April 13, 2021

With Rise in COVID-19 Case Rates, CT DPH Urges Residents Not to Travel; Continue Mask-Wearing, Social Distancing

CT DPH emphasizes Continued vigilance and adherence to mitigation measures, including masks and social distancing, is key.

HARTFORD, CT – The State Department of Public Health (DPH) is reminding residents to remain vigilant against COVID-19 as case rates have risen over the last two weeks.

Connecticut DPH has moved several Connecticut towns that had been seeing falling or stable COVID-19 case rates back into Red Alert status, as the average daily case rate for COVID-19 has increased statewide to 25 cases/100,000 residents per day.

Over 90 percent of the Connecticut population, including the residents of Chester and Deep River, live in a town with an average daily case rate of over 15 cases per 100,000 residents (e.g. red alert towns). It is estimated that 40 percent of these new cases are the B.1.1.7 variant.

While case rates have decreased among persons age 70 and older, they have plateaued or increased among all other age groups. The age group with the highest case rates are 20– to 29-year-olds.

The county with the highest case rate is New Haven County at 31.8/100,000. The towns with the highest case rates are located in the Waterbury/Naugatuck Valley area; Waterbury has the second highest case rate in the state at 43.4/100,000.

For the latest town map and other COVID-19-related data, click here.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased over the last week with 456 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of today.

Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including those known to be more transmissible, are circulating in Connecticut and put people, who are not fully vaccinated, at increased risk of infection, serious illness, and death.

Continued vigilance and adherence to mitigation measures, including masks and social distancing, is key.

In addition, Connecticut residents considering travelling during the upcoming spring break season are urged to review CDC’s travel guidance, which continues to recommend against traveling at this time.

Connecticut DPH urges residents to get vaccinated if eligible or when you become eligible. The department also reminds residents that you are not fully vaccinated until 14 days after the entire vaccination regimen.

Editor’s Note: This report is based on a press release issued by CT DPH and distributed by Ledge Light Health Department.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight!

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling this evening during ‘First Friday.’

CHESTER, CT — The downtown Merchants of Chester are host another family-friendly First Friday this evening, Friday, April 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The organizers of this family friendly event are aiming to keep everyone extra-safe so masks must be worn at all times while in town for ‘First Friday’ and all attendees are requested to stay socially distant, especially if they are enjoying one of the music performances taking place throughout town.

Visitors that feel unwell are asked to stay home

Also, attendees are requested to respect the stated capacity of each space as noted at the entrance, especially if they are enjoying the music performance happening downtown at Leif Nillsson’s Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

Shops will all be open late and many will offer special sales or featured artists.

Tonight’s First Friday happenings include:
  • Celebrating the grand opening of Gather CHSTR
  • Watching a live painting demo by Pam Carlson and meeting Caryn B Davis, who will be signing her newest book of photographs, at The Space
  • Trying the new flavors for April at Honeycone Craft Ice Cream
  • Grooving to the sweet sounds of Arrowhead and Friends on the porch at Nilsson Spring Street Studio and viewing Leif Nilsson’s work on exhibit in the gallery
  • Seeing the newest mini-collection by Adorn at Lori Warner Gallery
  • Visiting Chester Gallery for a preview of the new exhibition, “New York in Chester” that formally opens in May
Don’t forget to pick up some Chester Merch (T-shirts, handmade leather key chains and more!) at the Hive during First Fridays and all the time at www.visitchesterct.com

Downtown restaurants are booking up fast, so make your reservation now!

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, at 20 Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by emailing chestermerchants@gmail.com.

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Explore Vernal Pools, See Emerging Life in ‘The Preserve,’ Saturday

Jim Russo helps a youngster identify a find from a vernal pool in The Preserve.

ESSEX, OLD SAYBROOK — Essex Land Trust hosts a hike Saturday, March 27, in The Preserve to explore, ‘Vernal Pools and Emerging Life.’

Bob Russo, ecologist and Ivoryton resident, is once again leading a hike in the Preserve to help you search for salamanders, frogs and plants emerging from the long winter. He will describe the biological and geological features that make the vernal pool areas unique and bountiful. 1½ hours duration.

Russo is a soil scientist, wetland scientist and ecologist who frequently played in swamps while growing up.

Meet at 10 a.m. at The Preserve East entrance parking lot, off Ingham Road.

Easy to moderate terrain.

Bring tall waterproof boots and nets if you have them. 

Open to all ages.

Bad weather cancels.

For further information, contact Jim Denham at 860-876-0306 or jgdenham@gmail.com. 

 

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Musical Masterworks Presents Mozart, Bach & More in March Concert, Tickets to View Video on Sale Now

Randall Scarlata

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks welcomes Randall Scarlata, baritone, along with Jeewon Park, on piano and Edward Arron on cello for their March concert video, which will be filmed on the stage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The concert video will feature the music of Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Schumann.

This performance will be filmed in mid-March and the link to the virtual concert will be made available to ticket buyers on March 27.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders will be able to experience Musical Masterworks as an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat, featuring the excellence of the performers’ artistry.

Musical Masterworks season finale performance will be filmed in May when will welcome back favorite artists, Gilles Vonsattel on piano and Tessa Lark on violin.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs through May 2021.  To purchase individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or email admin@musicalmasterworks.org.

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Applicants Sought for Award Supporting Young Adults with Autism, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Alexandra Dilger

AREAWIDE — An annual award for young adults who have faced challenges while working toward a personal goal is being offered by A Little Compassion, Inc., an area non-profit that works to change the lives of individuals with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

The organization operates The Nest Coffee House in downtown Deep River, providing employment and social opportunities for young adults with disabilities and increasing public awareness that they are vital and valuable community members. 

The Alexandra Dilger Award provides support for recipients aged 18 to 30 from a Lower Connecticut River Valley community, helping them continue to progress toward the attainment of their goals, such as becoming an illustrator or musician, attending college or starting a small business.

The application process includes the completion of a brief nomination form by the individual themselves or an adult community member. Finalists will participate in a friendly conversation with the nomination team.  

The award was established by Gale and Patrick Dilger of Deep River in memory of their daughter, Alexandra, who lived a rich and full life despite struggles with depression and anxiety throughout her teenage years and into her early 20s.  At the time of her passing at age 21 in November, 2018, Alexandra was working on her undergraduate degree at Landmark College in Vermont, with the intention of progressing to graduate school. 

“Our hope is that this award will represent a step toward greater independence and accomplishment for young adults who, like Alexandra, have wrestled with personal challenges, but have a goal in mind and are determined to achieve it,” the Dilgers said. 

Last year’s inaugural Alexandra Dilger award was presented to three young area adults: Jillian Noyes, of Old Saybrook, seeking to become an independent filmmaker, received specialized driving lessons, courtesy of Next Street Driving School.  Andre Foristall of Higganum received a laptop to help him with his computer science studies at Middlesex Community College and Evan Merenda of Madison also received an upgradable computer that will assist him to study bioinformatics at Landmark College, Vermont.

The deadline for nominations for the 2021 award is April 23 and the award recipients will be notified in May. More information and nomination forms are available at www.alittlecompassion.org or call 203 641-8656.

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Coral Reefs are Topic of Opening Virtual Lecture in RTPEC’s 2021 CT River Series, Tomorrow

AREAWIDE  — Throughout the past challenging year, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC), which is is part of Connecticut Audubon Society, has still found many ways to continue its work in environmental education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

It has offered small group programs like bird walks and owl prowls, a virtual Connecticut River ecology course, seasonal nature crafts for kids via Zoom, and more.

The RTPEC continues its mission with the announcement of their Spring 2021 Connecticut River Lecture Series.

A mainstay of the organization’s adult programming, the Connecticut River Lecture Series introduces scientists, researchers, writers, and artists who inform us about the biodiverse coastal and estuarine ecosystems of our region and planet.

In 2021, the RTPEC will celebrate the series’ seventh year with Zoom presentations from three prominent scientists, each focusing on a critical environmental issue. The programs are free, but registration is required and space is limited.

All the programs start at 6 p.m.

Thursday, March 11
Coral Reefs: Rainforests and Canaries of the Sea
Mark Hixon, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Dr. Mark Hixon

A leading expert on coral reefs, Dr. Hixon will discuss what is happening to them, why they are important, and how we can help preserve them.

Mark Hixon is the Sidney and Erika Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology and Chair of the Zoology Graduate Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research analyzes what determines the number of fish in the sea, how so many species naturally coexist, and how marine reserves and artificial reefs help conserve sea life and enhance fisheries.

A Fulbright Senior Scholar, Aldo Leopold Fellow, and Fellow of the International Coral Reef Society, Dr. Hixon serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals. Past chair of both the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee for NOAA and the Ocean Sciences Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation, Mark has given TED talks and appeared on the PBS TV show “Saving the Oceans.”

Details of the second lecture are as follows:

Thursday, April 8
Butterflies: Monarchs, Migrations, and Conservation
Robert Michael Pyle, Ph.D., conservation biologist and author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, will be interviewed by Evan Griswold.  

As a foremost authority on butterflies and other invertebrates, in 1971 Dr. Pyle founded The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of butterflies and all invertebrates and their habitats.

Evan Griswold will interview Dr Pyle about his life’s work on invertebrates and monarch butterfly migration and conservation.

Robert Michael Pyle grew up and learned his butterflies in Colorado. He earned his Ph.D. in butterfly ecology at Yale and worked as a conservation biologist in Papua New Guinea, Oregon, and Cambridge, England.

He has written 22 books including The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, winner of the 1987 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing and the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award. His book about Pacific Northwest forests and origins of the legends of Sasquatch was recently made into a movie.

Dr. Pyle has also published a book of poetry and his newest book, Nature Matrix, is a collection of essays, expressions of a life immersed in the natural world.

Evan Griswold, a Yale School of The Environment/School of Forestry classmate of Dr. Pyle’s, is a former Executive Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and a prominent Connecticut conservationist.

Details of the third and final lecture are as follows:

Thursday, April 29
The Secret Life of Plankton: The Base of the Marine Food Web
Hans Dam, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut

Plankton, a single cell organism, is the base of the marine food web. Hans Dam will speak about the evolutionary ecology of plankton and its vulnerability to climate change. He will describe the macro-power of its micro-organisms and his efforts to better understand the invisible life teeming in a tablespoon of river or Sound water.

Hans Dam is a biological oceanographer interested in the ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms: tiny creatures that control the biology of the sea. His current research focuses on how copepods, the most abundant animals on Earth, adapt to the ocean’s warming and acidification.

Another area of work is the evolutionary “arms race” between grazers and toxic plants. Dr. Dam has published more than 100 papers and trained a generation of oceanographers. He has also spent 20 years advising the State of Connecticut about water quality in Long Island Sound.

This year’s Lecture Series includes a special offer: a dinner available for pick-up on the day of the event prepared by renowned chef Ani Robaina, formerly chef to the Gates foundation, and currently owner and chef at Ani’s Table. The cost is $75.

For additional information and Zoom registration, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events/ or call 860-598-4218.

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Musical Masterworks Video of February Concert Now Available for Viewing

Rieko Aizawa plays the piano in the February ‘Musical Masterworks’ concert.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks welcomes Rieko Aizawa on piano, Todd Palmer on clarinet and Edward Arron on cello for their concert video, which was filmed from the stage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The concert video features the music of Mozart, Bernstein, Kenji Bunch and Brahms

This performance was filmed in mid-February and the link to the virtual concert is now available to ticket buyers.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders can experience Musical Masterworks in a whole new way: the audio-video production team creates an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat, featuring the performers’ exceptional artistry.

