December 6, 2022

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme Hosts ‘Halloween Extravaganza’ Tonight

OLD LYME — On Monday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m., Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds will host a Halloween Extravaganza. The event will take place following all the Halloween activity on Lyme Street.

The night is BYOB and will feature live music from some of the areas best talents. Included on the bill are Ramblin’ Dan “Elvis” Stevens, John “Johnny Cash” Brown, Kip “Buddy Holly” Sturgeon, Braiden “Sinatra” Sunshine, and Ned “Sonny” Ruete and Susan “Cher” Way.

Costumes are encouraged, but not required. All are welcome to attend this festive evening of live music and great company.

Parking is available next door at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. Handicap parking is available at the Sculpture Grounds.

‘The Country School’ Hosts Open House Tomorrow Afternoon

Field Day fun at The Country School. Students attend the school from Lyme, Old Lyme, Branford, Essex, Guilford, Madison and many other towns.

MADISON, CT – On Sunday, Oct. 30, The Country School in Madison, Conn., will host an Open House from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-School through 8th Grade families are invited to tour the campus and speak with faculty, families, and administration to learn why parents have trusted their children’s education to The Country School for 68 years.

At 1:30 p.m., there will  be a Kindergarten Readiness Info Session. Assistant Head of School Beth Coyne will facilitate a discussion about how The Country School assesses student readiness, how it meets the needs of all learners, and what you can do to support your child between now and their first day of Kindergarten.

Panel members will include Kindergarten teachers, Beatrice Brett and Chester Sharp, Pre-Kindergarten teacher Karen Chiaia, School Counselor Jennifer Butler, and Reading Specialist Jennifer Hornyak.

Additionally, in honor of The Country School’s 65th Anniversary, the board of trustees is offering merit scholarships to students applying for admission to Grades 4through 8. The recipients of the merit scholarships will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise as demonstrated by performance on school records, in an interview with the Head of School, and on a Merit Scholarship test.

Merit scholarships are awarded to new students and are renewed each year that the students are enrolled at The Country School, provided the recipients stay in strong academic standing and consistently demonstrate good citizenship.

It is The Country School’s expectation that the merit scholarship recipients will contribute significantly to the life of The Country School, creating a stronger overall experience for all students. To learn more and to register for our 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8, visit https://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/merit-scholarships.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving over 215 students in Pre-School through Grade 8.

To learn more and register for Open House, visit https://go.thecountryschool.org/open-house/.

Third Robbie Collomore Concert Presents Noree Chamber Soloists Playing Schubert, Mozart, Dvořák, Sunday

CHESTER — The third Robbie Collomore Concert will be held Sunday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. The Noree Chamber Soloists will present a concert of Schubert, Mozart, and Dvořák.

The first piece on the program is Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major. Schubert was only 16 when he composed this quartet. It was first performed by family members in their home, with Franz Schubert on the viola, and has thus been nicknamed the Household Quartet.

When Schubert was growing up, the most common form of instrumental music performed in the home was the string quartet, so he began composing quartets for his family at the age of 14. He wrote six for home performances while still at school at the Imperial City Seminary in 1813 – this is the only one of those six still performed regularly.

Schubert studied with Antonio Salieri while at school, who guided him to a more mature expression of his compositional thoughts. The work is in four movements, three of which are in sonata form. Schubert’s gift for melody is apparent throughout the work, and the finale is a rambunctious Allegro, with recaps from the first movement. It’s an altogether delightful and listenable quartet.

Enjoy a wonderful concert of chamber music presented by very talented young musicians.

The Noree Chamber Soloists feature some of the best young chamber musicians in the greater New York area. The performers are Francesca DePasquale and Elizabeth Frayette, violins; Bethany Hargreaves-Lewis, viola; Yi Qun Xu, cello; and Yoon Lee, piano.

Visit http://collomoreconcerts.org/ to order tickets or for more information about upcoming concerts, or call 203-488-8403.

Key Points on How to Request Absentee Ballots for the State Election, Referendum

LYME/OLD LYME — On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters in Lyme and Old Lyme will cast their ballots in not only the State Election but also the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools $57.6 million Bond Referendum for renovation and expansion of four school buildings. 

If you wish to vote by Absentee Ballot, there are some important points to understand about how you obtain your ballot. The key issue is that you must request two separate Absentee Ballots – one for the Election, and one for the Referendum.

You cannot request both Absentee Ballots on the same form,

Also, you cannot request the Referendum Ballot via the state of Connecticut’s online portal.

You should submit your applications as soon as possible to receive your ballots and then return them in time to be counted.

The last day for Town Clerks to issue Absentee Ballots is Monday, Nov. 7.  

Completed ballots must be returned no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The Town Clerk of the town in which you are registered or qualified to vote is the one who will handle you ballot request(s).

You can request an Absentee Ballot for the State Election in one of three ways:

  • Online via the State of Connecticut Online Absentee Ballot Request Portal at https://oabr-sots.ct.gov/. If you have a valid Connecticut Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID number, you may use this portal to request your absentee ballot for the State Election only. The Town Clerk’s office will receive applications daily from the State, and your Absentee Ballot will be processed by the Town Clerk’s office and mailed to you.

  • By printing out an application from the state’s website at https://bit.ly/2ulgNDz and then submitting it to the Town Clerk’s office in the town where you are registered or qualified to vote.

  • By going to the Town Clerk’s office in person to request an Absentee Ballot.

You can request an Absentee Ballot for the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools $57.6 million Bond Referendum in one of two ways:

  • By printing out an application from the state’s website at https://bit.ly/2ulgNDz and then submitting it to the Town Clerk’s office in the town where you are registered or qualified to vote.
  • By going to the Town Clerk’s office in person to request an Absentee Ballot.

Lyme Town Clerk Linda Winzer helpfully explained to LymeLine why voters need two Absentee Ballots, saying, “These are two separate events occurring on the same day.” She continued, “As you will see in Section III [of the Application for Absentee Ballot], the applicant is directed to “Check only one”, either “Election” or “Referendum”, which necessitates two forms if the voter wishes to vote in both events.”

Winzer clarified, “If someone submits an Absentee Ballot application and has checked “Election” in Section III of the application, they will receive an election ballot.  

If someone submits an Absentee Ballot application and has checked “Referendum” in Section III of the application, they will receive a referendum ballot.  

If they wish to vote in both, they have to submit two forms, one with “Election” checked and one with “Referendum” checked.”  

She stressed, “ If the voter is using the State’s online portal, they will only receive an Election ballot.”

If you are voting in person on Nov. 8, the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A View from My Porch: Bumble Bee Economics 

Prologue:

Christina and I both grew up in homes that observed meatless Fridays, which lasted until the Second Vatican Council; after which Pope John XXIII, seeking to modernize the Church, enacted several reforms, which included an end to both Latin services and meatless Fridays.

However, in deference to Christina’s sense of nostalgia for life before the Vatican Council, we still occasionally have tuna melts for dinner on Fridays. I am glad that she is not nostalgic for creamed tuna and peas on toast, any variations of tuna casserole, or fish sticks. 

This essay is not about the popular recipes of the 1950s and 60s. Rather, I am reviewing an economic and retail commodities practice that emerged over the last few decades; and which really became evident to me when I realized that my tuna salad now required less mayo, diced celery, onion, and pickle relish per drained can of Bumble Bee tuna than it did in the past. 

Shrinkflation:

Some companies have reduced the size of their products in order to offset price increases that would have otherwise occurred as a result of inflation or increased production and materials costs. This practice, which crosses countries and industries, is referred to as “shrinkflation”, and was first labeled as such by economist and presidential advisor, Philippa Malmgren.

Accordingly, instead of substantially increasing the price of a product, which would be readily apparent to buyers, manufacturers reduce the size, but might maintain the original price and original “look and feel” on the store shelf.

In these cases, the retail price of the product might not increase, but the price per unit of weight or volume does. The phenomenon has become quite common in the food and beverage industries. Note that I use some recognizable brand names below as examples that illustrate this economic concept. However, I have no financial interest in any of them beyond that of a super market customer.  

Tuna School:  

There are two main varieties of tuna in grocery stores; “light” tuna, largely skipjack, and “white” tuna, primarily albacore; and both may be packed in either oil or water. According to the USDA, one-half cup of canned tuna in oil contains 145 calories, while a half cup in water has only 66 calories.

