Lenny’s on the Beach” at the southern end of Hartford Ave., complained she would likely lose $72,000 in business “over the season” due to the reduction in the number of parking spaces  resulting from the proposed plans.  She demanded forcefully, “I want the [eliminated] 22 spaces reinstated.”

Frank Pappalardo, a member of the SVIC, countered Corto’s comments pointing out that the owner of the ‘Lenny’s on the Beach’ property, Frank Noe, had written to the committee in support of the proposals.  Pappalardo quoted from Noe’s letter, saying, “The street is in dire need of new sidewalks, better lighting, … these streetscape improvements are well overdue after many years of neglect.”  Noe concluded in his letter that Pappalardo read, “I urge everyone to strongly support the efforts by the Sound View Improvement Committee.”

In contrast, a town resident opposed to the reduction of parking spots complained that on busy summer days at the beach, even with the current number of parking spots, “I can’t park at my own beach.”  He questioned why the committee had not presented any numbers regarding bike usage at Sound View and stated, “[At} Every meeting, if you don’t like what we say, you shut us down.”

Lenny Corto, who operates “Lenny’s on the beach,” asked Reemsnyder, “How can you maintain a new streetscape when you can’t maintain the current one?” continuing, “It’s clear what you’re doing … it’s totally against all commercial business.”

Reemsnyder responded, “I have to disagree with [Corto’s comment about] Public Works’s ability to maintain things,” adding, “This really was an effort to improve the area.”

Dino Dinino questioned why the sidewalk was being increased from 3 ft. to 6 ft. to which Reemsnyder responded that it was a requirement in order to receive the state funding.

Jim Lampos, another member of the SVIC, expressed his support for the proposals saying, “There is incredible potential here.  The Town hasn’t invested here for years. This [the proposal] is going to benefit everybody.” He commented, “Right now, parking is an issue 10 days a year,” adding, “The parking is half empty the rest of the time.”

When Reemsnyder called for a motion to close the meeting, some members of the audience objected with one shouting, “We’re not done,” but the motion was successfully seconded and approved.

After the meeting, Lenny Corto told LymeLine that he agreed, “The street needs work,” but commented, “They’ve cut out the bathrooms, the park, the lighting and they’re still over budget.  All we’re getting is sidewalks, bike paths and trees.”  Meanwhile, Hyland expressed a different opinion to LymeLine about the proposed plans, saying simply, ”It’s about time.”

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of its 25th Season This Weekend

Violinist Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun

Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement as eight extraordinary musicians perform works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima.  The last concerts of this season, which will feature veteran violinist Chee-Yun, will be held Saturday, April 30, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. 

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th Anniversary Party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

The finale of each concert will be one of the best-loved works in the chamber music repertoire: the Mendelssohn Octet.  It promises to be a wonderful conclusion to the group’s first quarter century. 

Artistic Director, Edward Arron commented,  “I feel privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.  This summer information will be posted about the 26th season, which begins in October 2016.

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Clinton, Trump Win in Both Lyme, Old Lyme

Poll workers tally totals at the Cross Lane FireHouse after voting closed in Tuesday's presidential primary election.

Poll workers tally totals at the Cross Lane FireHouse after voting closed in Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

Reflecting statewide results, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were the winners in both the Lyme and Old Lyme primaries. Republican Trump’s margin of victory over runner-up John Kasich in Lyme was only seven votes but in Old Lyme, Trump garnered 470 votes to Kasich’s 326. Third-placed Ted Cruz secured 89 votes in Old Lyme and 36 votes in Lyme.

Interestingly, on the Democratic side, using the totals for just Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in a close race again reflecting the state’s position, Clinton secured exactly the same percentage of the vote (52.3 percent) in both towns., defeating Sanders by 18 votes in Old Lyme and seven in Lyme.