In March and May, Musical Masterworks will feature a selection of favorite artists, including baritone Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel and Jeewon Park on piano and Tessa Lark on violin, performing music from Bach to Corigliano.

The Musical Masterworks season runs through May 2021. 

To purchase a video mini-subscription ($100 each), individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call

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Enjoy ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight, ‘March Magic’ Scavenger Hunt to be Launched During Event

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling tomorrow evening during ‘First Friday.’

CHESTER, CT — The downtown Merchants of Chester are host another family-friendly First Friday tomorrow evening, Friday, March 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Join the March Magic Scavenger Hunt that will run all month long. Pick up a game card at Lark, collect stickers and win prizes! Learn more here: https://www.visitchesterct.com/march-magic

The organizers of this family friendly event are aiming to keep everyone extra-safe so masks must be worn at all times while in town for ‘First Friday’ and all attendees are requested to stay socially distant, especially if they are enjoying one of the music performances taking place throughout town. Visitors that feel unwell are asked to stay home

Also, attendees are requested to respect the stated capacity of each space as noted at the entrance, especially if they are enjoying the music performance happening downtown at Leif Nillsson’s Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

A new exhibition will be on display at The Chester Gallery. Also featured at the gallery will be sculptures by Gil Boro’s ‘After the Race-in Blue’ (see image at left in collage below) and ‘Family of Wo(man)’.

A selection of the sculpture on display at The Chester Gallery.

Shops will all be open late and many will offer special sales or featured artists.

Other restaurants and shops will most likely offer specials and sales.

Downtown restaurants are booking up fast, so make your reservation now!

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, at 20 Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by emailing chestermerchants@gmail.com.

 

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Feb. 23 COVID-19 Update: Lyme, Old Lyme Report One New Case Each; Cumulative Total in Old Lyme is 278, Lyme at 87

LYME/OLD LYME — The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Tuesday, Feb. 23, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22, shows that cumulative cases (confirmed and probable) since the pandemic began are up one in Old Lyme at 278 (from the numbers reported for Sunday, Feb. 21) and also up one in Lyme at 87.

It should be noted that Monday’s data always includes numbers from Friday through Sunday since reports are not issued over the weekend.

Lyme – Cumulative Cases Up One

Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 79 confirmed cases and EIGHT probable cases, making a TOTAL of 87 cases.

This represents an INCREASE OF ONE in the cumulative number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of probable cases over those reported Monday, Feb. 22.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,244, an increase of one over Monday’s number.

Old Lyme – Cumulative Cases Up One

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 272 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable casesmaking a TOTAL of 278 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of ONE in the cumulative number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases compared with those reported Monday, Feb. 22.

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,656, up 20 from the previous day’s number.

Old Lyme Moves Down into Orange (Second Highest) Zone for Two-Week New Case Rate, Lyme Moves Back into (Highest) Red

The weekly report issued Thursday, Feb. 18, by the CT DPH for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks shows that Old Lyme has finally moved into the (second highest) Orange Zone — down from the state-identified Red Zone, where it has been since early December 2020. Unfortunately, Lyme has moved back into the ‘Red Zone’ with the highest rate of new cases.

Overall, the report contains good news with 10 towns now in the Gray Zone, four in the Yellow Zone and 16 in the Orange Zone.  This is a far cry from the map we published back in November when every town in the state was in the Red Zone.

As of the Feb. 18 report, Old Lyme now joins 16 other towns — Essex, Deep River, Kent, Sherman, Goshen, Granby, Winchester, New Hartford, Canton, Farmington, Portland, Haddam, Hebron, Lebanon, Bethany and Southbury — in the Orange Zone.

Redding, Woodbury, Pomfret and Salisbury are in the Yellow Zone.

The Gray Zone includes Bridgewater, Canaan, Cornwall,  Norfolk, Scotland, Hartland, Barkamsted, Eastford, Franklin and Warren.

  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Three Fatalities in Old Lyme Since Pandemic Began, None in Lyme

According to the report mentioned above, there have now been THREE fatalities in Old Lyme. Asked Tuesday, Feb. 9, for details of this third fatality, Ledge Light Health Department Director of Health Stephen Mansfield responded, “We have not been notified of any recent deaths in Old Lyme. Keep in mind that that report is compiled by the Connecticut Department of Public Health; deaths are not reportable to local health districts.”

He added, “I can’t speak for their data sources.”

The two fatalities from Old Lyme previously reported in 2020 were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

No fatalities have been reported in Lyme.

More Detail on Two-Week Case Rates

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District. Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are encouraged to see a moderate decrease in cases for the 4th consecutive reporting period, and are hopeful that this trend will continue.”

The latest two-week case rate announced Thursday, Feb. 18, for the period 1/31 to 2/13 per 100,000 population (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/24 to 2/06) has fallen in Old Lyme but increased in Lyme.

The two-week case rates are as follows:

  • Old Lyme from 25.2 to 11.6
  • Lyme from 12.2 to 21.4

The same report shows that the number of cases in Week 1 and Week 2 recorded for the period 1/31 to 2/13 (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/24 to 2/06 shown in parentheses) are as follows:

  • Lyme had 2 (2) cases in Week 1 and 5 (2) in Week 2
  • Old Lyme had (17) cases in Week 1 and 3 (9) in Week 2

This data was updated Feb. 18, 2021.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

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Editor’s Note: The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we publish a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 24.

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Basketball Update: Boys, Girls defeat H-K, Boys Lose to Hale-Ray

LYME/OLD LYME — The Old Lyme girls continued their winning streak winning a fifth game in succession Thursday when they trounced Haddam-Killingworth (H-K) 51- 25. Old Lyme advanced to a 5-1 record while H-K fell to 0-6.

Senior Emily DeRoehn had 15 points, including going 11-15 from the Foul Line, six rebounds and two assists while Emma McCulloch scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds. Other contributors were Ali Kyle with 8 points, Sam Gray also with 8 and Grace Lathrop with seven.

After the game, Coach Don Bugbee commented on his girl’s performance, saying, It was a very nice team win for the girls. We got contributions from everyone on both the offensive and defensive ends of the game.”

In the Junior Varsity game, Old Lyme defeated Haddam-Killingworth 40-24. Alexis Fenton scored 16 points, Ali Kyle 10 and Melanie Warren six.

The girls meet Morgan in an away game, Monday, March 1, with the JV game tipping off at 4 and Varsity at 6 p.m.

Kirk Kaczor’s boys made up for a mid-week 42-57 home loss to Hale-Ray on Wednesday with a convincing 64-50 win over H-K on Thursday. 

After the H-K game, Kaczor commented, “[This was] a good win for us.” noting that Jacob Ritchie had scored 18 points and Frank Sablone 16.

Playing at home, the Old Lyme boys meet Morgan Monday, March 1, with the JV game tipping off at 4 and Varsity at 6 p.m.

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Feb. 26 COVID-19 Update: No Change in Cumulative Cases in Lyme at 86, Down One in Old Lyme to 279

LYME/OLD LYME — The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Friday, Feb. 26, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health(CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25, shows that cumulative cases (confirmed and probable) since the pandemic began held at the previous day’s numbers in Lyme at 86 and decreased by one in Old Lyme to 279.

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 26.

Old Lyme Now in Yellow (Second Lowest) Zone for Two-Week New Case Rate, Lyme Remains in (Highest) Red Zone

The report issued Friday, Feb. 26, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks contains good news for Old Lyme … but not Lyme. This report is issued daily, but only updated weekly on Thursdays. The current report was updated Thursday, Feb. 25.

It shows that Old Lyme has moved from the (second highest) Orange Zone down into the (lowest but one) Yellow Zone reflecting an even lower case rate than the previous week. Unfortunately, Lyme remains in the ‘Red Zone’ — the category with the highest rate of new cases. (Four zones are specified by the CT DPH — see details below)

Overall, the report contains more good news for the whole state with the following data for this week (the previous week’s figures shown in parentheses):

  • 15 (10) towns are now in the (lowest case rate) Gray Zone
  • 7 (4) are in the (lowest but one) Yellow Zone
  • 28 (16) are in the (second highest case rate) Orange Zone.

All the remaining towns are in the Red Zone. This is, however, a dramatic improvement from the map we published back in November when every town in the state was in the Red Zone.

This report shows that Old Lyme now joins six other towns — Middlefield, Waterbury, Burlington, Bolton, Tolland and Granby — in the Yellow (second lowest rate)  Zone.

The Gray (lowest rate) Zone includes Bridgewater, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, New Hartford, Norfolk, Scotland, Hartland, Barkamsted, Eastford, Franklin, Lisbon, Pomfret, Roxbury,  and Warren.

  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

The next CT DPH Weekly Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, March 4.

Old Lyme – Cumulative Cases Down One

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 273 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable casesmaking a TOTAL of 279 cases.

This represents a DECREASE of ONE in the cumulative number of confirmed cases compared with those reported Thursday, Feb. 25 and NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of probable cases reported the same day.

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,692, up 12 from the previous day’s number.

Lyme – No Change in Cumulative Cases

Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 78 confirmed cases and EIGHT probable cases, making a TOTAL of 86 cases.

This represents NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of confirmed or probable cases over those reported Thursday, Feb. 25.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,258, an increase of seven over Thursday’s number.

Three Fatalities in Old Lyme Since Pandemic Began, None in Lyme

According to the report mentioned above, there have now been THREE fatalities in Old Lyme. Asked Tuesday, Feb. 9, for details of this third fatality, Ledge Light Health Department Director of Health Stephen Mansfield responded, “We have not been notified of any recent deaths in Old Lyme. Keep in mind that that report is compiled by the Connecticut Department of Public Health; deaths are not reportable to local health districts.”

He added, “I can’t speak for their data sources.”

The two fatalities from Old Lyme previously reported in 2020 were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

No fatalities have been reported in Lyme.

More Detail on Two-Week Case Rates

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District. Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are encouraged to see a moderate decrease in cases for the 6th consecutive reporting period, and are hopeful that this trend will continue.”

The latest two-week case rate announced Thursday, Feb. 25, for the period 2/7 to 2/20 per 100,000 population (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/31 to 2/13) has fallen in Old Lyme but increased in Lyme.

The two-week case rates are as follows:

  • Old Lyme from 11.6 to 6.8
  • Lyme from 21.4 to 24.4

The same report shows that the number of cases in Week 1 and Week 2 recorded for the period 2/7 to 2/20  (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/31 to 2/13 shown in parentheses) is as follows:

  • Lyme had 5 (2) cases in Week 1 and 3 (5) in Week 2
  • Old Lyme had 4 (9) cases in Week 1 and 3 (7) in Week 2

This data was updated Feb. 25, 2021. The next Ledge Light Weekly Data Report for their District will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, March 4.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

[table id=10 /]

Editor’s Note: The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we publish a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. 

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Feb. 25 COVID-19 Update: Old Lyme Moves into (Lower) Yellow Zone for 2-Week Case Rate, Lyme Stays Red; Cumulative Case Totals Hold at 280 for OL, 86 for Lyme

This map shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. The Town of Old Lyme has moved into the Yellow Zone while Lyme remains in the Red Zone. (Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.)

LYME/OLD LYME —The report issued Thursday, Feb. 25, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks contains good news for Old Lyme … but not Lyme.