The “Daily Beast” reported in 2017 that “gone are the days of the six-ounce can of tuna, leaving buyers and sandwich lovers outraged.” Most brands are now 5 oz “net weight”, which actually includes the water or oil in which they are packed. Further, labels now indicate a “drained weight” of 4 oz in that 5 oz. can! 

According to the National Fisheries Institute, Americans eat about a billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna every year; about one-third of the world’s consumption; and so, these small weight reductions really add up. 

Coffee:

My parents probably included a “one pound” can of coffee on their shopping lists for brewing in their home percolator; — possibly “Maxwell House” or “Chase and Sanborn”.   With the exception of the occasional thermos-full, they probably consumed their “cuppa(s) joe” mostly at home. They did not enjoy the convenience or ambience of “Starbucks” or “Dunkins”. 

In 1993, American news commentator, Andy Rooney, continued his earlier investigation of the practices of “corporate coffee” and reported that, “in 1988 ‘Chock Full O’ Nuts’ had not only reduced the amount of coffee in their one pound can, but they’d also reduced the size of the print that indicated how much is inside.”

His 1993 update reported that “it’s now down to 13 ounces. If they’re not going to put a pound in it, they should at least use a smaller can.” He continued “Maxwell House still says it’s good to the last drop”. Maybe so, but there have been fewer and fewer drops over the years.” 

In a recent trip to our local super market, I noticed that both Maxwell House and Chase and Sanborn are now only 10.5 ounces.

Mr. Rooney is no longer with us.

The Ice Cream Chronicles:

Breyer’s, founded in 1866 in Philadelphia, is the oldest ice cream company in the United States. They incorporated in 1908, and remained  independent until their 1926 sale to the National Dairy Products Corporation/Sealtest, which became “Kraftco” in 1968; and eventually sold its ice cream brands to Unilever, the largest producer of soap in the world. 

Breyers downsized their half-gallons from 64 to 56 ounces, and then again, in 2008, to 48 ounces. They then went on to reformulate their products. Their new product is no longer even called “ice cream”, which is required by the USDA to contain at least 10 percent milk fat, but is now “frozen dairy dessert.” Breyers also removed their “all natural” from their cartons. Forty percent of Breyers’ production is now “frozen dairy dessert”. Many other ice cream producers have converted to 48-ounce cartons, and also offer frozen dairy desserts as an alternative to real ice cream. 

Of note, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield still produce their ice cream in pint cartons that contain a full 16-ounces of ice cream. Their “New York Super Fudge Chunk” flavor is a staple in our house; and Christina will occasionally treat herself to a heaping teaspoon for dessert. 

Unfortunately, the Haagen Dazs “pint” is now 14 ounces.

Shrinkflation Innovation:

I believe that a little “sleight of Hand is required to make “shrinkflation” profitable for the manufacturer.  For example, if the “look and feel” of the downsized can of tuna bears a strong resemblance to the original 6 ounce can, you’re probably less likely to stop in the middle of the aisle and read the label. The new Breyers carton looks a lot like the original black half gallon carton. 

If you check the bottom of your peanut butter container, you’ll notice a dimple. The producers of Skippy peanut butter added a small indentation to the bottom of their jars in 2009. Originally 18 ounces, this subtle change reduced the weight to 16.3 ounces. The dimple was adopted by most manufactures of peanut butter.

Breakfast cereals have appeared to wax and wane by a few fractions over the past several years; and cereal boxes have changed dimensions. 

Companies did not change the height or width of the box, just made it thinner. Consequently, cereal boxes actually contain less cereal; but on the shelf, with the unchanged front panel facing out, they look the same.

Some Thoughts:

I guess that I can summarize this essay with “caveat emptor”, which is Latin for “let the buyer beware”.  As I recall, it’s the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. 

However, according to a Harvard study, most consumers would rather get less than pay more. In investigating this essay, I began reading the conclusions  of Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts,  who has documented shrinkflation on his “Consumer World” website for years.

Sources: 

  • Chernev, Alexander. “Customers Will Pay More for Less”. Harvard Business Review. 06/2012.
  • Dua, Shrey. “What Is Shrinkflation? 5 Examples in 2022”. 06/13/2022. Investor Place 
  • Dworsky, Edgar. “Consumer World Newsletter” Several Dates. 
  • Malmgren, Philippa. “Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World’s Turbulent Economy”. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (2016).
  • Rooney, Andy A “Pound of Coffee?” 03/09/ 2003. CBS “Sixty Minutes”.
  • Durbin, Dee-Ann. “No, you’re not imagining it — package sizes are shrinking” June 8, 2022. Associated Press.
  • Sherman, William. “Tuna Shrinkage: Cans Now Five Ounces, More Expensive”.  07/14/2017. The Daily Beast
  • Vosding, Adam. “Americans consume a whopping amount of canned tuna each year.” 02/24/2022. Mashed. com
Tom Gotowka

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Thomas D. Gotowka.

About the author: Tom Gotowka is a resident of Old Lyme, whose entire adult career has been in healthcare. He will sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. He always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. He enjoys reading historic speeches and considers himself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK. A child of AM Radio, he probably knows the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960. He hopes these experiences give readers a sense of what he believes “qualify” him to write this column.

Obituary: Death Announced of Donald Arthur ‘Don’ Quigley of Old Lyme, Services This Morning in OL

OLD LYME – Donald Arthur “Don” Quigley died peacefully Oct. 19, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones. Don was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 15, 1943, to parents Thomas Arthur and Rebecca Hunsicker …

In September of 1968, Don married Charlotte Cavanagh, and they settled in Old Lyme. It was here that they had their three children, Derek, Colleen and Thomas. During this time, Don self-built their beautiful family home on Jean Drive …

He was an avid rower, and a member of the Lyme/Old Lyme Rowing Association, also serving on the board. Don was a very active member in the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, where he served as both a treasurer and a deacon …

Don is survived by Charlotte, his wife of 54 years. He is also survived by his three children, Derek (Dana), Colleen, and Tom (Jessica) …

A private burial service for the family will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at the Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme. Friends and family are invited to a memorial service at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 4 Lyme Street, Old Lyme. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. https://fccol.org/donate/

Visit this link to read the full obituary published by The Day on Oct. 26, 2022.

Dispose of Unwanted Medications at ‘Drug Take-Back Day’ in Old Lyme, Saturday

OLD LYME — On Saturday, Oct. 29, the Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) and Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) are holding another Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Lyme Firehouse on Lyme Street. This event will have drive-through format.

Bring unwanted medications for safe disposal — this includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The event is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

In addition to LOLPC and LYSB, the event is sponsored by the Old Lyme Police and Fire Departments, CT State Police, and the National Drug Enforcement Agency

For further information, contact Alli Behnke, Prevention Coordinator at LYSB by phone at 860-434-7208 x210 or by email at abehnke@lysb.org

 

Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Host Photographer Caryn B. Davis, Tonight; All Welcome

Caryn B. Davis

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club will host photographer and author Caryn B. Davis at its upcoming full membership meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Town Hall, 65 Lyme St., Old Lyme.

Davis’s book, Connecticut Waters: Celebrating Our Coastline & Waterways is a tribute to Connecticut’s maritime roots. The book takes readers on a nautical journey exploring the many ways Nutmeggers use our waterways for industry, education and recreation, and how these waterways have shaped our culture as a state.

Her talk will include her photography and stories from her research which beautifully capture the shoreline.

In addition, Davis will speak to an area very important to the Lions Club–the preservation and restoration of vision. She will speak about her work with Orbis International,  a nonprofit organization dedicated  to eradicating blindness worldwide.

Orbis has converted a DC10 airplane into a flying eye hospital and has performed surgeries on the aircraft which is a teaching facility. There is a classroom, screening room, recovery room, and operating room on board.

Davis was a media producer on board the Orbis and will share videos and photos of the surgeries that were left behind as teaching tools.

Orbis has flown to 11 third countries on eye saving missions.

Lyme-Old Lyme Lions programs are free and open to the public.  The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions also welcomes new members.  There will be a social at 6:30 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m.

For more information, call Karen Geisler at (860) 434-5321.