The unofficial results in detail were as follows:

Lyme Democrats:

Rocky De La Fuente: 0
Hilary Clinton: 206
Bernie Sanders: 188
Uncommitted: 1

Old Lyme Democrats:

Rocky De La Fuente: 0
Hilary Clinton: 476
Bernie Sanders: 434
Uncommitted: 14

Lyme Republicans:

Ted Cruz: 36
Ben Carson: 4
Donald Trump: 137
John Kasich: 124
Uncommitted: 7

Old Lyme Republicans:

Ted Cruz: 89
Ben Carson: 5
Donald Trump: 470
John Kasich: 326
Uncommitted: 13

 

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It’s Presidential Primary Day in Connecticut — Don’t Forget to Vote!

All registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in today’s Presidential Primary election. Unaffiliated registered voters must wait until the November election to cast their ballots.

Voting locations in Lyme and Old Lyme are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. as follows:

Lyme residents:

Hamburg Fire House

Old Lyme residents:

Cross Lane Fire House

We will report the results of the election in both towns here on LymeLine.com shortly after they have been announced at the respective polling stations.

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Old Lyme Library’s BookCellar to Hold Spring Half Price Book Sale, Saturday

BookCellar Co-Managers Ann de Selding (right) and Claudia Condon check entries in the BookCellar's master catalog.

BookCellar Co-Managers Ann de Selding (right) and Claudia Condon check entries in the BookCellar’s master catalog.

The BookCellar at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library will be hosting a special Spring Half-Price Sale on all regular items (with the exception of “Collectibles”) on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The BookCellar is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Phoebe’s BookCellar is a volunteer-run used bookstore managed by the Friends of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. Besides the special editions, there is a wide range of gently used books in what is now the only remaining general interest bookstore in Old Lyme.

Inside the BookCellar.

There’s room to relax and read inside the BookCellar.

Many best sellers, mysteries, science fiction, History and Biography, general literature, DVDs, audio books and children’s books, as well as special interest areas such as Cooking, Gardening, Art and Photography are to be found on its shelves. Recent hardcover books are generally priced about $4, with children’s books as well as mass market and trade paperbacks at 50 cents to $2.

For further information, including direct inquiries about the Collectibles, contact the BookCellar at phoebesbookcellar@gmail.com

The Library is located at 2 Library Lane, Old Lyme CT 06371. Opening hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 7pm; Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 6pm; Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.  The Library is closed on Sunday. For further information, call 860.434.1684 or visit www.oldlyme.lioninc.org

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Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women Celebrate Spring at Art-Inspired Fundraiser, Saturday

LOLJWC_A_Toast _to_SpringIn ‘A Toast to Spring’, the Lyme Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC) are popping the cork and putting a twist on their annual fundraising art show. Club members invite the public to join them for this great event on Saturday, April 30, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme.

The event will feature beer and wine tasting; complimentary hors d’oeuvres; a silent auction; live entertainment by ‘Java Groove’; a photo booth, and, of course, the perennially popular art show.

For more than 50 years, the Club has generously supported local charities and causes throughout the shoreline community. This year, the LOLJWC has selected the ‘Love Your Playground’ project at Town Woods and Cross Lane Parks as their main beneficiary. In addition to the playgrounds, the club will continue to support other local beneficiaries and provide scholarships to graduating Lyme-Old Lyme High School students.

Ticket prices are $50 per person and can be purchased from any LOLJWC member or online at LOLJWC.com. Attendees must be 21 years or older.

For additional information, visit the LOLJWC website at www.loljwc.com

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Sound View Improvements Committee to Give Informational Presentation This Evening

The Rte. 156/Sound View Improvements Committee will make another in a series of informational presentations on the Sound View Improvements Project on Monday, April 25, at the Shoreline Community Center, 39 Hartford Ave., at 7:30 p.m.  All are welcome.

This meeting will highlight the final design plans for the Hartford Ave. streetscape improvements.  Some of these improvements include wider, ADA compliant sidewalks for pedestrian safety, an on-road bike-way, attractive bump-outs with plantings, benches and bike racks. These improvements are eligible for 80 percent reimbursement through a federal transportation grant.