It shows that Old Lyme has moved from the (second highest) Orange Zone down into the (lowest but one) Yellow Zone reflecting an even lower case rate than the previous week. Unfortunately, Lyme remains in the ‘Red Zone’ — the category with the highest rate of new cases. (Four zones are specified by the CT DPH — see details below)

Overall, the report contains more good news for the whole state with the following data for this week (the previous week’s figures shown in parentheses):

  • 15 (10) towns are now in the (lowest case rate) Gray Zone
  • 7 (4) are in the (lowest but one) Yellow Zone
  • 28 (16) are in the (second highest case rate) Orange Zone.

All the remaining towns are in the Red Zone. This is, however, a dramatic improvement from the map we published back in November when every town in the state was in the Red Zone.

The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Thursday, Feb. 25, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, shows that cumulative cases (confirmed and probable) since the pandemic began held at the previous day’s numbers in both Old Lyme at 280 and in Lyme at 86.

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 26.

More Details on Towns, Zones; Old Lyme Now in Yellow (Second Lowest) Zone for Two-Week New Case Rate, Lyme Remains in (Highest) Red Zone

The weekly report issued Thursday, Feb. 25, by the CT DPH for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks shows that Old Lyme now joins six other towns — Middlefield, Waterbury, Burlington, Bolton, Tolland and Granby — in the Yellow (second lowest rate)  Zone.

The Gray (lowest rate) Zone includes Bridgewater, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, New Hartford, Norfolk, Scotland, Hartland, Barkamsted, Eastford, Franklin, Lisbon, Pomfret, Roxbury,  and Warren.

  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

The next CT DPH Weekly Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 25.

Old Lyme – No Change in Cumulative Cases 

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 274 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable casesmaking a TOTAL of 280 cases.

This represents NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of confirmed or probable cases compared with those reported Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,680, up 21 from the previous day’s number.

Lyme – No Change in Cumulative Cases

Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 78 confirmed cases and EIGHT probable cases, making a TOTAL of 86 cases.

This represents NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of confirmed or probable cases over those reported Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,251, an increase of two over Tuesday’s number.

Three Fatalities in Old Lyme Since Pandemic Began, None in Lyme

According to the report mentioned above, there have now been THREE fatalities in Old Lyme. Asked Tuesday, Feb. 9, for details of this third fatality, Ledge Light Health Department Director of Health Stephen Mansfield responded, “We have not been notified of any recent deaths in Old Lyme. Keep in mind that that report is compiled by the Connecticut Department of Public Health; deaths are not reportable to local health districts.”

He added, “I can’t speak for their data sources.”

The two fatalities from Old Lyme previously reported in 2020 were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

No fatalities have been reported in Lyme.

More Detail on Two-Week Case Rates

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District. Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are encouraged to see a moderate decrease in cases for the 6th consecutive reporting period, and are hopeful that this trend will continue.”

The latest two-week case rate announced Thursday, Feb. 25, for the period 2/7 to 2/20 per 100,000 population (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/31 to 2/13) has fallen in Old Lyme but increased in Lyme.

The two-week case rates are as follows:

  • Old Lyme from 11.6 to 6.8
  • Lyme from 21.4 to 24.4

The same report shows that the number of cases in Week 1 and Week 2 recorded for the period 2/7 to 2/20  (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/31 to 2/13 shown in parentheses) is as follows:

  • Lyme had 5 (2) cases in Week 1 and 3 (5) in Week 2
  • Old Lyme had 4 (9) cases in Week 1 and 3 (7) in Week 2

This data was updated Feb. 25, 2021. The next Ledge Light Weekly Data Report for their District will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, March 4.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

[table id=10 /]

Editor’s Note: The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we publish a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. 

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Death Announced of Kathleen Jane “Kathy” Munday of Old Lyme, Member of OLHS Class of 1967

OLD LYME — Kathleen Jane “Kathy” Munday passed into the hands of Our Lord Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 7, 2021, the thought of Tom Brady winning another championship being the last straw. Kathy was born May 31, 1949, in Woonsocket, R.I., the third child and only girl of nine.

After the family resettled in Old Lyme, she graduated from Old Lyme High School in 1967, and went on to college at Eastern Connecticut State University where she received a degree in education. After substitute teaching at Center School in Old Lyme, but not finding permanent employment, she started working at EB Publishing, a job she truly loved …

… Calling hours will be from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday March 13, with private burial to follow …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Feb. 21, in The Day.

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Death Announced of A. John Plikus Jr., 80, of Lyme; He Took Great Pleasure in … Bringing out the Beauty of his Corner of Lyme

LYME — A. John Plikus Jr., 80, of Lyme passed away Feb. 18, 2021, at his home. John was born April 3, 1940, son of Anthony J. Plikus Sr. and Alice (McCully) Plikus in New London …

… He leaves his beloved wife Christine (Audibert) Plikus; son John M. Plikus and his wife Kerry; daughter-in-law Monica Plikus; step-son Mark Hope and his wife Melissa; step-daughter Dr. April Chitwood; …

… In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to the Lyme Ambulance Association, P.O. Box 911, Hadlyme, CT 06439.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Feb. 21, in The Day.

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Win Major Awards in 2021 CT Scholastic Art Contest

‘Paige’ by Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Connie Pan received a prestigious Gold Key in the 2021 Scholastic Art Awards. Pan also won the ‘Best in Portfolio’ award.

LYME/OLD LYME — Four Lyme-Old Lyme High School students (LOLHS) will be recognized this evening at the 2021 Connecticut Scholastic Art contest’s virtual awards celebration, which celebrates the work of talented young artists in the state in grades 7 through 12.

Senior Connie Pan was awarded the Best in Portfolio award as well as Gold Keys in both the Drawing and Portfolio categories. She also earned one of two cash scholarships from Connecticut Woman Artists, as well as a scholarship offer from the University of Hartford Art School.

‘Rosenberg #2’ by LOLHS senior Olivia Bartlett was awarded a Gold Key in Mixed Media for the piece above. She also received a Gold Key in the Portfolio category and a Silver Key in Mixed Media.

Senior Olivia Bartlett earned Gold Keys in both the Portfolio and Mixed Media categories, and a Silver Key in the Mixed Media category along with a University of Hartford scholarship offer.

‘Mr. Cheney’ by Aidan Powers received a Gold Key in the Digital category.

Senior Aidan Powers earned both a Gold Key and an Honorable Mention in the Digital Media category, and senior Marina Melluzzo earned a Silver Key in the Ceramics and Glass category.

‘Invasion’ by Marina Melluzzo won a Silver Key in the Ceramics category.

Asked his reaction to the remarkable number of top awards earned by his students, LOLHS Art Department Chair William Allik told LymeLine exclusively, “We are very proud of both the winning students and several others whose portfolios were not included in this year’s show.”

He continued, “The jurying is inherently subjective, but this was a great year for Olivia Bartlett and Connie Pan — portfolio students whose work couldn’t be more different, yet who both show the development of traditional skills that we value here at LOLHS.”

Allik added, “Connie Pan is one of our top students academically, and this Best Portfolio award is a great validation of her choice to consider studying art in college. Our students don’t always get up [to Hartford] to see the competition, but the virtual exhibition is allowing all to see this year’s show.”

‘Catfishing’ by Connie Pan was included in her award-winning portfolio.

In light of the vastly increased accessibility the online nature of this year’s show has offered, Allik noted, “I hope they consider maintaining an online exhibit alongside future physical shows.”

‘Clown to Clown Conversation’ by Olivia Bartlett was included in her portfolio.

The Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Program is sponsored by the Connecticut Art Education Association and is an affiliate of The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Student artwork is juried by professional artists and university art faculty and selected on merit for inclusion in a statewide art exhibition usually held ‘in person’ at the Hartford Art School, but this year the event has been hosted exclusively online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beyond the honor of being chosen for this highly selective exhibit, students are eligible for Gold or Silver Keys and Honorable Mention awards in each of 17 media categories.

The winners of Gold Keys will subsequently have their artwork submitted digitally to the National  Scholastic Art Awards where they will be juried against Gold Key winners from all 50 states. In a reflection of the extremely high standards adhered to by the jurors, only eight portfolios in the Connecticut contest were awarded Gold Keys this year.

This year’s show can be viewed online at www.ctartawardsexhibit.net

Editor’s Notes: i) Here at LymeLine, we send hearty congratulations to all the exceptional artists, who were either award-winners or participated in the contest.

ii) This article is based on a press release issued by Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

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Classic Car Collecting Keeps Chugging Along During COVID-19 Pandemic

This very rare 1907 Cadillac Model M has been restored by Richard Willard of Vintage Motorcars of Westbrook for whom it has a special meaning.

WESTBROOK – Once a car buff … always a car buff.

Richard Willard of Vintage Motorcars in Westbrook, Conn. has been restoring antique cars with his father Sam since 1985. This past year has been one to remember in more ways than anyone can count, but for the Willards it’s been business as usual.

Car collectors all over the country have been enjoying their favorite pastime more than ever. As other businesses and activities have restrictions, going for a “Sunday Drive” in a coveted antique vehicle has more appeal than ever. Maybe collectors have more time to enjoy their collection or it’s just that they can easily social distance and get out of the house at the same time.

The collector car market has held steady and the interest and investment aspects of the hobby are going strong.

“When the country first shut down in the Spring of 2020, there was nothing going on with collectors and their cars. Usually this is a very busy time for us. Owners usually are preparing for the summer season and for a few months it seemed as if time stood still,” Richard Willard said, adding, “As time went on things started to rebound, and cars started to emerge from garages everywhere.”

Some car shows have gone virtual. The social aspect of showing off prized vehicles with others online has opened a market into which car shows did not traditionally reach. With prizes and spectators voting for winners in many categories, some virtual shows may continue into the future along with the in-person shows.

One car in particular that has been shown this past year is a very rare 1907 Cadillac Model M and it has a special meaning to Vintage Motorcars. This car belonged to Sam Willard, who just turned 88 and acquired the car in 1966.

“My father had this car kicking around as far back as I can remember” said Richard, his son and owner of Vintage Motorcars. “The car needed restoring and my dad did some wood work but then it fell to the wayside. He was a great starter of projects, but not so good at completing them!”

Richard continued, “One day in 2010, I decided to finish the car for him at the shop. It was a two-year project. He then took it to one show and realized that trailering this gem was not easy at his age. We then showed off the car in our showroom.”

Along came Bill Lillie, a prominent collector and family friend. He saw the car and fell in love with it. The timing was perfect. Sam could no longer drive the car and because of the emotional attachment, he was not looking to sell it and lose contact with it.

“So the perfect marriage was made. Bill was close by and would take my dad with him to some of the shows. He took the car to shows all over the country, winning many and sharing each and every moment with Sam. I know that they both are enjoying the new adventures of this 1907 Cadillac,” says Richard.

In fact, the attention attracted the national magazine Hemmings Classic Car to feature it in their March 2021 issue.  The article is titled Rescued Elegance and describes how, “This rare 1907 Model M Straight Line Touring recalls Cadillac’s early foray into the luxury car market” and Matt Litwin describes the history and restoration of this unique vehicle.  (Link:  ttps://www.hemmings.com/stories/article/rescued-elegance)

At Vintage Motorcars, the Willards continue to help collectors enjoy their cars and keep them chugging along.

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Essex Financial Adviser Tim Furgueson Named to Forbes’ List of ‘Best-In-State Wealth Advisers’

ESSEX — Essex Financial has announced that Tim Furgueson has been selected to the 2021 Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list, which honors top performing wealth management and financial planning advisors in each state.