Final Public Meeting on LOL Schools’ $57.6M Proposed Building/Renovation Plan to be Held TONIGHT in Old Lyme

Tonight, the final Public Meeting about the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools proposed $57.6 million building plan will be held at Mile Creek School. Along with Mile Creek, Lyme School (pictured above) is also included in the plan for renovations and construction across four of the Region 18 schools.

OLD LYME — The third and final meeting to be held the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education about their proposed $57.6 million Renovation/Building plan will be held Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at Mile Creek School. All are welcome.

The plan is the subject of referendum to be held Nov. 8, in Lyme and Old Lyme. The ballot question will read as follows and offer the option of a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response.

Shall the resolution appropriating and authorizing bonds in the amount of $57,555,000, of which it is expected that an estimated $9,775,000 shall be reimbursed by the State of Connecticut, for the planning, design, demolition, construction, renovation, equipping and furnishing of Mile Creek School, Center School, Lyme Consolidated School and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and related costs, be approved?

Asked what format the Public Meetings would take, LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine by email, “I will be presenting an overview of the project including financial implications and then will open the floor for questions.”

Neviaser added, “We encourage everyone to show up to learn more about this proposal and help inform their vote for November 8,” continuing, “We may also have a Zoom option for remote questions.”

He noted, “Those who cannot attend can watch the presentations on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF2_W7yYtFwx067Ici9776Q/live.”

Check this article, Separate Absentee Ballots Needed for Nov. 8 State Election, School Building Referendum; Ballots Now Available, to review absentee voting requirements for the referendum.

Lyme Resident, Acclaimed Artist Judy Cotton Presents Debut Book at Lyme Academy This Afternoon; All Welcome

OLD LYME — On Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m., Lyme Academy of Fine Arts invites community members to a Tea & Talk with Judy Cotton as she shares her first book Swimming Home: A Memoir. 

This free event will take place at de Gerenday’s Fine Art Materials and Curiosities located on the campus of the Academy at 84 Lyme St. (South Entrance) in Old Lyme.

Cotton will read excerpts from her book, and a discussion with the internationally-recognized artist and author will follow.

Copies of Cotton’s debut publication will be available for purchase for $25.99 along with a book signing that will take place after the event.

The author explains, ”This memoir is an effort to understand my mother and the country I loved and left behind for a life in the arts in America. But my complicated feeling for her and the country, Australia, stayed with me.”

Cotton explains that she likes to use words in the same way that she paints. She illustrates that concept with this excerpt: “Morning light in Sydney has a quality of powdered gold, spilt celestial talcum. It gets up the nose … Fragrance sheets the air. Walking through it is like wading through a tidal river in bursts of warm and cold … it was September, the wattle was flowering, and it smelt like napalm.”

Chris Gordon’s review of Swimming Home describes the book as, “… watertight; it immediately conjures up images of tidal currents and the fearsome mystery of deep water, alongside hopeful shallow rifts.

Washington Post Art Critic Sebastian Smee describes Cotton as “… an enthusiastic observer of the natural world, both in the wilds of America and in her native Australia.” He adds, “Cotton has long been drawn to life in flux. And this memoir is just that — a moving feast of observation and obligation, of wit and internal struggle, and of a portrait of a family told with great pathos.”

Born in Australia in 1941, Cotton has lived and worked in the U.S. since 1971. She is a visual artist with work held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, the Florence Griswold Museum, the National Gallery of Australia and numerous private collections.

From 1974 to 1993, Cotton was the New York contributing editor for Vogue Australia.

In 2008, she began to live in Lyme full time alongside the Connecticut river, which has influenced and informed her work.

For more information about the event, call Cameron Paynter at 860-434-8725.

To learn more about events, lectures, workshops and programs offered at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, visit www.lymeacademy.edu.

Editor’s Note: The mission of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is to teach the foundational skills of drawing, painting, and sculpture in the figurative tradition. By its commitment to training students in these skills and an engagement with contemporary discourse, the Academy will empower a new generation of artists. Through its programs and related ventures, including the opening of de Gerenday’s Fine Art Materials and Curiosities on its historic campus, the Academy is committed to enriching the cultural life of the community. 

Learn more by visiting www.lymeacademy.edu.

Duck River Garden Club Presents Talk on Growing Herbs, Pairing Them With Vegetables, TONIGHT

OLD LYME — This evening, Wednesday, Oct. 26, Rosemary Ostfeld will be the guest presenter at the monthly Duck River Garden Club program held at Memorial Town Hall on Lyme Street in Old Lyme at 7 p.m.

Ostfeld is the founder and CEO of Healthy PlanEat, a sustainable food tech startup based in East Lyme which helps farmers using sustainable growing practices to sell their organic foods directly to local customers.

The program, Growing Culinary Herbs and Pairing with Fresh Vegetables for Year-Round Enjoyment, will feature information on how various cultures flavor their cuisines and herbs for growing a regional-specific herb garden.

Join the Duck River Garden Club for a 6:40 p.m. social followed by this program at 7 p.m.  Visitors are welcome and the program is free.

For more information, call Linda Clough at (860) 601-0446.

CT Dept. of Public Health Reports Monkeypox Cases in State Rise to 11, None in Middlesex County to Date

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued July 14 by CT DPH and sent to LymeLine by Ledge Light Health District. As of July 17, the number of monkeypox cases in Connecticut has increased to 12 per CDC data 

HARTFORD, Conn.— The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that a total of 12 Connecticut residents have been diagnosed with monkeypox.

All 11 of these patients are between the ages of 20 and 50, and reside in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties. The majority of these patients have not been hospitalized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2022 US Map & Case Count includes an updated count of monkeypox cases throughout the country.

Connecticut’s first case was announced on July 5.

“Monkeypox spreads through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

She added, “Residents who are concerned about fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, should contact their health care provider.

Diagnostic testing for monkeypox is now available from commercial laboratories, including LabCorpMayo Clinic, and Quest, and providers can order testing from these laboratories as they would order other diagnostic tests. Testing is available through the State Public Health Laboratory, Monday-Friday.

Although anyone can get and spread monkeypox, the current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. For those who have multiple or anonymous sex partners, their likelihood of monkeypox exposure is high.

Due to the state’s current low case count, Connecticut has not received a substantial allotment of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government at this time. More doses are expected in the coming weeks.  

Vaccination may be recommended for those who:

Are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox (post-exposure prophylaxis)
May have been exposed to the virus
May have increased risk of being exposed to the virus, such as people who perform laboratory testing to diagnose monkeypox

“At the present time, our top priority is ensuring access to post-exposure prophylaxis and then expanding to a larger pool of atrisk persons when our vaccine supply allows us to do so,” explained Commissioner Juthani.

For those seeking treatment or additional information on the vaccine and antivirals, contact your health care provider or call the DPH Epidemiology Program at (860) 509-7994 or (860) 509-8000 after hours.

For more information about monkeypox, visit the CDC monkeypox webpage and the DPH monkeypox webpage.

Letter From Paris: From Macron v1 to Macron v2: France Negotiates Turbulent Times 

Editor’s Note: We are delighted to welcome back Nicole Prévost Logan. Today she offers a detailed analysis of happenings in the French political landscape, saying, “A lot has happened in France in the past two months and I felt it important to write about what is not making the headlines.”

Nicole Prévost Logan

Surreal political developments are taking taken place in France. 

Barely had President Emmanuel Macron been reelected on April 24 with 58.5 percent of the votes on the second round of the majority ballot that a vote of no confidence against the newly appointed prime minister Elizabeth Borne was already announced as well as a possible dissolution of the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly).

Three ministers which had been appointed in the new Cabinet just six weeks earlier had to step down losing their seats in the legislative elections.  Two strong supporters of Macron – Richard Ferrand, President of the National Assembly and Christophe Castaner, the former president of the majority party – had to resign.

What had seemed like a victory for Emmanuel Macron, when he was reelected for a second five-year mandate turned into a cold shower brought on by the outcome of the Legislative elections.  The far left party was quick to describe it as a déroute (total collapse.) 

French President Emmanuel Macron.

Presidential elections had been held on April 10 and 24. The legislative elections on June 12 and 19 changed the aspect of the National Assembly, (incidentally, note the remarkable number of 577 ‘deputés‘ in France as compared to only 435 in the House of Representatives). The number of seats of Macrons’ party, La République en Marche or LREM, was  reduced from 346 to  to 246. It has now only a “relative majority” and is short 44 seats to reach the absolute majority of 289. 