The project committee will be joined by the engineering consultant team to provide a presentation and answer questions.

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It’s 400 Years Since The Bard Died: ‘The New Consort’ Remembers Him This Evening in Word, Song at St. Ann’s

'The New Consort' will present a concert Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann's in Old Lyme.

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 - 4/23/1616

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

Today, April 23, St. Ann’s of Old Lyme presents a special musical program, Much Ado About Music: 400 Years of Shakespeare Set to Song.

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on April 23, 1616, this musical celebration of the Bard’s enduring legacy will be performed by The New Consort, a project-based vocal ensemble directed by baritone and Old Lyme native Brian Mummert. The evening’s hour-long program will include music written by English composers of Shakespeare’s time, settings of Shakespeare’s texts by a variety of more recent composers, and readings from some of his greatest plays and sonnets.

Another view of 'The New Consort' singing.

Another view of ‘The New Consort’ singing.

St. Ann’s is particularly excited to present the world premiere of When He Shall Die, composed specifically for The New Consort on this occasion by Lyme resident and Wesleyan emeritus faculty member Sarah Meneely-Kyder. The concert aims to celebrate the life and work of this great artist, whose characters and stories continue to wield influence across our culture to this day.

The_New_ConsortWinners of the 2015 American Prize in Chamber Music, The New Consort was founded in 2014 and has quickly made embracing stylistic contrasts one of its hallmarks: from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary and non-classical works, nothing is off limits. Members of The New Consort come together in shoreline CT for an intensive week of rehearsals leading up to each set of concerts.

The group’s singers have appeared in venues including Washington’s Kennedy Center and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and have performed in ensembles ranging from the Choirs of Trinity Wall Street and the National Cathedral to Chanticleer, but relish the opportunity that The New Consort presents to collaborate with each other as chamber musicians.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. The performance will begin at 5 p.m. and doors open at 4:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to meet members of The New Consort at a reception following the concert.

Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, Conn., where the rector The Reverend Canon Mark Robinson and the temporary assistant rector The Reverend Patricia Hames invite and welcome all visitors to this family-friendly event.

Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Rd. (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.

For reservations and more information, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Child and Family Agency Collecting Donations for Annual Sale in Old Lyme, Tuesday

How does it look? Intake for Child & Family's Annual Sale is Tuesday in Old Lyme.

How does it look? Intake for Child & Family’s Annual Sale is Tuesday in Old Lyme.

The Lyme/Old Lyme Auxiliary of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut has scheduled its Intake for donations to the Agency’s 62nd Annual Sale. Donations will be accepted for one day only in Old Lyme on Tuesday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, in the Sheffield Auditorium on Ferry Rd. This will be the only day to bring items for donation in Old Lyme.

Items accepted include furniture, art work, men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; books, records, CDs and DVDs; toys and sporting goods; small appliances; household items; linens; jewelry; tools; and more. All items must be in very good condition, i.e., clothes and linens must be clean with no holes or stains, and appliances must be working. If you require assistance with donating large items, contact the agency at 860-443-2896.

Child and Family Agency’s 62nd Annual Sale will be held at the New London Armory on Bayonet St. in New London, May 5–7.  For more information on the sale, call 860-443-2896 or visit http://www.childandfamilyagency.org

Child and Family Agency is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being and development of all children and their families, with emphasis on the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional, and intellectual care and nurturing. With offices in New London and Essex, and programs in children’s health care, child abuse, family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, and child guidance, the Child and Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in Southeastern Connecticut.

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Old Lyme Artists Featured in Gallery One Exhibition at Guilford Art Center

Featured in the Gallery One exhibition at the Guilford Art Center is "Cottages, White Sands Beach #9" by Catherine Christiano, oil on panel, 4 1/4 x 6 inches, 2014.

Featured in the Gallery One exhibition at the Guilford Art Center is “Cottages, White Sands Beach #9” by Catherine Christiano of Old Lyme. The work is oil on panel, 4 1/4 x 6 inches, and was painted in 2014.