Shook Research conducts several national rankings of wealth advisors each year on behalf of Forbes. In 2020, over 32,000 nominations were received. This year’s Best-In-State Wealth Advisors consists of top-ranking advisors who were nominated by their firms and then researched, interviewed and assigned a ranking within their respective states by the Shook organization.

“I’m honored to be recognized by a top publication like Forbes.  This would not be possible without the support I have from the entire Essex Financial team and the clients who place so much trust with me and our firm,” says Furgueson.

“We are delighted and very proud that Tim has been selected to this prestigious list of Forbes Wealth Advisors” said Charles R. Cumello, Jr., President and CEO of Essex Financial. “Tim has very effectively managed risk to help his clients reach their financial planning goals. I look forward to his evolving efforts in this area, as well as his overall leadership in the years ahead”.

Furgueson is a Financial Advisor in the Essex office of Essex Financial. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry. He resides in Essex, Conn. with his wife and children. He is very involved in the community through his work as Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Essex.

 

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Feb. 24 COVID-19 Update: Old Lyme Cumulative Cases Up Two to 280, Lyme Down One to 86

LYME/OLD LYME — The Daily Data Report for Connecticut issued Wednesday, Feb. 24, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for data as at 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, shows that cumulative cases (confirmed and probable) since the pandemic began are up two in Old Lyme at 280 (compared with the numbers reported Monday, Feb. 22) but down one in Lyme to 86.

It should be noted that Monday’s data always includes numbers from Friday through Sunday since reports are not issued over the weekend.

The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 25.

Old Lyme – Cumulative Cases Up Two

Old Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 274 confirmed COVID-19 cases and SIX probable casesmaking a TOTAL of 280 cases.

This represents an INCREASE of TWO in the cumulative number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the number of probable cases compared with those reported Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The total number of Old Lyme residents tested is 4,659, up three from the previous day’s number.

Lyme – Cumulative Cases Down One

Lyme now has a cumulative total (since the outbreak began) of 78 confirmed cases and EIGHT probable cases, making a TOTAL of 86 cases.

This represents an DECREASE OF ONE in the cumulative number of confirmed cases and NO CHANGE in the cumulative number of probable cases over those reported Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The total number of Lyme residents tested is 1,249, an increase of five over Monday’s number.

Old Lyme Moves Down into Orange (Second Highest) Zone for Two-Week New Case Rate, Lyme Moves Back into (Highest) Red

The weekly report issued Thursday, Feb. 18, by the CT DPH for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks shows that Old Lyme has finally moved into the (second highest) Orange Zone — down from the state-identified Red Zone, where it has been since early December 2020. Unfortunately, Lyme has moved back into the ‘Red Zone’ with the highest rate of new cases.

Overall, the report contains good news with 10 towns now in the Gray Zone, four in the Yellow Zone and 16 in the Orange Zone.  This is a far cry from the map we published back in November when every town in the state was in the Red Zone.

As of the Feb. 18 report, Old Lyme now joins 16 other towns — Essex, Deep River, Kent, Sherman, Goshen, Granby, Winchester, New Hartford, Canton, Farmington, Portland, Haddam, Hebron, Lebanon, Bethany and Southbury — in the Orange Zone.

Redding, Woodbury, Pomfret and Salisbury are in the Yellow Zone.

The Gray Zone includes Bridgewater, Canaan, Cornwall,  Norfolk, Scotland, Hartland, Barkamsted, Eastford, Franklin and Warren.

  • The gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

The next CT DPH Weekly Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 25.

Three Fatalities in Old Lyme Since Pandemic Began, None in Lyme

According to the report mentioned above, there have now been THREE fatalities in Old Lyme. Asked Tuesday, Feb. 9, for details of this third fatality, Ledge Light Health Department Director of Health Stephen Mansfield responded, “We have not been notified of any recent deaths in Old Lyme. Keep in mind that that report is compiled by the Connecticut Department of Public Health; deaths are not reportable to local health districts.”

He added, “I can’t speak for their data sources.”

The two fatalities from Old Lyme previously reported in 2020 were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

No fatalities have been reported in Lyme.

More Detail on Two-Week Case Rates

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District. Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are encouraged to see a moderate decrease in cases for the 4th consecutive reporting period, and are hopeful that this trend will continue.”

The latest two-week case rate announced Thursday, Feb. 18, for the period 1/31 to 2/13 per 100,000 population (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/24 to 2/06) has fallen in Old Lyme but increased in Lyme.

The two-week case rates are as follows:

  • Old Lyme from 25.2 to 11.6
  • Lyme from 12.2 to 21.4

The same report shows that the number of cases in Week 1 and Week 2 recorded for the period 1/31 to 2/13 (compared with the previous two-week case rate for 1/24 to 2/06 shown in parentheses) are as follows:

  • Lyme had 2 (2) cases in Week 1 and 5 (2) in Week 2
  • Old Lyme had (17) cases in Week 1 and 3 (9) in Week 2

This data was updated Feb. 18, 2021. The next Ledge Light Weekly Data Report for their District will be issued in the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 25.

Connecticut Hospital Occupancy

At the request of several readers, we are adding a new report today showing the respective rates of hospital occupancy at local hospitals. The data for this report is obtained from the Connecticut Hospital Occupancy Report published weekly by the CT DPH and extracted from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility-level data for hospital utilization aggregated on a weekly basis (Friday to Thursday).

[table id=10 /]

Editor’s Note: The state issues a COVID-19 metric report daily around 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which includes current data up to the previous evening. In light of the serious rise in Coronavirus cases, we publish a new weekday update reporting confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Lyme and Old Lyme. 

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Letter to the Editor: Make Increased Voter Access Permanent in Connecticut

To the Editor:

I am old enough to remember when voting was considered to be a patriotic duty.

Voting by mail in Connecticut will not continue unless we make it so.

Among the many lessons of the COVID pandemic, we have learned that the State of Connecticut is one of only 6 states in the country with no access to either early in-person voting days or to “no excuse” mail-in voting. When given the option to mail in our ballots in November 2020 due to COVID-19, the turnout for eligible Connecticut voters increased to 80%, a 3.5% increase from the high turnout in 2016.

I was thrilled to have an option besides standing in line on Election Day. I, for one, would like to see this increased voter access continue.

Our society has changed. We work long hours. We have long commutes. We have to contend with childcare and eldercare. Throw in an occasional blizzard, power outage, or pandemic, and continuing to have access to alternative voting methods just makes sense.

The Connecticut State Constitution currently does not allow for anything but in-person Election Day voting, and absentee ballots only under strict conditions. There is legislation being proposed this session in the Connecticut General Assembly to amend this, or at the very least, extend the option of “no excuse” mail-in ballots for another calendar year.

Lyme and Old Lyme residents, I urge you to reach out to your state Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) representatives, House Member Devon Carney (who represents Lyme and Old Lyme), State Senator Paul Formica (for the Town of Old Lyme), and State Senator Norm Needleman (for the Town of Lyme).  (Their respective contact information is given below.) Encourage them to permanently increase our access to the polls in as many ways as possible!  We deserve nothing less.

Sincerely,

Susan Fogliano,
Old Lyme.

Contact information for the CGA representatives is as follows:
State Rep. Devin Carney: Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov
State Senator Paul Formica: Paul.Formica@cga.ct.gov
State Senator Norm Needleman: Norm.Needleman@cga.ct.gov

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American Job Centers of Eastern Connecticut to Host Virtual Hiring Event, Thursday

AREAWIDE — The American Job Centers of Eastern Connecticut will host a virtual hiring event Thursday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Zoom, allowing individuals seeking new employment opportunities to interview for manufacturing, health care, warehouse and customer service jobs, among others.

Job openings available will include hands-on manufacturing roles, personal care attendant roles and other positions working in transportation, logistics and driving.

For a complete list of job openings, and to register for the event, visit https://ewib.org/American-Job-Center-EAST/Virtual-Events; upon registering, you will be contacted to select a time slot and get meeting details.

Interviews will take place over Zoom in 15-minute, one-on-one formats.

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State Senators Needleman, Formica Discuss Energy, Technology Priorities on Lee Elci Show, Now Available on Demand

Senators Norm Needleman, left, and Paul Formica from a 2019 television appearance. Photo submitted by Sen. Needleman’s office.

AREAWIDE — This past Monday, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) joined Lee Elci’s talk show on Radio 94.9 News Now for an extended, detailed discussion of the Energy & Technology Committee’s 2021 priorities and focuses. The Senators came together in a bipartisan fashion to discuss pressing issues driving their decisions and thoughts as the 2021 legislative session begins in earnest.

“I’m glad I was able to join Senator Formica and Lee to discuss this session’s many focuses,” said Sen. Needleman. “From the cost of energy to pursuing renewable sources of generation to looking into company and corporate practices, the Energy & Technology Committee is dedicated to tackling a number of vital and important issues in the coming months. I think Monday’s conversation helped us ensure we’re focused on what matters most – what’s best for the people of Connecticut.”

“Thank you to Lee Elci for opening up an hour of his show to discuss energy issues in Connecticut with Senator Needleman and me,” said Sen. Formica. “The important and challenging work of the state’s Energy & Technology Committee continues to attempt to balance generation and supply in a bipartisan way to benefit the citizens and ratepayers of Connecticut. It was great to share part of that process with the listeners of the Lee Elci show. I look forward to further, in depth conversations on energy.”

Monday’s discussion on the Lee Elci Show is available on-demand in recorded format on Elci’s SoundCloud page, located here. On the Jan. 25, broadcast, available here, the discussion between the Senators and Elci begins at around roughly the 2-hour 58-minute mark.

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SECWAC Host Authors of New Book on James Baker, “The Man Who Ran Washington,” Tonight

Peter Baker and Susan Glasser discuss their new book about James Baker III in a presentation hosted by SECWAC Wednesday evening.

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) present Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, respectively of The New York Times and The New Yorker, to speak on “The Man Who Ran Washington, The Life and Times of James A. Baker III,” Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m.

Baker and Glasser discuss their new biography of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and his impact on Washington and the world.

From the end of Watergate to the end of the Cold War, Baker had his hand in almost every major event in the capital, from running five presidential campaigns and managing Ronald Reagan’s White House to negotiating the reunification Germany and dealing with the collapse of the Soviet empire.

But his story is also the story of Washington and how it has changed over the years.

Copies of the book may be purchased from R.J Julia Independent Booksellers in Madison, CT, at this link: https://www.rjjulia.com/book/9780385540551.

This virtual event is free for members, guests $20, registration is required. The link to join will be emailed with your registration confirmation.

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Death of Gary Grisky Announced; Avid Outdoorsman, 1969 Graduate of Old Lyme HS

Gary Michael Grisky

OLD LYME — It is with our deepest sadness that we announce the unexpected, but peaceful passing of our brother Gary Michael Grisky on the 24th of December, 2020. He was born April 17th, 1951 in New Jersey, but spent the majority of his life in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He is predeceased by his mother and father Joyce and Donald Grisky of Old Lyme, Conn.

He graduated from Old Lyme High School in 1969 and New England School of Art in 1972 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Family and friends meant everything to him.  He is survived by his sisters Donelle Krajewski and her husband Michael Krajewski of Greer, South Carolina, and Mary Sterck and her husband Martin of Uebach-Palenberg, Germany; nieces Amanda van Liessum and her husband Maarten, and Catherine Lowery; his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his very special friends Fern and Michael Salkauskas.