For five years the Presidential party was in control, but now it has to share its power with the opposition. Making compromises is not in the DNA of French politics. This is an unprecedented situation when the government needs to supplement its relative majority.  Quite a difference from a country like Germany where Olaf Shultz was able to strike an alliance with four parties. 

The new Assemblée Nationale is now basically made up of three competing blocks:  LREM, NUPES (New Union Political Economic and Social)  and the Rassemblement National or RN. 

Jean Luc Mélanchon, head of the far left parti La France Insoumise or LFI,  led an active campaign  between April and June to create an anti Macron coalition.

It bore fruit.

He was able to pull together the forces of the Socialists, the Europe Ecologie les Verts or EELV, the Communist Party and his own radical LFI together under the name of NUPES for a total of 131 deputés. It is not a party but a fragile coalition, which could fall apart at any time. Its main objective is to block Macron’s action . 

Marine LePen. 1922 photo published under Creative Commons Public Domain Mark 1.0.

The most striking change in the parliament was the spectacular surge of the RN, from seven seats in the previous Assembly to 89 today. Even the RN leader Marine Le Pen was stunned. She had expected 60 seats at most.

After her disastrous performance in the debate against Macron in the 2017 presidential elections, Le Pen had kept a low profile in the recent electoral campaigns.

And it paid off.

She has also been helped by the collapse of the far right camp of Erik Zemmour, who was left with only 7 percent of the vote in the Presidential elections. 

In the past Le Pens’ electoral base was limited to small areas in the north of France and in the south east. Now she has supporters in the entire country. The RN is progressively changing from being a pariah to becoming “acceptable,” … but one should always be cautious with Le Pen and not overlook the fact that she was in Moscow, cozying up to Putin and seeking his help in obtaining a loan. 

When she suggested her aim was to emulate the politics of Viktor Orban as a model, it is a clear red flag that, under a liberal veneer, she is still a true populist. 

On July 4, Macron introduced his definitive and reshuffled cabinet. Overall it included a number of unknown faces, with several technocrats, specialized in their field. 

For example Braun, a doctor-ER specialist was nominated to tackle the huge problem of health, public hospitals, access to medical treatment which has disappeared in many regions away from the urban centers.

Another specialist is Olivier Klein, mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, a popular neighborhood, former socialist, to handle housing and urban issues.

Pap Ndiaye is the new Education minister. A historian, born in France, of African descent, he is highly educated and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He is the symbol of diversity and the egalité des chances (equal opportunities).  He is being criticized by some for entering his children in the elite- and expensive-Ecole Alsacienne private school on the Left Bank (full transparency — four of my grand children attended that school.) 

The Borne 2 Cabinet has a total of 42 members, including 16 ministers, 15 ministres delegués and 10 secretaires d’Etat.  Three heavyweight ministers retained their positions:  Bruno Lemaire, with an expanded Ministry of Economy and Finances,  Gerald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior and Eric Dupond -Moretti, as minister of Justice.  Moretti is a heavy set, often regarded as a bully, but a brilliant, though controversial, criminal defense lawyer.

The “feminization” process is showing mixed progress : there are only five women ministers versus 11 men. Nine of the 10 of the Secretaires d’Etat (Secretaries of State) are women. Therefore it still looks like that women occupy lower positions than men.

However, one should point out that some women are now holding key posts:  Elizabeth Borne as Prime Minister, Yaël Braun-Pivet as President of the National Assembly,  Aurore Bergé, as president of the LREM.

Foreign Affairs and European Affairs are now the domain of Catherine Colonna, a career diploma and a former ambassador to the UK . This was a surprising move because the post had been held for many years by Jean-Yves Le Drian, an old-timer, who had served in the government since the Francois Holland government. 

The ongoing problems with sexual harassment had some impact with the appointment of ministers. Heavily-handicapped Damien Abad, minister of Solidarity, was denounced by four women for rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault and had to resign probably under the influence of the new Prime Minister. Sexual scandals could not be tolerated any longer, said Borne, and the principle of “exemplarity” would be applied.

This raised the question whether Eric Cockerel , LFI, the newly appointed head to the key post of the Assembly Finances Committee, might be brought under investigation on the accusation by a former Gilet Jaune (yellow jacket) militant, for improper sexual behavior. A complaint by a woman for improper sexual behavior is still outstanding. The far left NUPE so far has paid not attention to that complaint. Incidentally, Cockerel ‘s unlikely profession is as an organizer of the famous Vendée Globe, the only round-the-world solo sailing race. 

But the prime minister may not tolerate that double standard for long. 

The #Metoo movement is still going strong here.

Macron was criticized (as usual) for being too slow in creating his Cabinet, for dragging his feet. Public opinion resented the fact that the French president seemed to be always addressing the population between two doors, on his way abroad, or from the tarmac of an airport. 

It is true that Macron has been busy with international affairs particularly during the six months as president of the Council of the EU From January to June 2022 .  

The 27 EU members take turns leading this body on a rotating basis every six months. (Note: the Council of the EU is not to be confused with the European Council where EU leaders meet quarterly to discuss broad policy matters. At the writing of this article the Czech Republic is heading the Council of the EU.

On July 2, a superb documentary — produced by France 2, one of the main French public TV channels — was released. It is titled “Macron,  l’Europe et la Guerre.”

The film showed how intense the French president ‘s involvement has been in the crisis created by the war in Ukraine.   Conversations with Putin were listened to, recorded and analyzed at the Elysées Palace and the Quai d’Orsay round the clock. 

The documentary does not consist of staged interviews but rather gives the viewer the opportunity to share the spontaneous reactions of the government’s inner circle. This is diplomacy in action. 

Using the familiar “tu” of the French language, one witnesses a sometime intimate exchange with Putin, who at one point tells Macron he has to leave to go to an ice hockey match. 

Macron is in Moscow on Feb. 7. the situation was more incendiary than in 2008 or 2014. 

On Feb. 8, Macron is in Kiev and spends three hours with Zelensky in the Maryinsky Palace. 

Six days before the onset of the Russian invasion, Putin declared, “The war games have come to an end.”T

Three days before Feb.  24, Putin announces the independence of Donetsk and Lujhansk. 

On Feb. 22, Macron is instrumental in setting European sanctions against Russia. Macron states, “We are here to help Ukraine not to topple the Russian government.

On June 23, France strongly supports giving Ukraine the official status of candidate to membership in the EU. An incredible nine-hour train ride through a country at war, brings Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Sholz and Mario Dragui to Kiev.

The film shows that, no matter how futile it may have appeared, it was an extraordinary effort on the part of the French president to maintain the dialogue open with a Russian leader unwavering in his objective of total destruction of a country.  

Is France ungovernable ?  

Will politics be a wrestling match between the Executive and the Legislative Chambers from now on?

Macron will have to be a real “artist” if he wants to be able to  make compromises with an unbending opposition. The problem is that the president, having been elected by universal suffrage, is still perceived as acting as “Jupiter”.

At the beginning of his second mandate he excluded both the extreme partiers RN and NUPEs from a possible coalition.  Les Republicains, (center right) or LR refused to act as the” spare tire” of the government.  The NUPEs threatened to introduce  a vote of no confidence even before the government unveiled its program.  In other words, if the system is to function as a parliamentary democracy, the lack of an absolute majority will force both sides to abandon the posturing game.

The power center of gravity has moved: public opinion is now the arbiter.  

What tools does the government has to govern without the support of the Assembly ? In fact it has more power than appears at first sight :The main tool is the article 49-3, equivalent of Executive Orders in the US.

In 1988, under Francois Mitterand, the Prime Minister Michel Rocard used it 28 times during the first three years,  then  39 times during the following five years under the second mandate. 

Today the rules have changed: only one 49-3 is allowed  during a parliament’s session.

Two other tools exist: it is not easy to dissolve the Assembly since 2/3 , or 289 of the votes are needed.  Besides, Article 47 stipulates that in the event  the budget is not voted upon within 70 days , the government may act by Executive Order.

The government faces a daunting task.

The priority is to manage the pouvoir d’achat  or purchasing power, in order to cope with the rising cost of living including energy and food essentials makes it is urgent to help the poorest households, which cannot make ends meet. 