Gallery One,  a cooperative of mid-career artists working in a wide variety of media and styles from representational to abstract, including painting, sculpture and works on paper, will exhibit at the Guilford Art Center’s Mill Gallery, from Friday, April 22, through Sunday, May 15. The artists’ vision is to provide Southeastern Connecticut with a stimulating resource and to support one another as artists.

An opening reception will be held Friday, April 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. and a closing reception with Jazz Circle improvisational music inspired by the artwork on Sunday, May 15 from 2 to 4 p.m.  Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

“The Mill Gallery at the Guilford Art Center is a wonderful canvas for us to design the exhibition using our work as the compositional elements,” says Gallery One director Judith Barbour Osborne, “creating a flow from piece to piece (artist to artist), creating juxtapositions of similar and opposite pieces while considering formal aspects such as line, color, form, weight, and so on.”

Carlisle-BlusteryDay

‘Blustery Day’ by Ashby Carlisle will also be on view at the exhibition.

Member artists include David Brown, Ashby Carlisle, Catherine Christiano, Bette Ellsworth, Gray Jacobik, Rick Lacey, Judith Barbour Osborne, T. Willie Raney, Diana Rogers, Rick Silberberg and Jill Vaughn. Carlisle and Christiano are Old Lyme residents while Thelma Halloran, who uses the artist name of T. Willie Raney, is a teacher at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  Deborah Hornbake of East Haddam, Conn., and Steve Lloyd of W. Brattleboro, Vt., (formerly of Chester, Conn.) will be joining them for this exhibition.

The Artists of Gallery One exhibit in various locations along the Connecticut shoreline. Additional information about the artists and upcoming exhibitions can be found at www.galleryoneCT.com.

For more information about the Guilford Art Center, visit www.GuilfordArtCenter.org

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D18 Superintendent Reacts to US News & World Report’s Stellar Rankings of Lyme-Old Lyme HS

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

After learning that  Lyme-Old Lyme High School was ranked 8th in the state of Connecticut and 429th in the nation in a listing of public high schools published this week by US News & World Report, a delighted District 18 Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser commented to LymeLine.com, “Congratulations to the students, staff and community for yet another honor for this incredible institution.  This is an honor for not only the high school, but the entire Pre-K through 12 program and the students, staff and community that make it so strong.”

Click to read our story published 4/20, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Ranked 8th in State, 429th Nationally by US News & World Report

Click to read a related story published on NBCConnecticut.com 4/20, 11 Connecticut High Schools Get Gold Medals in National Ranking

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Old Lyme Historic District Commission to Hear Bee & Thistle’s Application for Outdoor Seating, May 2

The Old Lyme Historic District Commission (HDC) will hold a Public Hearing on Monday, May 2, at 9:45 a.m. in the upstairs conference room at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall when members will hear and act on a Certificate of Appropriateness application from the Bee and Thistle Inn at 100 Lyme Street. The application is to install a patio on the south side of inn.

The public is invited to attend and express its views. Letters may be sent to the Historic District Commission at 52 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371.

Supporting material will be available at the May 2 Public Hearing.

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School Ranked 8th in State, 429th Nationally by US News & World Report

US News & World Report ranked Lyme-Old Lyme High School 8th in Connecticut in their just published listing of America's Best High Schools.

US News & World Report ranked Lyme-Old Lyme High School 8th in Connecticut in their just published listing of America’s Best High Schools.

LOLHSCementing its position as one of the top high schools in both the state and country, Lyme-Old Lyme High School  (LOLHS) has been named the eighth best public high school in Connecticut by US News & World Report in their listing of “Best High Schools” published this week.  Moreover, LOLHS was ranked nationally at #429 and consequently, as one of the top 500 schools in the country, was awarded US News & World Report’s highest honor of a gold medal.