Gary was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing, clamming, and crabbing, and sharing his bounty with family and friends.  He also loved listening to music and playing his guitar.

He will be missed for his great storytelling, friendship, and his beautiful smile.  The world is a little less bright without our beloved brother.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

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Essex Savings Bank Announces New President & CEO

ESSEX— The Board of Directors of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce that Diane Arnold, Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Essex Savings Bank, will be assuming the role of President and CEO in July 2021, upon the retirement of current President and CEO Gregory Shook.

Mr. Shook has served in his role for 21 years overseeing steady growth in deposits and loans, geographic expansion, the development of the Trust Department with over $600 million in assets, and integration with Essex Financial Services, its wholly-owned wealth management subsidiary with over $2.8 billion of managed assets. In addition to inheriting Mr. Shook’s role, Ms. Arnold will also serve on the Board of Essex Savings Bank, and on the Board of Essex Financial Services, Inc. 

Douglas Paul, Chairman of the Essex Savings Bank Board of Directors, stated, “Greg Shook has been an exemplary leader, and our Board engaged in a very extensive and comprehensive process to select his successor. Ms. Arnold is an outstanding choice with the attributes and qualities necessary to propel Essex Savings Bank into the next era of banking as a leading community bank.” 

Ms. Arnold began her banking career in 1983 and she worked in a variety of departments at two different banks before joining Essex Savings Bank in 2002, where she ultimately rose to her current position.

During her 19 years at the bank, she has been particularly influential in developing the commercial loan portfolio and in mentoring many individuals. She has been involved in a number of community organizations for many years, and in 2017 she received a Women of Fire Award, recognizing key female leaders in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors.

Ms. Arnold earned a B.S. degree in Economics from Quinnipiac College and is also a graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

“I am honored to have been selected by the Board to assume the role of President and CEO upon Greg Shook’s retirement,” said Ms. Arnold. “I look forward to building upon our solid foundation of serving the local community and continuing to flourish in an ever-changing banking environment.”

Mr. Shook stated: “I am so pleased the Board has selected Diane Arnold as the next President and CEO and the first woman to serve in this role at our institution. I have known Diane for many years and look forward to working with her to insure a smooth and successful transition.”  

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

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Death Announced of Rev. David Galen Johnson, Former Minister of Visitation at Deep River Congregational Church

Reverend David Galen Johnson

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Reverend David Galen Johnson, 79 and United Church of Christ minister, died at home in Portsmouth, NH of late-stage cancer on Monday, January 11, 2021.

He was born on June 5, 1941, in Philippi, WV, the first son of Glen Galen Johnson and Clarice Louise (Gainer) Johnson, and moved to Little Rock, AR, at age 10. A high school senior the year that Little Rock schools were closed in the wake of Brown vs Board of Education, David (like many of his classmates) graduated from a high school away from home. He married one of those classmates, Lyla Gibb, on September 8, 1960.

David earned a BS in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and began his professional life at Westinghouse as a manufacturing engineer and production foreman. Taking leave from that role, he fulfilled his Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) commitment, and was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany.

After earning an MBA from Ball State University, David enjoyed early career success with TempRite, a division of Aladdin Industries. From a base near London, England, he built the European business by engaging sales managers in key countries. Together, they became the “Big 5” and life-long friends. Subsequently, he held a variety of sales & marketing leadership roles before launching his own executive search business called Galen Giles Group. He brought his professional talents and passion for international understanding to his position on the Board of Directors of the American Field Service (AFS).

Yet it was not until later in life that David heard his true calling to spread God’s word as a minister. With the unfailing support of his wife Lyla, he earned his Master of Divinity from Andover-Newton Seminary at the age of 68. He pursued his formal calling as the Minister of Visitation at Deep River Congregational Church (CT) while also living his purpose as a hospice spiritual counselor for Masonicare. Later, he served as the Interim Minister at Epping Community Church (NH) — a role he described as his favorite job ever.

Away from work, David pursued hobbies such as virtual game playing back when “virtual” meant mailing monthly paper “orders” for the strategy board game Diplomacy. One of his great joys in life was playing poker with the same group of friends for almost 40 years, as well as playing (and winning)  just about any card or board game with family. Additionally, he dedicated himself to community theater, was part of a Murder Mystery troupe, and most recently was a role player at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth.

Yet David would have described his greatest passion and achievements as his 60-year marriage to the only love of his life, Lyla, and the raising of their four children. Together, he and Lyla sought to give them “roots and wings,” and recently David articulated that in this, they had been successful.

David is survived by his wife, Lyla G. Johnson; his children Glen R. Johnson and wife N. Gaye Johnson of East Point, GA, Katherine Johnson Armstrong and husband Robert A. Armstrong II of Charlotte, NC, E. William (Bill) Johnson, MD and wife Reiko K. Johnson, MD of Newfields, NH, Elizabeth Johnson Levine and wife Adele A. Levine of Silver Spring, MD; 10 grandchildren and two great-grand children; and brothers Mark A. Johnson and G. Douglas Johnson, both of Heber Springs, AR.

A Virtual Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, January 24th at 1:00 p.m. (this event will be online only, details will follow on here soon, if you know you would like to attend please email info@kentandpelczarfh.com to receive details when they become available.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to maintain the historic North Church in Portsmouth, NH or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To sign an online condolences book, and for updates and more information, please contact  Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home & Crematory at https://www.kentandpelczarfh.com/ or +1 603-659-3344.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

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Dr. Alicia Farrell Announces Free Online Parenting Webinars Series in February 2021

AREAWIDE — Cognitive psychologist and national keynote speaker, Dr. Alicia Farrell, has announced a four-session webinar series to address common challenges that parents face in raising children in today’s environment.

Titled, How to Raise a Well-Adjusted, Confident, Self-Reliant and Civil Adult in a Crazy Mixed-Up World, the free webinar series, being held in February, goes beyond the challenges of the pandemic to address four main areas of parenting concerns including:

  • Stress, anxiety and perfectionism
  • How to recognize it in your children and what to do about it
  • Technology: how it is affecting our children and what to do about it
  • Parenting: how to communicate, set boundaries, place age-appropriate expectations and allow for natural consequences at any age
  • Drugs and alcohol with a focus on marijuana: how to talk to your kids about the facts, the fiction and their future.

“Life has been coming at us for quite some time– pre-COVID, COVID and likely, post-COVID – for you, me, everybody. But you know who is suffering most? Our children. It’s breaking my heart. We have to sort this out.” says Dr. Farrell in her blogpost announcing the series.

She continues, “Time is precious so I want everyone who is interested to know that each of the four webinars will be packed full of essential knowledge and practical tools that can be applied right away.  They are designed to stand alone so you can choose to attend one, two, three or all four webinars depending on your needs.”

Asking, “Doesn’t everyone want to survive this challenging time with children who have more grit, resilience and are better equipped to handle their future adult lives?” Dr. Farrell adds, “I felt compelled to offer this free four-part series online to reach a larger audience than I do on my couch every day and, with the global adaptation to services like Zoom, I hope to inspire a greater number of people to influence positive change in our children’s lives.”

Registration is required for each of the free sessions and is available on Farrell’s website at aliciafarrellphd.com  The four sessions are offered Wednesdays, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Alicia Farrell is an accomplished Cognitive Psychologist, former University Professor, National Keynote Speaker and Founder of Clearview Consulting. For over 20 years, Dr. Farrell has counseled hundreds of clients on how to get back to basics to achieve their life goals and personal well-being. Her clients have ranged in age from 13 to 98. She has worked with individuals, couples, parents, families and professionals.

She also brings 10 years of corporate experience to her work.  In 2019 Dr. Farrell was recognized with a ‘Women of Excellence Award’ by the Shoreline Chambers of Commerce in Connecticut.  For more information visit: www.aliciafarrellphd.com

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Happy New Year 2021!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash.

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2021.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

We thank you sincerely for your support through the challenging year of 2020 and look forward to continuing to serve you in what we hope is a far better 2021!

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Join a ‘Starry Night’ TONIGHT in Chester at ‘First Friday’!

Be a star, sponsor a star! Light up Chester with stars, which will be illuminated Friday at 5:45 p.m.

CHESTER — Make Chester shine this holiday season by Sponsoring a Star to decorate downtown! 

On Friday, Dec 4, during Chester’s Starry Night Celebration and annual holiday town stroll, the Chester  Merchants are going to light up the Village for the holiday season.  After this challenging year, it is time for a light and  bright holiday together. There will be live music filling the streets and mirth and merriment everywhere!

Illumination is 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec 4, in Chester Village. 

Also, remember you can shop late in Chester every Friday night through 8 p.m. from now until Christmas.

*All visitors to Chester are required to wear masks over their nose and mouth and stay socially distant from one  another. Visitors that feel unwell are asked to stay home.*  

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main  Street by the cemetery, at 20 Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available  on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by emailing chestermerchants@gmail.com 

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling this evening during ‘First Friday.’

The deadline for ordering a star has passed but just in case you would like the the information, here it is!

Sponsor an illuminated star in your family, business or civic organization’s name and be a part of of the  festivities not only this year, but for years to come.  

The stars, hand-made by Chester resident Christopher Owens, (who has created the ones you currently see  adorning homes and businesses throughout Chester and beyond), will be installed throughout the downtown area and create a cheerful and festive atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy through the winter  months.

Your star will display your name and the Chester Merchants will let you know where to find it.  

Stars are available for purchase at this link on the VisitChesterct.com website until Wednesday, Dec. 2. Learn how your family, business  or organization can sponsor a star here: www.visitchesterct.com/illuminated-stars/ 

This is a great way to support the Merchants of Chester during this incredibly difficult time. Sizes and prices are as follows:  

2 ft. – $35
3.5 ft. – $50
7 ft. – $95  

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Musical Masterworks Presents Beethoven String Quartets, Tickets for Video Now Available

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will play the cello in the Beethoven works being performed live in a December concert and also recorded for release to ticket-holders in January. Photo by Hak-Soo Kim.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks celebrated Beethoven’s 250th birthday in December when Edward Arron, Artistic Director and cellist, along with his colleagues James Ehnes, violin;  Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; and Che-Yen Chen, viola, performed three string quartets by Beethoven, spanning nearly 30 years of his life and demonstrating the full arc of his remarkable compositional evolution.

This performance was filmed in mid-December and the link to the virtual concert is now available to ticket buyers.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks through Jan. 23 and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders will be able to experience Musical Masterworks in a whole new way. The group’s audio-video production team will create an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat featuring the performers’ artistry.

Edward Arron shared his thoughts about this concert, “We are honored to dedicate this performance to the great master. While under current circumstances, we are not able to reconstitute the full cycle of quartets that we had planned for last spring, we are delighted to provide this fascinating window into the extraordinary compositional mind of Beethoven.”

In 2021, Musical Masterworks will welcome back many favorite artists, including Rieko Aizawa, Todd Palmer, Jeewon Park, Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel, and Tessa Lark, featuring music from Bach to Corigliano.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs through May 2021.  To purchase a video mini-subscription ($100 each), individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Free COVID Testing Daily in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — The Community Health Center is offering free COVID-19 drive thru tests at Saybrook Point seven days a week from 8:30am to 4pm.

You do not need a doctor’s note or an appointment, but please be aware the wait to be tested can be long.