A Green deputy violently attacked Macron, saying that he does not understand anything about environment. He even wants to dig into the deepest depth of the ocean, she said. But Macron understands the urgency of the environment problems very well, also but he has to set priorities.

Whenever people get hungry the situation becomes explosive. Threatening famine was the main cause of the “Arab Spring” in the early 2010s. 

Bruno Lemaire comments about the dire economic situation of France. Inflation is now 5.8%, a little less than in other European countries because France has dis-industrialized and increased its services sector. The interest on the public debt used to be negative, but now it is 2% and growing. This interest will this year will be 55 billion Euros, an increase of 45% or 66% in two years. 

The debt has reached 120% of the GDP.

The BCE  (Central Bank of Europe) is drying up its buying of sovereign debts of the EU member states. This is the end of quoiqu’il en coûte (no matter the cost ), which became necessary with COVID. 

The RN proposes to lower the TVA (value added tax)  from 20% to 5% , to raise the minimum wage to 1,500 euros per month  These proposals are totally unrealistic and would drive France’s economy into the wall very quickly.

While Russia has made 60 billion Euros selling its gas and oil, it cost Europe a great deal to declare embargo on energy from Russia since it has to buy it – at a higher cost from other countries. 

At the G7 meeting in Bavaria, in late June, Macron condemned the profiteurs de Guerre (war profiteers) who make millions. He pointed out Total, which increased its profits by 48% this year, or CMA CGM, the third largest container shipping company (headquarters in Marseille and in Norfolk Virginia ) made 56 billion Euros in profits in 2021. 

EDF, the electricity and gas supply giant and the big companies of the CAC 40 also made huge profits. 

In the UK, the government imposed a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas producers to support the poorest households. 

Will France do the same?

It is in this climate of mounting economic and social problems that Elizabeth Borne, the new Prime Minister, made her general policy speech at the Assemblée Nationale on July 6. It was an impressive performance and was received with flying colors by most. Not phased by a loud and sometime rowdy Chamber, she was firm and showed her authority.  Without discussing specifics of the government’s program, she set the tone and method of her future actions.  

She had already held conversations with all political groups and intends to continue in the Fall. She made it clear that substantive decisions will be made in a consensual manner, that the government will show a back bone but at the same time reach out for compromises. 

What a contrast with what happened to Edith Cresson in 1991-1992 – the only other woman Prime Minister in France!   For 11 months, she was the non-stop target of sexism in the Assembly, the street and the media.The Guignols puppet show satirizing French politics made fun of her day after day. 

Borne, a civil engineer by profession, is the product of the elite school Polytechnique,  has held several ministerial posts, and showed her talent of tough negotiator during the months of talks with the powerful Cheminots or railroad workers of the SNCF  (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français). She was able to combine her no-nonsense attitude with a personal tone, saying, “I owe a lot to the Republic, she said, since I am a pupille de la Nation (a ward of the State). Her father, a Polish Jew and a survivor from Auschwitz, committed suicide when she was 11.    

Borne knows her stuff. She touched on important topics: security, police, agriculture, vulnerable women — particularly if single parents,  in need of health care, etc.  Her remark about the French would have to work “a bit more” provoked loud protests by a good chunk of the deputés.

Disorder is not an option, she said. 

She made an important announcement: the government intends to nationalize EDF, which manages the nuclear plants and is heavily in debt. Currently the State owns 85% of the shares. One percent is held by the staff and 14% by individuals and institutions.  

This will give more room to the government to maneuver. The objective of the Macron government is a reduction in nuclear power by 50% by 2035 and a carbon-free country by 2050.  

In 1960, under General de Gaulle, France became the fourth most important nuclear power in the world. France’s nuclear power underwent a surge during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. 

Today there are 56 plants in France with an average age of 37 years. Half the plants are closed due to routine maintenance or defects. By 2020 France had 70% of the power plants in Europe, Slovakia had 53%, Ukraine 51% and Hungary 48%.

There have been problems with the construction of the fourth generation EPR (water-pressurized plant) of Flamanville.  Macron wants France is to become a leader in low-carbon-energy using small modular reactors and green hydrogen. 

The largest and most advanced experimental project on nuclear fusion or ITER is under construction in the south east of France managed by a collaboration of 35 European countries.

The transition between the first and the second mandate of Macron will not be easy . “Do not expect things to go smoothly,” commented Borne.    

One must trust the ability of Macron to adjust. Between a president, who is on a permanent crusade to promote a stronger EU and a pragmatic prime minister to work on the home front, one is entitled to be optimistic. 

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 an occasional 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.

Join a Conversation with NYT Best Selling Author Luanne Rice at the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival

NYT best-selling author Luanne Rice will speak at the Old Lyme-PGN Library during the Midsummer Festival. File photo.

OLD LYME — A highlight of this year’s Old Lyme Midsummer Festival promises to be an afternoon conversation with New York Times best-selling author Luanne Rice at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. The event will be held on the library lawn starting at 3 p.m.

Always an engaging speaker, Rice will talk about books, art, writing, inspiration and life in Old Lyme.

Tickets are $50 per person and include a reserved table seat plus a delicious charcuterie appetizer prepared by Cloud 9 and served in a reusable bento box. The ticket price also includes a bottle of Fever Tree flavored tonic and a dessert. A vegetarian option is available upon request.

The library is also offering a general admission option:- simply bring your own blanket or lawn chair at no charge.

Copies of The Shadow Box and other select titles by Rice will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of Bank Square Books.

After Two-Year Absence, Long-Awaited White Elephant Sale Opens TODAY at 9am

The annual White Elephant Sale starts opens today on the first strike of the church bell at 9 a.m.

OLD LYME — After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the perennially popular White Elephant Sale (WES) opens TODAY, Friday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and continues Saturday, July 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Most departments offer items at half-price on the second day. There may be some mask restrictions on inside shopping.

The Sale is hosted by the Ladies Benevolent Society of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

For those new to the town or folk who have never participated, this sale is one of the main events on both the town and church calendars.

Garage, tag and rummage sales may be everyday affairs, but few, if any, can match the size and color of this one. The sale items are organized into some 20 departments that fill the church buildings as well as every available space on the lawn.

The WES has grown so large that it has become a true “community event” since many of the donations are from non-church members and quite a number of volunteers are also from outside the church.

The sale raises a significant amount of money for missions and good works both locally and throughout the world. Some of the beneficiaries include food pantries, health organizations, family support centers, children’s programs, literacy volunteers, affordable housing, and disaster relief worldwide.

For more information about the sale or if you would like to volunteer to help in any capacity, whether with the sale itself or clean-up, call the church office at 860.434.8686 and/or visit www.fccol.org/wes.

See you at ‘The Sale’!

Musical Masterworks Announces Season Starting Oct. 23 in Person; Arron Stepping Down as Artistic Director, Lark to Replace Him

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron is stepping down at the end of the 2021-22 season. Photo by Hak-Soo Kim.

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks (MM) will be back in person this fall for their 31st season with an array of professional chamber music concerts programmed by Artistic Director Edward Arron. The concerts will take place in MM’s traditional home at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Alden Rockwell Murphy, who serves as MM Board President, comments, “It will be wonderful to be back in community, where we can experience the joy of sharing this music together.”

The MM Digital Brochure provides details about the upcoming season, which is filled with performances by Masterworks veterans, as well as some exciting debut performances. The first concert will take place Saturday, Oct. 23.

This season Edward Arron’s final season as Artistic Director will be celebrated. He says in the MM brochure that he feels, in order to allow for fresh ideas for Musical Masterworks, it is time for him to step down.

Violinist Tessa Lark will replace Edward Arron as MM Artistic Director for the 2022-23 season.

Arron has chosen violinist Tessa Lark as his successor. Lark will serve as Artistic Director Designate this season; she will be performing at and co-hosting four out of the five MM concerts.

Regarding COVID-19 safety protocols in respect of the reopening, MM, together with the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, will be monitoring and adhering to CDC and CT guidance throughout the season. Musical Masterworks will be in touch via email prior to each concert to ensure that you are aware of current attendance guidelines so you can safely enjoy their performances.

Musical Masterworks commits to continue to be vigilant in making the health and safety of their musicians, audience and staff a priority as the (hopeful) return to normalcy continues.