In terms of its Connecticut ranking, Lyme-Old Lyme had the highest ranking of any school in New London County with the only other schools in the county placed being Waterford High School at #41 and Fitch at #43.  Although three schools in Fairfield County came ahead of Lyme-Old Lyme (Weston, Ridgefield and Wilton at 4th, 5th and 7th respectively),in a remarkable achievement, LOLHS came in ahead of Simsbury, Greenwich and Darien High Schools respectively at 9th, 10th and 11th places.

The top high school in Connecticut was the Connecticut IB Academy in East Hartford , with second place going to the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at Hartford. Third place went to the Amistad Academy at New Haven and sixth position to Conard High School in West Hartford.

Other shoreline schools which received state rankings were Guilford at 22nd, Daniel Hand of Madison at 29th and Old Saybrook at 30th.  Along with Fitch and Waterford, these schools all were awarded silver medals.

U.S. News evaluated more than 28,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the top public high schools nationally. Five hundred high schools received gold medals, 2,173 schools earned silver and 3,545 took home bronze in the national rankings. Schools were ranked based on their performance on state assessments, their graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college.  Click here to read full details of the methodology used by US News & World Report.

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Op-Ed: Another Q & A on the Proposed High Speed Railtrack

Today, we are publishing a second question and answer (Q & A) piece in our occasional series related to the Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) proposal to route a high speed rail track through the center of Old Lyme bifurcating Lyme Street just to the south of the I-95 bridge.

We pose our questions to Greg Stroud, who then graciously responds with his opinion. Soon, we hope also to be publishing an update from Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Stroud, an Old Lyme resident, has taken a deep and enduring interest in the FRA’s proposal and has, in the process, become extremely knowledgeable on the complexities of the project.  For regular readers, you will recall that Stroud wrote the original editorial on LymeLine.com that sparked an avalanche of interest in and concern about the FRA’s proposal.  The first Q & A we did with Stroud similarly generated a healthy discussion and can be found at this link.

Stroud has also created a Facebook page titled SECoast at Old Lyme where readers can glean a plethora of information about the project and be kept current on developments.

These postcards will be available for sale at the May Day 'Help Stop the Train' event being held at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds on Lyme Street from 2-4 p.m. All are welcome.

These postcards will be available for sale at the May Day ‘Help Stop the Train’ event being held at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds on Lyme Street from 2-4 p.m. All are welcome.

Question (LymeLine.com ): How would you respond to readers, who might make a back-of-an-envelope calculation, and conclude that the numbers for high speed rail simply do not add up?  Last December, Congress passed a transportation bill, the so-called FAST Act, which budgets only $2.6 billion over five years for passenger rail along the Northeast Corridor, and yet, NEC Future Alternative 1 (the least expensive high speed rail option) carries a price tag of at least $65 billion. Surely, you can’t build what you can’t fund?

Answer (Gregory Stroud): Well, I’d start by offering a simple equation of my own. Take a look at I-95 today. I think pretty much everyone agrees it’s a disaster. Now imagine how it will look in another 10 years if the population along the Northeast Corridor grows, as expected, by another 12 percent.  And in 20 years? An added lane in either direction—at its own estimated $9 billion—only adds so much. If not from rail, where else will we find the needed added capacity?

The Northeast Corridor is a $2.6 trillion economy, every day fed by 7,500 commuter trains, 1,200 Amtrak trains, 70 freight trains, more than 260 million passenger trips per year. Connecticut alone is proposing to spend $100 billion over the next 30 years on transportation infrastructure. Add to that the needs and economies of Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, with Old Lyme perched somewhere in the middle.

A single day’s disruption—a malfunction of the lift bridge across the Connecticut, or by damage from a storm—comes at its own estimated cost of $100 million. Even the apparently unthinkable “no action” alternative would cost $20 billion.

Of course, Congress will never appropriate enough money to modernize high speed rail along the Northeast Corridor, but then that was never the plan. Instead, the idea is to negotiate a cost sharing between the federal government, the states and operators along the corridor, not just Amtrak, but VRE, MARC, SEPTA, NJ Transit, LIRR, Metro North, Shore Line East, MBTA, and the freight operators.