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King to Stay as Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme Football Team Coach, Resignation Request Rescinded by Region #4

AREAWIDE — Region #4, which comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex, has rescinded its request for football coach and gym teacher Tom King to submit his resignation.

A joint statement issued just before 7 p.m. Monday evening and signed by both King and Region #4 Superintendent Brian J. White says, “As the Superintendent and Head Football Coach, we recognize that during the time of the Covid19 pandemic our communities and schools have put in place measures as recommended by the Department of Public Health to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community members.”

It continues, “Through discussion, we have come to an understanding about the extent of the coach’s involvement in an independent team of Region 4 football players. Coach King does understand as a role model, the concerns about community perception regarding his involvement with this team.”

The statement then notes, “We both understand and accept that as educators and professionals we have a special responsibility to our students, staff and community during a pandemic and that we must place safety above all else. It is in this spirit, that the request for Coach King to resign from the position of head football coach has been rescinded.”

In conclusion, the statement looks to the future, saying, “Moving forward we will collaborate to provide the ongoing leadership necessary to support our students, staff and communities and the importance of the values of respect, kindness and concern for each other. We are committed to working together to build a bridge within our
community in a manner that serves the best interest of Valley Regional High School and the towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement did not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neviaser said by email on Sunday, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that had prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submitted he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement. King has been head football coach at Valley Regional High School since 1997/

A petition started by the captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox on change.org, requesting that King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School garnered 2,885 signatures.

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Region 4 Asks Valley-Old Lyme Co-op Football Coach to Resign

Action from a Warriors game against Old Saybrook played on the Lyme-Old Lyme Varsity Field in 2016. File photo,

AREAWIDE — The press and social media are currently swirling with articles*, opinion pieces* and comments relating to the requested resignation of the extremely popular Valley Regional High School (VRHS) football coach and gym teacher Tim King by the Region #4 Superintendent Brian White.

Region 4 comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex; each of the three towns operates their own elementary schools.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement does not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neiaser said by email, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submits he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement.

Neviaser noted in his email, “Region #18 has no involvement in any independent sports programs that are not a part of our annual budget.”

The captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox started a petition on change.org, requesting that Tim King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School. As at 12 a.m., Nov. 23, more than 2,760 people had signed the petition.

Editor’s Note: *Articles and opinions referenced for this article include:
Three local teams to compete in 11-on-11 Independent Football League by Ned Griffen, published Oct. 23, by The Day.

Players, parents upset that Valley/Old Lyme coach King being forced to resign by Ned Griffen, published Nov. 21, by The Day.

Coach asked to resign for involvement in independent football league by Sean Patrick Bowley, published Nov. 21, in the New Haven Register.

Tim King has the community — and the truth — on his side by Mike DiMauro, published Nov. 23, by The Day.

Valley Regional high school coach asked to resign by school district for involvement in independent football league formed during the pandemic in The Courant.

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Groups Campaigning for Social Justice Meet Next Sunday in Old Saybrook

The Lyme-Old Lyme Partnership for Social Justice and the Old Saybrook March for Justice have moved their weekly events to Sundays.

AREAWIDE — The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Partnership for Social Justice and the Old Saybrook March for Justice have moved their weekly events from Wednesday evenings to Sundays at 4 p.m. The next gathering will be this afternoon, Sunday, Nov. 22, and take place in Deep River, in front of the Congregational Church at 1 Church St.

A representative from HOPE will discuss the work of the HOPE Partnership to advance affordable housing.

The change is to allow the events to take place when it is light and also reflect a more convenient time for working families, youth and elderly activists.

All are welcome. It is requested that everyone should wear a mask at the event.

Upcoming events sponsored by the LOL Partnership or the Old Saybrook March for Justice will take place as follows:
• Sunday, Nov. 29 – Old Saybrook, in front of the Kate.
• Sunday, Dec. 2 – TBD

The LOL Partnership’s mission is to educate area residents on important topics of social justice and call attention to opportunities where citizens can support local, state and national social-justice efforts. For more information or to stay abreast of news, visit the partnership’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LOLPartnership4SJ or send an email to LOLPartnership4SJ@gmail.com.

The Old Saybrook March for Justice is an inclusive and welcoming coalition of friends and neighbors, who care deeply about basic human rights.

Their mission statement states, ” We are outraged by centuries of structural racism in this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter. We listen, learn and act. We understand that silence is not an option. We aim to be allies and antiracist. We are respectful, nonpartisan and inclusive. We welcome all who share our values. We educate ourselves and join in weekly marches.”

For further information, email osbmarch@gmail.com.

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Region 4 Moves to Distance Learning Through Nov. 30

TRI-TOWN — Region 4 Superintendent Brian J. White sent out the following message to the Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Region 4 School Community this afternoon (Nov. 9):

Due to multiple positive cases of Covid-19 currently impacting our schools, we have made the decision, in consultation with Connecticut River Area Health District and the Town of Essex Health Department, to transition all schools to full, remote e-learning until November 30, 2020.

At the time of this communication, our school system has 23 staff members and 123 students PreK-12 required to quarantine with various return dates. We are also actively investigating multiple, new cases in partnership with our local health departments.  In addition to concerns about spread within the schools and the need for further contact tracing and quarantine requirements, we are experiencing staff shortages related to these cases that impact our in-person operations. 

Students and staff are asked to participate in remote learning until Monday, November 30th.  All non-instructional and essential staff are to await further instructions from their building principal or department supervisor.  Grab and Go meals will be available for pick up outside the school on Friday and Monday 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Staff and community members who encouraged to take advantage of free Covid-19 testing available in Old Saybrook. For additional details please see this flyer: FREE Coronavirus Testing.  Testing is also now available at the Old Saybrook location for free Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We will communicate further updates as they become available.  Our buildings will be closed to the public until further notice, however, our front main office staff in each school will be available if you need to call or communicate with the schools.

Thank you for continued patience and understanding during these uncertain times.

 

Sincerely,

 

Superintendent of Schools

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Election 2020: State Results & Interactive Visuals

STATEWIDE — Our Local Independent Online News (LION) colleagues at CTNewsJunkie.com have prepared a couple of interactive maps of the State Senate and House results for readers to explore. Use the toolbox to group and sort Senate/House districts by political party and demographic characteristics.

Here is the State Senate map.

Here is the CT House of Representatives map.

Related articles at CTNewsJunkie.com can be found at:

Dems Post Gains In Legislative Seats While Some Key Republicans Hang On
By CTNewsJunkie Published Nov. 4, 2020 12:48am

Senate Democrats Strengthen Majority
By Hugh McQuaid Published Nov 4, 2020 1:47pm

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‘The Day’ Announces Carney Has Won Re-election Bid, Returns to House for Fourth Term

State Rep. Devin Carney has been reelected to represent the 23rd District.

AREAWIDE — Karen Florin of The Day tweeted a short time ago, “Republican Devin Carney wins a fourth term in the state house 23rd. He awaited results with friends and family at the Westbrook beach home of his late, famed grandfather Art Carney.”

Florin has now written the following article in The Day:

Voters in the 23rd state House District appeared Tuesday to have sent Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Lyme, back to Hartford for a fourth term.  

As of deadline, Carney had beat Democratic challenger Dave Rubino in three of the district’s four towns, Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Old Lyme, and lost to him in Lyme. The unofficial vote tally, which didn’t include 750 absentee ballots from Westbrook, was 8,521 to 6,740.

Read the full article by Karen Florin published 9:54 p.m. on TheDay.com at this link.

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Win a Subaru! High Hopes Hosts a ‘Raffle for a Cause’

A 2020 Subaru Forester 2.5i is the first prize in this year’s Raffle for a Cause sponsored by High Hopes of Old Lyme, CT and Reynolds Subaru of Lyme, CT.

OLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is holding a raffle in which the first prize is a 2020 Subaru Forester 2.5i. The second prize is an Apple i-Pad Mini and the third an Amazon Echo Show. Reynolds Subaru of Lyme is High Hopes’ raffle partner for this event.

All proceeds from the raffle benefit the programs at High Hopes.

Tickets are $50 each, two for $90, four for $180 or five for $225.

The raffle will be drawn during a live feed at noon on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Winners will be notified immediately following the drawing. Ticket holders need not be present to win.

All federal, state and local taxes on prizes are the winner’s responsibility.

Visit this link for full details of the raffle.

Buy your tickets at this link!

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Old Saybrook March for Justice, Lyme-Old Lyme Partnership for Social Justice Hold Next Event, Nov. 4, in Old Lyme

AREAWIDE — The Old Saybrook March for Justice and the Lyme-Old Lyme Partnership for Social Justice will co-host their next Teach-In/March Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 5:30 p.m. in Old Saybrook. Participants should gather in front of ‘the Kate.’.

All are welcome. It is requested that everyone should wear a mask at the event.

The schedule for subsequent marches is as follows:
Nov 4 – Old Lyme
Nov 11 – Essex

All marches are on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The Old Saybrook March for Justice is an inclusive and welcoming coalition of friends and neighbors, who care deeply about basic human rights.

Their mission statement states, ” We are outraged by centuries of structural racism in this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter. We listen, learn and act. We understand that silence is not an option. We aim to be allies and antiracist. We are respectful, nonpartisan and inclusive. We welcome all who share our values. We educate ourselves and join in weekly marches.”

For further information, email osbmarch@gmail.com with any questions.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Partnership for Social Justice’s mission is to educate residents on important topics of social justice and call attention to opportunities where citizens can support local, state and national social-justice efforts.

For more information, visit the partnership’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LOLPartnership4SJ or send an email to LOLPartnership4SJ@gmail.com.

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The Country School Hosts Virtual Open House Tonight, Register for Link

Fifth grade lessons at The Country School continue outdoors with teachers Kerri Kelly and Dan Kollmer. The school hosts a Virtual Open House, Oct. 26.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Register to meet engaged students and dynamic teachers. Learn about the school’s rigorous academic program;  Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s $15,000 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns rigorous academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Learn more and register for the Oct. 26 Virtual Open House at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Essex Steam Train Issues Cautionary Reminder on Safety at Railroad Crossings

Photo by Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.

ESSEX — The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat has issued a reminder to friends and neighbors in the Lower Connecticut River Valley that train frequency will be increasing during October through December on their tracks in Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam.

In particular, daytime train activity will be increasing on tracks between Chester and Goodspeed Station in Haddam. 

When approaching STOP signs, motorists and pedestrians are legally required to come to a complete stop at the white stop line, and yield to any approaching rail traffic.

When facing flashing lights and/or gates, crossing users must STOP and wait for trains to pass/lights and gates to shut off.

Additionally, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are never allowed on railroad tracks except at a legal crossing location. Emergency contact phone numbers are located at all railroad crossings in the event of problems. The railroad is working with local law enforcement on issues of motorist compliance at crossings throughout the valley.

For further information, contact Rob Bradway, Vice President of Track and Property, at 860-964-3422.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight!

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling this evening during ‘First Friday.’

CHESTER, CT — The downtown Merchants of Chester are host another family-friendly First Friday tomorrow evening, Friday, Oct. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The organizers of this family friendly event are aiming to keep everyone extra-safe so masks must be worn at all times while in town for ‘First Friday’ and all attendees are requested to stay socially distant, especially if they are enjoying one of the music performances taking place throughout town. Visitors that feel unwell are asked to stay home

Also, attendees are requested to respect the stated capacity of each space as noted at the entrance, especially if they are enjoying one of the two music performances happening downtown (at Chester Galley and Leif Nillsson’s Spring Street Studio & Gallery.)