Learn to Row an Irish Currach on Rogers Lake, Free Program Offered Saturday

Learn to row an Irish currach on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Hains Park in Old Lyme.

AREAWIDE — Learn to row Irish … remember, you don’t need to be Irish to row Irish!

Readers are invited to try out the ancient art of Irish Currach Rowing, Saturday, Oct. 16, at Hain’s Park, Rte. 1/Boston Post Rd. in Old Lyme from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An Irish currach is a traditional vessel made of wood lathe and covered in canvas. Currachs date back several thousand years.  They were used for trade among islands, between islands and mainland and along coastal mainland villages. The relatively light (for their size) fishing/trade boats, which could withstand high swells, have been streamlined in design for rowing competitions.

Veteran and newcomer rowers are all welcome. Pre-register before Oct. 15, and sign the waiver. Request the forms from row.currach.nl@gmail.com. Pre-register and also take an introductory lesson to receive a free team t-shirt.

The organizers suggest that attendees should bring gloves.

There is no obligation to join the group — simply come and try out currach rowing. Free coffee will be available to rowers and newcomers.

For more information, contact row.currach.nl@gmail.com

This event is sponsored by New London Currach Rowers with support from the Ancient Order of Hibernians of New London County and the Irish Coastal Club.

Essex Land Trust Launches ‘Name That Preserve’ Contest, Entries Due by Sept. 15 


ESSEX —
The Essex Land Trust is excited to offer readers a chance to know our preserves and town properties testing your knowledge by identifying the location of some of our favorite spots. So, it’s time to go outside and explore some of Essex’s OpenSpace areas.

Prizes will be given to the top 10 individuals, who achieve the most accurate entries. This event is called the ‘Name That Preserve’ contest, although it might also be described as a scavenger hunt. 

This is the idea: the Essex Land Trust has created a photo album with pictures grouped into four categories.

  • Structures (bridges, stairs, steps, bog walks)
  • Stones & Stone Walls (significant boulders, split rocks, memorial boulders, geodetic markers)
  • Relaxation Spots (a place to sit down, relax and enjoy one’s surroundings)
  • Notable Views (locations that feature an inspirational view)

Explore land trust and town properties, look for the sites featured in the pictures and correctly identify the property name.

To participate, fill out the entry form and submit to the land trust email address: info@essexlandtrust.org.

Entries must be received by 09/15/21.

To access the entry form, visit this link.

Barry of Essex Scores Her First Ever Hole-in-One

Hollis Barry, Co-Chairperson Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf League, scored a hole-in-one at the club on July 1.

OLD LYME — During Thursday Women’s League Play on July 1, Hollis Barry of Essex, Conn., scored a hole-in-one on the 3rd hole. Barry is co-chairperson of the Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf League (OLCC WGA.)

Barry’s drive on the par three hole landed on the green and rolled into the cup.  This was her first hole-in-one.

With a 16.5 handicap, Hollis has been a life-long golfer. As the new co-chairperson, Barry has advocated for making the OLCC WGA a program that fosters friendships and promotes women’s golf as a relaxing and fun activity for all levels of players.  She encourages healthy competition and the learning of all aspects of the game. 

Greg Shook, Essex Savings Bank, President & CEO, to Retire July 31

Gregory R. Shook, who is retiring as President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, after 22 years  at the helm.

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, will retire after 22 years at the helm and a career spanning 47 years in banking. He is the longest serving President and CEO in Connecticut and will retire on July 31.

A Westport, Conn., native and  Madison resident, Shook began his career as a management trainee in 1974 in a  subsidiary of Philadelphia National Corporation, Signal Finance and Mortgage, Fairfax,  Va. He managed their Cleveland office and then became a Vice President at State Home Savings in Bowling Green, Ohio.

In December 1984, he joined First Federal Savings of Madison, Conn. In 1987, he joined Branford Savings Bank where he rose to  Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary and was named Interim President and CEO where he found a right’s offering used for manufacturing companies to successfully raise capital to support the bank’s continued existence via a 1991 stock offering.

Highlights of his career include being elected by his peers and serving five years as a Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, a $62 billion bank, from  2015 – 2019. He was also appointed to serve on the first two years of the Federal Reserve of Boston Community Depository Institution Advisory Committee (CDIAC)  mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to provide input from Banks under $10 billion to the Federal Reserve system.  

Professional associations have included the Connecticut Bankers Association, legislative committee, executive committee and the American Bankers Association Mutual Institutions Advisory Committee. He serves on the Board of Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services. Following his retirement, he will continue to serve on the  Essex Savings Bank Board of Directors.

He is a corporator of the Middlesex Health  Care System (parent of Middlesex Hospital). He is also on the advisory committees of  the Community Music School and the leadership counsel of the Middlesex Coalition on  Housing and Homelessness.  

In 2011 Shook received the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished  Citizen Award and was elected Chairman in 2016 and continues to serve on its Executive Committee and its Board of Directors.

He has been recognized by numerous organizations for his dedication to community service and has served on non-profit boards and advisory committees. He was a finalist in the New England Division of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program in 2009. He has been a featured speaker for a variety of seminars and radio shows.  

During his tenure, Essex Savings Bank grew its assets from $110 million to over $525  million, expanded its physical footprint from four to six branches, participated in the  growth of assets under management or administration of Essex Financial Services from $700 million to $3.2 billion and Essex Trust from a de novo to $871 million and has  rolled out new technology and capabilities leading the Bank through the pandemic.

He  is the 17th President since 1851. The Bank is currently celebrating 170 years of service and trust to the community.  

Shook commented, “The best part of Banking is building long term relationships and I am so appreciative of  everyone’s support and trust over the years. I am extremely proud of what we’ve been  able to accomplish together for both our customers and the communities in which we serve. It has been both my great privilege and honor to work with so many dedicated  and talented people – the absolute best.”

Looking to the future, Shook said, “I am confident that Essex Savings Bank will continue to garner new relationships and remain an outstanding business serving the  personal and business banking, trust and investment needs of the community. On Aug. 1, I am pleased to turn the business over to Diane Arnold, formerly our Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer as she will be our 18th President and CEO,  who is poised to lead this business to new heights.”

During the month of July, Shook will be looking forward to wishing many of his customers, friends and colleagues a fond farewell as he embarks on his next voyage.  

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.

Ivoryton Playhouse Reopens its Doors with ‘Murder for Two’

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse will open its doors for a five-play season on July 8.

Murder For Two by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian is a blend of music, mayhem and murder! In this hilarious 90-minute show, two performers play 13 roles—not to mention the piano—in a witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries.

The New York Times calls it “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”

Murder For Two was developed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and 42nd Street Moon. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the World Premiere Production in May, 2011, which was extended four times and ran for more than six months. Kinosian and Blair were recognized with a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical.

Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two – Ian Lowe*, who was last seen in Ivoryton in The Woman in Black — plays the detective, and Joe Kinosian* plays all 13 suspects and they both play the piano.

A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with laughs.

The show is directed and choreographed by Wendy Seyb, the set is designed by Martin Marchitto, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.

Murder For Two opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse July 8 and runs through Aug. 1, 2021. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. There will be one Thursday matinee on July 8.

The safety of the audience is the primary concern. Face masks are required at all times in the theatre. There is no intermission and no concessions will be sold. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the theatre. Socially-distanced  seats mean there are only 96 seats in the theatre for your comfort and protection.  To view the socially-distanced seating plan, follow this link.

The second show in the 2021 Summer Season will be:

HAVING OUR SAY:  THE DELANY SISTERS FIRST 100 YEARS
by Emily Mann, adapted from the book “Having Our Say”
Aug. 12 – Sept. 5
A beautiful, funny and heartfelt family drama based on the bestselling memoir of Bessie and Sadie Delany – trailblazers, activists and best friends.

More shows will be announced soon.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, $25 for students and are available on June 14 by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318. Tickets are not available online. Visit the website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org for more information. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

‘Crosby Fund for Haitian Education’ Changes Lives in One of Poorest Parts of Globe

The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education is guided by the deep conviction that a brighter future for Haiti depends on educating its youth and preparing them for professional careers in Haiti.

How has an idea conceived in Old Lyme, Conn. been able to grow into an organization that is making a critical difference in the lives of more than 500 students in one of the most economically-deprived parts of the Caribbean island of Haiti, which, in turn, is one of the poorest countries in the world?