Another $35 billion of private financing is potentially available through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program (RRIF). The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) offers a further $275 million per year.

More financing will have to come from the private sector. Tens of millions each year from utility companies for leasing easements along the rail lines for natural gas, oil, fiber optic cable, an estimated 100 new cellphone towers, and so on. In Florida, high speed rail partnered with the Fortress Investment Group. In Maryland, the Purple Line is a $5.6 billion public-private venture. The Northeast Corridor will require  similar financing and investment.

Providing for these investments is exactly why, on a bipartisan basis, the FAST Act included a provision to effectively separate the Northeast Corridor from Amtrak’s other services. Rather than funding rail travel to Omaha or Elyria, Ohio, the Northeast Corridor will keep its steady stream of surpluses (currently about $300 million yearly) in exchange for assuming the long-term burden of its own infrastructure expenses.

But with costs stretching into the tens of billions, why would Connecticut settle for Alternative 1—a plan with few stops and relatively little service for the state? Perhaps it won’t … That said, given the current state of the Connecticut finances, perhaps the plan with the least service perversely best leverages the other states and operators along the Northeast Corridor to help solve Connecticut’s almost unmanageable infrastructure backlog. High speed rail service for New Haven and Stamford in exchange for a more favorable cost-sharing formula. Perhaps. It’s not clear.

Given the stakes, the complexity and scale of such negotiations, it’s no wonder not a single politician above the local level—not Malloy, not Blumenthal, not Murphy, not Courtney—has come out publicly opposed to a new rail route through Old Lyme. Taken as a whole, Old Lyme appears a very small matter in the very large scale of things. But for Old Lyme residents to feel at all safe, that must change.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Greg Stroud.

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Con Brio Offers a ‘Simply Dazzling’ Spring Concert in Old Lyme This Afternoon

Mihae Lee.

Mihae Lee.

Con Brio, the shoreline’s all-auditioned chorus, offers its spring concert on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by Associate Music Director Susan Saltus and accompanied by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by world-renowned pianist Mihae Lee, known to many in the area as the artistic director of the Essex Winter Series. Critics have described her playing as “simply dazzling.”

Vocal soloists include Danielle Munsell Howard and Laura Gladd, soprano; Donna Bishop-Seaton, contralto; Ransom Bruce and Bill Sorensen, tenor; and John Dominick III, bass.

The concert opens with two well-paired pieces: Dvorak’s Te Deum and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. Commissioned to write a piece in 1891 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, Dvorak composed the Te Deum and performed it at his first concert in New York as director of the National Conservatory of Music. This liturgical hymn to God has been described as one of the most “spectacular” of Dvorak’s compositions.

Often considered a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia premiered in 1808 at what might be considered the greatest of classical concerts ever performed, an hours-long concert that included the premiers of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral), and the first public performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto. The Fantasia develops as a series of variations on a theme, which prefigures that of the last movement of the Ninth Symphony, composed some years later.

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John Dominick III

For the second half of the concert, Con Brio will sing pieces that it will share with local choruses in Portugal and Spain during its sixth European tour in May. Pieces include Alice Parker’s great traditional arrangement of a fine early American hymn, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal”; Rachmaninoff’s beloved setting of the Ave Maria, “Bogoroditse Devo”; the Portuguese song, “Eu vou, eu vou” and the Spanish song, “Te Quiero.” The concert ends with two rousing pieces for audience participation: “Praise His Holy Name” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets at $30 adults, $15 students, are available at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860-526-5399.

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Op-Ed: Carney Says Proposed State Education Budget Cuts Will Seriously Impact Region 18

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Does Governor Malloy have a problem with communities that succeed? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Year after year, the schools of the 23rd District work diligently to provide quality education to our youth. Our teachers and administrators add to the success of our state by instilling the proper foundation to produce the industrial, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. Many of our best and the brightest students chose to continue their education in Connecticut – something of which the governor should be incredibly proud. Just last year the valedictorians from Region 18 (Lyme and Old Lyme) and Westbrook as well as the salutatorian from Old Saybrook chose UConn.