Shops will all be open late and many will offer special sales or featured artists.

Images of artwork on display at The Chester Gallery. Photo by Nancy Pinney.

The Chester Gallery will continue with its exhibition of ‘Chester Artists: Past, Present and Up & Coming’.

The Gallery will use their large side lawn and driveway to host a socially-distant celebration of the installation of Jesse Good’s new sculpture — a large-scale weathervane titled , ‘The Hope Detector’ — set to the music of Tracey Kroll’s new four-piece Gypsy Jazz Band, ‘Gadjzo’, djangomusic with Justin Good, Tracey Kroll, Nick Capazzo, Evan Tosi and Marshall Lefferts, at 6:30 p.m. out on the lawn/parking area. BYOB and lawn chair if you wish.

Also featured will be sculptures by Gil Boro’s ‘After the Race-in Blue’ (see image at left in collage below) and ‘Family of Wo(man)’.

A selection of the sculpture on display at The Chester Gallery.

The Gallery will be open inside from 5 to 8 p.m. Masks are required.

Fall jewelry by Dina Varano.

Leif Nilsson of Spring Street Studio invites the public to listen to Arrowhead and Friends six feet apart on the porch while enjoying some of his oldest and the newest paintings of his home and travels.

Dina Varano will be showcasing her new fall jewelry (see photo at left) at the Dina Varano Gallery.

The Space at 1 Main St will host their glassblower who will be demonstrating his technique.

Lori Warner Gallery & Swoon Boutique is happy to host friend of the gallery, Chester artist Annie Averill, who will show her art that makes you smile. Her paintings are sometimes absurd, sometimes historical yet always beautifully rendered. A bird that looks extinct or maybe a goat in space fill her frames and are both a joy to behold and don’t take themselves too seriously. She paints to amuse, bemuse and otherwise entertain herself and others!

Other restaurants and shops will most likely offer specials and sales.

Downtown restaurants are booking up fast, so make your reservation now!

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, at 20 Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by emailing chestermerchants@gmail.com.

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Partnership for Social Justice to Hold March, Teach-In on Desgregating CT, This Evening in Old Lyme

Signs were held high at a previous rally as the marchers crossed Main Street in Old Saybrook.

AREAWIDE — The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Partnership for Social Justice and the Old Saybrook March for Justice are co-hosting a march and “teach-in” focused on desegregating Connecticut on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in front of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Participants will meet at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 2 Ferry Rd., then march to Old Lyme’s Memorial  Town Hall, where the “teach-in” will take place. All are welcome.

All are requested to wear masks at the event.

Speakers anticipated to address the crowd include:

  • Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens from CT Fair Housing
  • Luke Reynolds from Desegregate CT
  • Tony Lyons from the HOPE Partnership
  • Sadie Frankel, a local high school student
  • Dave Rubino, candidate for District 23 State Representative
  • Rev. Steve Jungkeit from the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

The LOL Partnership’s mission is to educate residents on important topics of social justice and call attention to opportunities where citizens can support local, state and national social-justice efforts. 

For more information, visit the Partnership’s Facebook page at this link or send an email to LOLPartnership4SJ@gmail.com

The Old Saybrook March for Justice is an inclusive and welcoming coalition of friends and neighbors, who care deeply about basic human rights.

Their mission statement states, ” We are outraged by centuries of structural racism in this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter. We listen, learn and act. We understand that silence is not an option. We aim to be allies and antiracist. We are respectful, nonpartisan and inclusive. We welcome all who share our values. We educate ourselves and join in weekly marches.”

The schedule for subsequent marches is as follows:

Wednesday, Sept. 30:  Deep River – in front of Town Hall with speaker Professor O’Leary.

Wednesday, Oct. 7: Old Saybrook – in front of the Kate with speaker Professor Blight, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Frederick Douglass.
All marches are on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
For further information and to raise any questions, email osbmarch@gmail.com with any questions.
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Needleman Endorsed by Independent Party in Re-Election Bid to State Senate

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — State Senator Norm Needleman has accepted the endorsement of the Independent Party as he continues his quest for re-election to the Connecticut State Senate.

Sen. Needleman, who announced his candidacy last winter, was unanimously renominated by the Democratic Party to run in the 33rd Senate District. First elected in 2018, Sen. Needleman represents the towns of Colchester, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

“I’m proud and excited by the Independent Party’s endorsement of my campaign,” said Sen. Needleman. “The Independent Party represents an electoral system that encourages different points of view. As someone who is results-oriented and who believes in common-sense solutions, I believe that listening to different points of view works in the best interests of my constituents That’s the mindset I will take back to Hartford if I’m re-elected in November.”

Sen. Needleman serves as Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, and has recently taken the lead in developing the “Take Back Our Grid Act” which will hold utilities more accountable to ratepayers in Connecticut.

In addition, Sen. Needleman is Vice Chair of the Planning and Development Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Transportation and Commerce Committees.

Sen. Needleman founded and runs a manufacturing company, Tower Laboratories in Centerbrook, and is currently serving his sixth term as First Selectman of Essex.

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Join Essex Land Trust for an Outdoor Hike This Morning at Johnson Farm

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is starting up its outdoor hikes, with the first to Johnson Farm, Sept. 19, at 10 a.m. Hikers will discover the new pollinators’ meadow at Johnson Farm, a 49-acre property of fields and forest in Ivoryton.

There is new field of goldenrod, which with any luck, will be resplendent yellow, providing a natural resource for many bees, butterflies, moths and dragonflies, members said in a statement.

The trail system includes a woodland trail through the deciduous forest located on the east side of the property. An intermittent stream runs through the northern boundary of the property which also includes a vernal pool. The farm is a wonderful reminder of Connecticut’s farming heritage.

The property’s elevation ranges from 90 ft to 250 ft., which provides spectacular views northeast to the Connecticut River Valley, members said.

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Chester Reopens ‘First Friday’ Tonight, First Time for Event Since March

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling during ‘First Friday’ tonight, Friday, Sept. 4.

CHESTER, CT — The downtown Merchants of Chester are thrilled to host their first First Friday since March this evening, Friday, Sept 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The organizers of this family friendly event are aiming to keep everyone extra-safe so … masks must be worn at all times while in town for ‘First Friday’ and all attendees are requested to stay socially distant, especially if they are enjoying one of the four music performances taking place throughout town.

Also, attendees are requested to respect the stated capacity of each space as noted at the entrance. Shops will all be open late and many will offer special sales or featured artists.

  • Chester Gallery is hosting and exhibition titled ‘Chester Artists: Past, Present and Up & Coming,’ along with sculptures by Connecticut-based artists throughout the grounds.
  • Dina Varano is having an ‘Arm Party’, showcasing her newest bracelets.
  • Little House Brewery is celebrating its second birthday with a special birthday brew.
  • Lori Warner Gallery + Swoon Boutique are having a sale of the current Ann Lightfoot jewelry collection and all Clare V bags through Tuesday.
  • Leif Nilsson of Spring Street Studio invites the public to listen to Arrowhead and Friends six feet apart on the porch while enjoying some of his oldest and the newest paintings of his home and travels.
  • There will be four acoustic musicians stationed around town, filling the streets with their
    acoustic sounds. As already mentioned,
    >Guitarist Leif Nilsson will play from the front of his Spring Street Gallery above the Chester Wall
    >Local guitarist, Mark Fornwald will play from the porch of Chester Gallery
    >Cellist Julie Ribchinsky from Ivoryton will be on the porch of the Hive
    >CT natives guitarist Pat Brennan and bassist Wallace Stelzer will perform a mix of the Great American Song Book, Jazz Classics, and Bossa Nova from the stoop of 1 Main Street

Downtown restaurants are booking up fast, so prompt reservations are recommended.

All visitors to Chester are required to wear masks over their nose and mouth and stay socially distant from one another.

Visitors that feel unwell are asked to stay home.

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, at 20 Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on http://Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by emailing chestermerchants@gmail.com.

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Valley Regional High School Graduates 11 Eagle Scouts

The Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 graduating Eagle Scouts gather for a photo. Front row (from left to right) Edward Lenz, Sean Davis, Jared Hart, Anthony Joia. Middle row (from left to right) Michael Raymond, Gavin Hauswirth, Ryan Shasha. Back row (left to right) Joseph Thomas, Sam Rutty, Carl Neubert III, and Gehrig Beighau. Photo by Michael Rutty.

TRI-TOWN — Belated congratulations to the 11 members of the Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 for earning the Eagle Scout rank!

Having 11 Eagle Scouts in this year’s graduating class is over double the national average for youth earning the highest rank in Scouting. Earning the Eagle Scout rank is an outstanding and prestigious achievement that takes many years of work to complete.

The Eagle Scouts are members of Troop 12-Essex, Troop 13-Chester/Deep River, and Troop 38-Westbrook.

Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 Eagle Scouts, their service project and the year they earned the Eagle Rank:
Gehrig Beighau – Troop 12 – WWII Lego Diorama at American Heritage Museum – 2019,
Sean Davis – Troop 13 – Bushy Hill Nature Center Amphitheater Improvements – 2020,
Jared Hart – Troop 13 – United Church of Chester Sign Roof & Lighting Improvements – 2020,
Gavin Hauswirth – Troop 13 – McKinney Nature Center Observation Platform – 2020,
Anthony Joia – Troop 13 – Plattwood Park Walking Trail – 2019,
Edward Lenz – Troop 13 – John Winthrop Middle School Farm Classroom Arbor with Benches – 2019,
Carl Neubert III – Troop 13 – Hamburg Fairgrounds Directional Signs – 2020,
Michael Raymond – Troop 13 – CT State Police K-9 Obstacle & Training Course – 2020,
Samuel Rutty – Troop 13 – Haddam Neck Fairgrounds Memorial Benches – 2017,
Ryan Shasha – Troop 12 – Essex Veterans Memorial Hall Step Replacement – 2020,
Joseph Thomas – Troop 38 – Westbrook Town Green Conduits – 2019.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Scout must earn twenty one merit badges and advance through the seven Scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to their Troop and service to their community. One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all work must be completed prior to the Scout’s eighteenth birthday.

Boy Scouts of America serves the youth ages 11-18. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help youth to develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting the Scouts to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead.

The Boy Scout of America methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

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Letter From Paris: Back to Normal in France? Not Quite …

Nicole Prévost Logan

A Cannes Film Festival turned virtual,  the Roland Garros tennis tournament and Tour de France bicycle race both postponed until September?  France will definitely not be the same this  summer!

Tourism and culture are two of the main sectors of French economy and the pandemic has inflicted a direct blow on both of them.  Hundreds of festivals, sport events, art shows, plays, and concerts or activities linked to historical monuments had to be drastically reduced, presented behind closed doors, or totally cancelled, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work .

But you would not think there is a virus going around when you see the way the French behave.

In Paris, restaurants and bistros spread their terraces across the sidewalks and into the streets.  They mark their space with bushes and flower beds.  Beach umbrellas add color to the scene.  Taking advantage of the warm weather, Parisians hang out outside.

Away from the cities, the French have been seeking  the calm of the countryside, enjoying family gatherings and organizing barbecues with  friends .

Young people could barely wait for the end of the lockdown to have fun in Paris … to huddle on the banks of the Seine or the Canal St Martin, to congregate in open spaces and dance into the night, or to flock to discotheques.  Meanwhile, St Tropez, down on the Riviera coast in the far south of the country, became a particularly hot spot.