The answer lies with one woman, Rebecca ‘Becky’ Crosby, who along with her husband Ted, founded the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education (CFHE) back in 2003.

How did it all begin?

Crosby explains her first trip to Haiti was in 1999 and came about through the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) when Amy Bruch was working there as an Associate Minister. Bruch had connected with the late Dr. Wayne Southwick of Old Lyme, the retired chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Yale University.

Annually, Dr. Southwick led a team of doctors from Yale to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschappelles, Haiti, where they performed surgeries round the clock and at no charge for local people. Deschappelles is located in the rural Artibonite Valley about 90 miles north of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Inspired by Southwick’s work, Bruch decided she, in turn, wanted to take a team of volunteers to the same hospital to support his efforts. She successfully organized the trip pulling together a group through the church, one of whom was Becky Crosby. They took a sewing machine with them, Becky recalls, and their primary task was to make privacy curtains for the hospital.

Ted and Becky Crosby attended the opening of a new Medical Center in Liancourt, Haiti in May 2021. The Center was founded by one of the graduates of the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education program, Dr. James Kerby Estimé, who named the Center in Becky’s honor.

During their time on the island, Becky noticed a young man, who was regularly sitting outside the place the volunteers were staying. One day Crosby asked him why he was not in school and he explained that he had previously been fortunate to have a sponsor from the US, but that those funds had ceased. Since school is not free for anyone in Haiti, he was no longer able to attend as his family simply could not afford it, and he hoped by interacting with some of the American visitors in town that he might be able to find a new sponsor.

Becky says, “I was surprised to learn that school was not free,” and made the decision almost on the spot to pay for the young man — Oltin — to finish his high school education. Doing that turned out to be harder than she thought since there was no postal service in Haiti and the young man had no bank account. Becky, however, was determined and finally found a way to pay his tuition through an American doctor working in Haiti.

Three years later in 2002, Becky returned to Deschappelles to meet with Oltin on his graduation from high school. She recalls, “I saw him and it was a wonderful visit.” She adds significantly, “I could not believe what the gift of an education could do.”

She started to research the overall statistics for education in Haiti and was stunned to find that only 55 percent of children in the country attend elementary school, a number which drops to 15 percent for those who graduate from high school, and finally falling to a mere 2 percent, who go onto university.

Less than half of Haitian families can afford school for their children, therefore, one of the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education’s main goals is to provide full scholarships for students from Pre-K through university.

It suddenly became crystal clear to Crosby that, “If you want to build Haiti, you need to educate the youth.” At that transformative moment in her life, she made a personal commitment to try and do something to meet that almost overwhelming objective.

Returning home, she shared the idea with her husband Ted, who was supportive of the concept, and in response set off on his own fact-finding trip to Haiti in 2003.

After Ted returned and expressed his full commitment for the project, Becky returned to Haiti again and began to, “Come up with ways to create the organization” there and “Form a board to select the students [who would receive scholarships.]

Returning to her home in Old Lyme, a determined Becky started work to find donors locally, who were willing to fund students in Haiti, who would otherwise not finish high school.

Not an easy task by any standard, but a short while later, she had successfully recruited 32 people willing to do just that and thus were formed the first seeds of the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education. Becky says, “We started with 32 friends who sponsored 32 students,” adding with a chuckle, “I had no idea when I started where this was leading.”

The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education also offers a wide range of additional academic support at their Education Center in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley.

Where is the organization today?

The numbers are nothing short of staggering.

A total of 523 students are now supported under the organization’s banner including 98 in post-secondary schools, 53 at university and 45 in medical technician or vocational training facilities. More than 80 schools across the Artibonite Valley are now involved in the program.

More than 90 percent of the Crosby Fund’s scholarship students advance to university or technical school and subsequently, CFHE graduates are employed at three times the national average.

Moreover, Faulkner Hunt of Lyme, who serves as CFHE’s Marketing Director, states, “Our goal is to get kids educated,” not just as an end in itself, but, “To get them to a place where they are gainfully employed.”

Has establishing the CFHE had any unexpected effects?

The project has been life-changing for Becky on a personal level in many ways.

Most significantly, when the CFHE had reached a total of around 300 students under its wing, she felt she had to step down from her role as Associate Minister at the FCCOL — a position she had taken after Catherine Zall’s departure (Zall had followed Bruch) — and devote her energies full-time to the fast-growing organization.

The Medical Center in Liancourt, Haiti, which is named after Becky Crosby.

She explains that she stepped down with three clear objectives in mind.

The first was to find or build some sort of “permanent place” for the CFHE, which could both house the staff and offer classroom space. The second was to establish an endowment fund and the third, and perhaps most important, to set up “some sort of staff in the US” to work on “succession planning” for the organization to establish continuity for it in perpetuity.

Becky says proudly, “All of this things are now in place,” which in turn has helped enormously with “Planning for the future.”

Building the Education Center in Deschapelles met the first goal. The three classrooms and and computer lab allow for a wide range of tutoring opportunities, which Becky emphasizes are extremely important, mentioning, “Math is a huge problem.”

Literacy, especially among adults, is another major challenge. “The students’ parents could not read or write … they had no idea how to read a report card,” Becky explains. The CFHE follows a state-run literacy program for adults, which currently has 56 students enrolled, but has recently adopted a youth literacy program sponsored by USAID, which had 52 students registered in January 2021.

With more than a trace of emotion in her voice, Becky said, “It is so moving to see someone my own age struggling to write their own name … and then go back [after the program has been completed] and see them writing easily. It is very, very touching.”

How are the students selected who are to receive scholarships?

Becky explains, “We have a great staff in Haiti, which includes six graduates of our program.” Using their knowledge of the community, they select candidates whom they determine will benefit from financial support. The process clearly works since the graduation rate of students supported by CFHE is significantly higher than the national average.

The 2020-2021 academic year saw 221 scholarships granted to secondary students in grades 7 to Philo (a 13th college preparatory year.) These students attend 37 schools in the region.

Apart from scholarships and tutoring, another piece of the Crosby Foundation’s work is their career development program. Becky says passionately, “Graduates need jobs … it’s tough to get a job … we’re trying to keep them in Haiti.” The program assists graduates in securing internships and jobs across Haiti, and Crosby points out it has already produced doctors, nurses, computer programmers and administrators, most of whom are now employed in Haiti.

She adds the CFHE has also helped students along other career paths including assisting four agronomy students set up a farming business.

What is the impact of donations from Lyme, Old Lyme?

An extraordinary aspect of the financial support for CFHE is that the “vast majority” comes from Lyme and Old Lyme according to Hunt. He comments it is remarkable, “These two little towns  can take up so much compassion for a little area in Haiti,” adding, “It’s such a great example of selflessness.”

Referring to all the CFHE donors, Becky says, “I wish I could bring them all to Haiti so they could see what they’re doing for the youth of Haiti. I wish I could share that experience with the people, who have helped us.”

Looking Ahead

Becky expands enthusiastically on what she calls “the real joy” of the achievements of the CFHE, saying, “When a kid you’ve picked off the streets does really well at school, even university, gets a job, gets married, has kids that go to school … Bingo, that’s the dream! This is what we are trying to do. It’s not going to happen overnight … we don’t expect miracles … but ultimately it’s nation-building one step at a time.”

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education, visit their website or follow them on their Facebook page. If you would like to donate to support the work of the CFHE, visit this link. All contributions regardless of size are gratefully accepted.

Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for June ‘… the Month God Invented, Since Spring is a Tough Act to Follow’

“Cast ne’er a clout till May is out” is the medieval English saying means do not put away your long johns until May is over; well, we certainly have had a few very cool nights recently, which is just wonderful … allowing sleeping with the windows open.

I cannot remember the last time we had a real spring like the one we are experiencing this year, with plenty of rain. May is typically a dry month, although with the effects of global warming, no weather is typical these days. However, this beneficial rain is wonderful for all the spring plant growth happening in the beginning of the growing season.

Peonies by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash.

I am so in awe of the miracle of Mother Nature; the symbiotic relationship between plants and others of God’s creatures. As I look out of my window into my field, I can see the buds opening on my long stand of peonies, which brings to mind just one of those symbiotic relationships — the friendly partnership between ants and peonies.  