We have seen two budget proposals over the past two weeks that would do damage to the schools in the 23rd District. The Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee released an incomplete budget that would cut Education Cost Sharing (“ECS”) funding to the towns in our district by 33 – 56%. This was bad enough. But, under the governor’s updated proposal, the four towns in the 23rd went from receiving a recommended amount of $1,831,496 in ECS funding to $0 for FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). A total of 28 towns were zeroed-out, while many cities, like the governor’s hometown of Stamford, were held harmless. Talk about a shared sacrifice.

These proposed cuts – made at a time when most local Boards of Finance are crafting their own fiscal year budgets – are unfair. The clear lack of respect and care on the governor’s part is alarming. All four towns in the 23rd District will now have funding gaps and may require local property tax increases to offset them. This would add an even greater burden to Connecticut’s taxpayers and Connecticut simply cannot afford to lose additional wealth at this time. However, that’s where these indirect tax hikes would be directed – all 28 communities being zeroed-out are considered ‘wealthy’.

Although these cuts are debilitating to small towns like ours – which already receive far less back from the state than we put in – we must keep in mind that this is only a proposal.

I remain committed to finding a solution with other members of the legislature to address this inequitable cut to our towns and to solving our $930 million deficit. The state wants people to move to Connecticut and one of our best selling points is our top-tier education. While we are faced with many serious and pressing economic issues, predominantly the ongoing budget crisis, great public education is one area on which we can pride ourselves.

I have written a letter to the governor urging him not to turn his back on the children and the taxpayers of the 23rd District and to request that he amend his updated budget and eliminate these cuts. The taxpayers of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook provide a great deal to this state and the deficits would be much, much higher without us. If either the legislature’s or the governor’s cuts are enacted, then it would be only fair that some of the approximately 380 unfunded state educational mandates be eliminated.

Instead of education, the governor and the legislature must look to balance the budget through real structural changes in the way state government is run. Changes could include pension and benefit reform, re-negotiating of union contracts, a moratorium on unnecessary government projects, serious spending and bonding caps, and tighter controls on overtime. When I last checked, many don’t live in Connecticut for bloated government overtime, but they do for our great schools. In fact, it may just be the only thing keeping them here.

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the Appropriations budget: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the governor’s budget: click here

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here

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Town of Old Lyme Hosts Budget Hearing, Monday

The proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2016 will be presented at a hearing on Monday, April 18 in the Meeting Hall of Memorial Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. The presentation will include a Power Point with budget details.

The final budget proposal is $35,208,538, an increase of $451,897, or 1.3 percent, over the current year. The increase can be largely attributed to Regional District 18 expense of $551,896.

Major capital project requests include construction of an Academy Lane Fire Dock, a Public Works salt shed, and renovation of the Lymes’ Senior Center’s HVAC system.

The Town’s general government budget is decreased from the current year, largely due to reductions in Public Works, Health and Police Department staffing as well as the elimination of Septage Expense.

Anticipated Town revenues are sharply reduced due to reductions in State funding. ECS (Education Cost Sharing) funding from the State, $605,000 in the current year, was initially reduced to $595,000 for 16/17. The Governor has now proposed eliminating it for Old Lyme and a number of other communities.

The Board of Finance has voted to apply $600,000 from the Town’s surplus (unspent funding allocations from prior budget years) to make up the deficit from state funding, resulting in a mill rate of 21.2. Without use of surplus funds, the mill rate would increase to 21.59.  The current mill rate is 20.62.

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Lyme Firemen Win Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation’s 4th Annual Trivia Bee

Fighting off stiff competition, the Lyme firemen were the ultimate winners of the coveted Trivia Bee trophy in 2016..

Fighting off stiff competition, the Lyme Fire Bees were the ultimate winners of the coveted Trivia Bee trophy in 2016..

The local community came together to support the Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation’s (LOLEF) 4th Annual Trivia Bee fundraiser held April 1 … and had a thoroughly enjoyable time doing it, while also raising substantial funds for the Foundation.