People were reluctant to take the subways and, as a result, car traffic has surged.  Bicycles have taken over Paris.  It is likely that this trend will persist, virus or not.

Barely out of the lockdown, one thing was on everybody’s mind … the next vacation.  Every day the media tempted the viewers with sights of clear waters, beaches, and cool mountain trails.  This year the French seem to have rediscovered their own country and become the only tourists there.

It was to be expected that such behavior would have an impact on the evolution of the pandemic.  Clusters have multiplied throughout the country, which led to the specialists warning that the virus was still active.

But the present situation is quite different from what it was at the height of the crisis back in March and April.  The number of  deaths, or severe cases, being treated in the hospitals remains very low.  A general lockdown appears to be out of the question today.

Hospitals are better prepared and treatments made easier for the patients.  Masks and testing are more available.  Central government and local authorities adjust their policies to manage the pandemic in a more flexible way.  For instance, as of this week , Paris and several other large cities require masks to be worn outside in crowded areas.

From this overview of the pandemic in France, let us now change scenery and take a look at some highlights of life in France and Europe over these past months …

Every six years in France, the people are riveted by municipal elections. There are 36,000 communes in France headed by a maire assisted by a conseil municipal. The wide spectrum goes from the highly political Paris town hall, employing 40,000 people — Jacques Chirac headed that institution before becoming president of France — to the tiniest mairie.

The small village on the Dordogne, where one of my daughters lives, had been dormant for the past four decades with an unopposed maire at the wheel. This year however, things were different. The ballot took place in a heated atmosphere.  Participation was high. The scene was like a microcosm of French politics … and the maire was defeated.

In early July, Edouard Philippe stepped down as prime minister. A growing feeling of insecurity and violence has damaged the authority of the French executive. President Macron decided that a major reshuffle was required to bring new faces and methods and thus energize the government prior to the next presidential election.

Even a new voice was welcome. Jean Castex comes from the Pyrenées region and has a southern accent, which the French usually associate with vacations on the Mediterranean. Castex nevertheless is a product of the élite schools, a graduate of Ecole Nationale  d’Administration (ENA). As a high-ranking official, he has held key positions at the very center of power at the Elysée Palace.  He is an old pro — although he does not sound like one.

Over in Poland, Ardrzej Duda, leader of the conservative party Droit et Justice (PIS), was reelected as president on July 12.  The very small margin of his victory – 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent – suggests that it is only a question of time until a liberal, pro-European movement, possibly headed by Rafal Trzaskowski, defeats the authoritarian executive.

In Italy, meanwhile, after 14 months of the disastrous government of populist Matteo Salvini, Giuseppe Conte brought  appeasement as a centrist prime minister, who works well with Brussels.

At 5.30 a.m. on July 22, the 27 members of the European Union (EU) met  in response to a Franco-German initiative.  It was the longest summit in EU history.  Arduous  negotiations produced a  stimulus of 390 billion Euros in subsidies and 360 billion in loans.

The recovery plan of the EU — labeled “Next Generation EU”– is ambitious.  At its core is  a  “Green Pact.”

The plan, which will be implemented gradually along with each year’s budget, includes support of the health system, innovation assistance to viable companies, aid to farmers and fishermen, and 100 billion to help pay for widespread partial unemployment.

Banking rules will be made more flexible to facilitate the borrowing by entrepreneurs.  Right now the European Central Bank (CBE) enjoys a high credit rating, which helps the borrowing process. Margrethe Verstager , Executive Vice President of the EU Commission, will promote a Digital Single Market.

Alstom — a French multinational company operating in rail  transport markets — bought the Canadian company Bombardier.  The merger will create a rival to the giant China Railway Construction  Corporation (CRCC). China is continuing to make inroads in Europe and just invested in Portugal’s trams.

Overall the numbers of the European economic recovery are impressive:  together Brussels plus the 27 EU national governments will inject 40,000 billion Euros into the economy — far more than the US or even China

The “frugals”– the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland — fought tooth and nail against transfers of funds from the richer North to the South.  Dutch prime minister Mark Rutt stressed that the 750 billion Euros were not a blank check to weaker economies like Italy’s  — whose vertiginous debt is 240 percent of its GDP — but an investment plan to be controlled by Brussels.

Concessions had to be made.  The “frugals” received a rebate in their annual contribution to the European budget.  But the real beneficiaries are Poland and Hungary, who keep receiving money in spite of their frequent violation of the rule of law.

Recent developments show how fragile — but also resilient — the EU is.  Even the “Eurosceptics” do not want to let go of  their profitable membership in the “club .” But the real strength of the EU is that it constitutes a huge market, the largest trading block of the world.  The richer EU economies need the tariff-free Single Market.  Germany relies particularly on Lombardy  for its exports.  Maybe the EU should learn from  Alexander Hamilton who advocated the “mutualization” of the sovereign debts of the States to make the federation stronger?

And finally … on Aug. 21, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel met at the medieval Fort de Brégançon, the summer residence of French presidents.  On this late summer day, they seemed to enjoy this picturesque spot on the Mediterranean  to meet for five working hours.  They reiterated the unity of their policy at this complicated time.

At unprecedented speed, France and Germany led the EU in its mediation to support the protests following the Belarus elections.  They also acted swiftly also in flying Alexei Novalny, who is in a coma, to a hospital in Germany for treatment of a possible poisoning by the Russian government.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Richard Wyman Appointed Community Music School Executive Director, “Thrilled to Come Home”

Dr. Richard Wyman, the new Executive Director of the Community Music School based in Centerbrook.

CENTERBROOK — Dr. Richard Wyman has been appointed the new Executive Director of the Community Music School (CMS) located in Centerbrook. He took over the reins of the organization in the mid-May after serving for several years as Musical Masterworks General Director.

Wyman has a long history of involvement in both playing and conducting music professionally along with community-based music learning. He began his music studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., where he obtained his undergraduate degree in music education and then moved to the University of Illinois to pursue a masters degree in music.

Subsequently, he moved back East when he joined the US Coast Guard (CG) Band  as a baritone saxophonist in the late 1990s. Back then, Wyman also taught saxophone for a number of years at CMS but in 2004, he was appointed Assistant Director of the USCG band and opted to focus on his new position along with studying conducting at the University of Connecticut where he earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts.

In his role as USCG Band Assistant Director, Wyman led educational concerts for thousands of students.

After retiring from the SCG in 2018, Wyman first took the position with Musical Masterworks and now he has come full circle back to the CMS.  He is still continuing his music education, however, since he is currently studying arts administration at UConn.

Wyman says he is, “Thrilled to ‘come home’ to CMS,” and is looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities that the job offers. These latter involve continuing to run the school’s teaching program online and running the spring “Friends of Note” campaign, which is devoted to “COVID-19 Relief” for CMS through the summer. He points out that a gift to this $50K campaign will, “Provide payroll (for staff and instructors), mortgage payments, maintenance of our facilities, and … most importantly, support of the wonderful instruction and music-making,” by CMS faculty and students.

Asked to explain his passion for both music and music education, Wyman says, “Throughout my adult life, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with understanding music’s essential role in the living of a fulfilling life,” noting, “Whether it was through performing as saxophonist in amusement parks (which he did at both Disney World and Busch Gardens many years ago), conducting/hosting USCG Band educational performances, or witnessing the joy music brings to members of the CMS “New Horizons” Band.”

Wyman lives in Old Lyme with his clarinetist/pianist wife Erin and their three boys, the eldest of whom has just graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS). The younger two are respectively at LOLHS and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and all three, in Wyman’s words, “Study music as important parts of their educations and lives.”

Editor’s Note: Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Building 4, Centerbrook, and also 179 Flanders Rd., Ste. 3 East Lyme. For more information on CMS, call 860-767-0026 or visit the school’s website. If you wish to donated to the “Friends of Note’ campaign, call Wyman at 860-767-0026 to discuss giving opportunities, or donate online at cmsct.org/support.

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Incumbent State Sen. Needleman Nominated Unanimously to Run Again for 33rd Senate District Seat

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — (Based on a Press Release released by Sen. Needleman’s office) On May 22, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) was unanimously endorsed for re-election to the 33rd State Senate District by Democratic delegates.

First elected to the State Senate seat in 2018, Sen. Needleman represents the towns of  Colchester, Chester, Clinton, Essex, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Portland.

Needleman will be challenged by Republican Brendan Saunders, who is running for the Senate for the first time, although he has been involved in numerous Republican campaigns. Saunders received unanimous endorsement for his candidacy at the Republican District Convention, May 18,

“The need for strong, effective leadership in the State Senate has never been more important than now, due to the crisis created by COVID-19,” says Sen. Needleman in the press release announcing his endorsement, noting, “In my time at the General Assembly, I’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to tackle our most difficult challenges. More now than ever, I believe that inclusive, non-partisan dialogue is what’s needed to solve tough problems. This ‘makes sense perspective characterizes my approach to representing our district in the State Senate.”

He continues, “That’s why I’m anxious to continue my service at the Capitol to help our state recover from this once-in-a-century crisis.  Doing so requires knowledge of town operating procedures, experience in managing local resources and skill in business planning. As your State Senator, I’m utilizing my expertise in those areas to help constituents and small businesses navigate state and federal assistance programs, as well as connect people with the resources they need to sustain their livelihoods and support their health during the pandemic.”

Sen. Needleman serves as Deputy President Pro Tempore, Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, Vice-Chair of the Planning & Development Committee, and is a member of the Commerce, Finance Revenue & Bonding, and Transportation Committees.

He also serves as First Selectman of the Town of Essex.

Sen. Needleman has been instrumental in the passage of a bill bringing wind energy generation to Connecticut. This legislation enables up to 40 percent of future energy needs to come from carbon-free renewable energy and creates a new industry for Connecticut. Needleman states it could add as much as $2 billion to the state’s economy, bringing with it thousands of skilled, well-paying jobs.

Citing other successes benefiting the 33rd District that he has supported, Needleman mentions allowing first responders, police officers, and firefighters to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and assisting passage of a bill raising the age of access for tobacco products from 18 to 21, protecting youths from addiction.

Needleman also sponsored and enacted legislation holding energy companies accountable for prompt responses to power outages and formulated policy solutions to protect rivers and lakes from invasive species.

As founder and CEO of Connecticut-based Tower Laboratories, Needleman has created over 100 well-paying manufacturing jobs directly in the 33rd Senate District.

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Death of Michael G. Birner, Sr. Announced

Michael G. Birner, Sr.

Michael G. Birner, Sr.

ESSEX — Michael G. Birner Sr., 77, of Essex formerly of Moodus, husband of the late Judi (Priest) Birner, died Friday June 5, 2020 at Mid-State Medical Center.

Michael was born in Middletown, son of the late Michael and Bertha (Arndt) Birner. Michael was employed with the Town of Essex for 28 years.

Michael is survived by two sons, Michael Birner Jr, of East Hampton, Joseph Birner of Essex, a granddaughter, Brandy Birner, and a great-granddaughter Maddy, both of Palm Coast, Florida. Also, one brother, George Birner of Vermont, sister Greta O’Connell of Old Saybrook and (predeseased) sister Helen Windhom of North Carolina.

Funeral services will be held at a later date.

Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Essex Ambulance Assoc. 149 Dennison Rd, Essex, CT 06426. To share memories or express condolences online, please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com.

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