The Foundation was established in 2006 to support and enhance public education in the community. Grants have been awarded for educational initiatives that span the breadth of our community, from our youngest students to our senior citizens.

WFSB News Anchor Eric Parker excelled as emcee of the event.

WFSB News Anchor Eric Parker excelled as emcee of the event.

So what happens when 22 teams comprised of elected officials, school administration, volunteer firefighters, local business owners, realtors, librarians, students, teachers and coaches compete for the coveted LOLEF Golden Bee Award?  The answer — lots of laughter ensues, prizes are awarded, and funds are raised for education in the Lymes.

After three swarms, the final four teams entered the championship round: Bee Good comprised of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) teachers, Region 18 Coaches featuring (… you guessed it!) athletic team coaches, Lyme Fire Bees made up of volunteer firefighters from Lyme, and The No-Brainers comprising Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School teachers. Three tie breaker questions were required for the final two teams, Bee Good and Lyme Fire Bees. The firefighters were the ultimate victors of the Bee and it is anticipated they will place the Golden Bee Trophy in a prominent location at the Lyme Fire Station.

This young man was all ready for the roaring trade of concession sales during the evening.

This young man was all ready for the roaring trade of concession sales during the evening.

In addition to the main event, audience members were entertained by the LOLHS Select Singers between swarms, and had opportunities to answer questions and win prizes.

All monies raised are returned to the community in the form of grants to the LOL Public Schools and local non-profit organizations.

The 5th Annual Trivia Bee will be held next year.  Teams pay a fee to enter but, as always, admission will be free.

The volunteer judges ably kept order during the more boisterous rounds of questions!

The volunteer judges ably kept order during the more boisterous rounds of questions!

The LOLEF Board of Directors would like to extend their gratitude to their Master of Ceremonies, WFSB News Anchor Eric Parker, who did an excellent job stepping in to entertain and guide the evening. Additionally, thanks go to the volunteer judges, Superintendent Ian Neviaser, and teachers Rebecca Bocian and Mercy Alger who really entered into the spirit of the event.

Finally, the LOLEF Board wishes to thank everyone who participated in the evening in any way.  LymeLine.com is proud to be a sponsor of the Trivia Bee.

For more information about the Foundation, visit www.lolef.org.

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Talk on Hiking ‘The Appalachian Trail’ Tonight at Old Lyme Library

High_in_Appalachians
“Not all those who wonder are lost” (J.R.R.Tolkien)

This evening at 7 p.m., guest speaker Sam Ducharme will take the audience on a modern day adventure of hiking the Appalachian Trail at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.  In March of 2015, Sam Ducharme set out on a 2,180 mile, 14 state backpacking trip from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine. During his six month journey he documented the rugged beauty of the Appalachian mountains, the wildlife, the hardships encountered on the trail, as well as the people, culture and humanity at its finest.

Come join him as he takes you through the trail towns, over the mountaintops and through the backcountry. The images and stories will leave you with a renewed awe of the beauty of our country and its people. You will also see his gear, how he cooked, and hear what it is like sleeping in a hammock for six months through three seasons.

Ducharme is a retired K9 Officer and is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. He has two adult sons, both serving in the United States Air Force. As an avid outdoorsman, and finding the nest empty, Ducharme decided to buy a backpack and a plane ticket to Georgia. From there, he started walking North.

With no prior backpacking experience, he learned on the trail. Gear, trail nutrition, enduring the elements, and the logistics involved in a long distance backpacking trip were hard lessons. After 20 years working within Connecticut’s prisons, the search for a positive recharge resulted in a life changing journey.  

The Library is located at 2 Library Lane, off Lyme Street in Old Lyme. Winter hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10am to 7pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 5pm and Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

For more information, call 860-434-1684 or visit www.oldlyme.lioninc.org.

If the Library’s parking lot is full, additional spaces are available on Lyme Street. There is also a lot behind the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall across the street from the Library

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