I am often asked “Maureen, should I worry about ants on my peonies?” The answer is “That’s not a problem, lots of ants on the peonies just demonstrate that you have healthy plants with big buds producing more nectar and therefore attract the ants”.

Make sure Peonies get plenty of water and after blooming, apply a light dose of organic 5-10-5 fertilizer and check the soils PH it should be between 6.5 and 7.0.  It is hard to ruin a good peony border but you can err in the fertilizing process, so go easy on the organic aged manure (never thought I would say that) and apply just the light dose of fertilizer — to reiterate apply the fertilizer after blooming.  

Now, in June, I pinch off the side-buds on my large stand of peonies, thus ensuring big blooms on the rest of the plant.  

On the subject of ants; if you see them “let them live,” because often their presence indicates that we have aphids around and ants feed off aphids; they are very useful creatures.

Another very useful creature in the pest wars; is the lowly toad so I always put out some toad houses (which you can purchase from the garden center) around and about in your borders.  You can also use an old clay pot that is cracked and make sure that the crack is two to three inches wide for the door so the toad can enter. Also put a small saucer as a floor under the pot with some rocks, which you keep damp, so that your friendly bad-bug-eater has his or her ideal home environment.

MULCH:

Mulch your gardens in June; when the ground has warmed up to about 45 or 50 degrees. When you mulch, be careful mulching around trees; do not get the mulch any closer than four inches from the trunk, as any closer it can promote rot and disease in the tree itself. Also trees that are mulched too deeply near the trunk invite mice and other rodents to come nest and then gnaw on the trunk.  

The garden as a whole can be mulched to a depth of between two and three inches. I prefer fine hardwood mulch in the dark brown color but no dyed red mulch please … keep the garden looking natural and not like a Disney theme park.

ROSES:

An ‘Evelyn’ rose by David Austin, the author’s favorite.

June is the month when Roses begin to bloom. I prefer David Austin roses that I find are the most trouble free roses, are repeat bloomers and have wonderful fragrances. Some of my favorites are A Shropshire Lad, a soft peachy pink, Abraham Darby with blooms in apricot to yellow, Fair Bianca a pure white, Heritage, a soft clear pink. My absolute favorite is Evelyn, pictured at right, which has giant apricot flowers in a saucer shape and the fragrance is second to none with a luscious fruity tone, reminding me of fresh peaches and apricots.  

Feed your roses with an organic rose food called Roses Alive, which you can obtain from “Gardens Alive” on the internet, feed them once a month until mid August, then stop feeding so they can go into a slow dormancy.

Japanese beetles are very attracted to roses, so any Japanese beetle traps should be placed far away from your borders on the perimeter of the property. Or check TheEnglishLady.com on the Organic Products page for other solutions to the beetles and other unwanted pests.    

A tip for keeping cut roses fresh: cut the roses in the morning before 10 am, just above a five leaf cluster and place stems in a container of lukewarm water.  Inside the house recut the stems under warm running water, forming a one and a half inch angular cut, then place in a vase filled with warm water.  Do not remove the thorns on cut roses, I have found this practice reduces their indoor life by as much as three days.  

HYDRANGEAS:

These need plenty of water, (in the fields they were originally found close to water being a wetland plant before they were introduced into our gardens), also organic aged manure, good ventilation, organic fertilizer and full sun.

Wisteria in full bloom is always a sight to behold. Photo by Alyssa Strohman on Unsplash.

WISTERIA:

Regular pruning through spring and summer is the main factor to help this arrogant vine to flower — and by that I mean several times during the season. Prune every two weeks at least six inches on each stem.  

CLEMATIS:

If you have a wilt problem with clematis, you notice it early because the shoots wilt and die. Unfortunately this disease is impossible to cure, as it is soil-borne. Therefore you cannot plant another clematis of that species in that area but you can plant the Viticella clematis selection; these are vigorous, free flowering blooms and are not susceptible to wilt.  Some good choices in this variety are Blue Belle, Etoile Violette (both are purple) and Huldine, which is a white,  

CONTAINER GARDENS:

If you have room for one pot, you have room for a number — placed close together in different shapes and sizes, they can create your own miniature garden. Apart from regular pots, the most unexpected objects make really interesting containers. A friend, who cut down trees this past winter, left the stumps and hollowed them out to make containers — one large and two smaller stumps together — a really interesting combo.  

At the same time look in your basement, shed or barn to see if you have an old wheelbarrow, which, even if it has a wheel missing, will present an unusual angle as a planter. Or you may come across a large chipped ceramic jar — I, in fact, have an old two foot tall ceramic vinegar container, replete with a hole where the vinegar tap was inserted, ideal for drainage, which will look great on my newly-painted blue bench next to my red milk shed.  

LAWN CARE:

Do not forget to add organic grub control through July, so that you keep down the mole infestation; remember no grubs, less food for the moles.  

POWDERY MILDEW:

Keep an eye open for powdery mildew, especially after a rain and the humidity returns.  In a sprayer, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of vegetable or horticultural oil in a gallon of water and spray the mildew.  Summer phlox is particularly prone to this affliction; I recommend Phlox Miss Lingard or Phlox David, white ones of the species, these are the most mildew resistant.  

Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is also affected by the mildew; the one I have found to be the most resistant is Cambridge Scarlet. Do be careful when introducing Monarda into the garden; they, like Purple Loosestrife and Evening Primrose are extremely invasive and can take over your entire border.  

On the subject of invasive plants, if you plant mint, plant it only in containers, otherwise mint will spread throughout your borders.  

I hope these tips are useful to you in this busy time of year in the garden and I’ll see you in the garden or on my website next month.

Contact Maureen at maureenhaseleyjones@gmail.com

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones, pictured left, is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Free Concert at Westbrook Outlet Mall, Saturday

Ryan Bloomquist and Morgan Morse. Photo by Brief Cameo Productions.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse presents a free concert at Six Summit Gallery in the Westbrook Outlet Mall on Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. All are welcome.

A collaboration between the Ivoryton Playhouse and Brief Cameo Productions, Songs From The Elephant’s Trunk is a celebration of live performance, featuring concert selections both honoring the Playhouse’s past successes and looking ahead to a bright and hopeful future.

Featuring nine professional singers and musicians, the concert will include songs from Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and many more.

This concert is made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

Visit the Playhouse website or Facebook page for more information.

Opening Reception for Studio 80’s ‘Summer Sculpture Showcase’ to be held Saturday, All Welcome

‘Yes’ by Joe Gitterman is one of the featured works in this year’s Summer Sculpture Showcase.

OLD LYME — An Opening Reception for Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds’ 7th Annual Summer Sculpture Showcase will be held Saturday, June 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the artwork on display … and a much-anticipated return to socialization! All are welcome.

The event will feature a live performance by Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Steve Sigel.

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens will be playing with Steve Sigel during the Opening Reception.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds is a vibrant community environment dedicated to arts education and appreciation on the Connecticut shoreline. Its mission is to create a bond between art, nature and community by inspiring and promoting participation in the arts.

The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their sculptures in a wonderful environment specifically designed to nurture the creative arts.  This year, the Showcase features sculptural works by 20 selected artists.

Take the opportunity to wander around Gil Boro’s Sculpture Grounds and see the more than 100 sculptures on display,

In an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, masks will be mandatory for all and social distancing measures will be practiced. If you have not been vaccinated, you are requested to consider not attending the event.

The health and well-being of the community is of paramount importance. It is for this reason that the event will be held exclusively outdoors, weather permitting, and no refreshments will be served this year. Guests are, however, welcome to BYO!

‘Sticky Chromosome’ is one of the sculptures juried into the Showcase.

Parking is available next door at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. Handicapped parking is available at the Sculpture Grounds.

After Year of Closure, Gillette Castle Interior Re-opens to Public 

Harold “Tyke” and Theodora “Teddie” Niver – appearing as William and Helen Gillette – stand on the terrace overlooking the Connecticut River at the century-old home of the late Connecticut actor. After a year of pandemic-imposed closure, the structure has re-opened for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Kelly Hunt, Capture the Moment Photography.

EAST HADDAM, Conn. – For the first time since late 2019, Gillette Castle has re-opened and will be available for public visits during Gillette Castle State Park’s regular opening hours, park officials said. 

Because of the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mansion built a century ago by the late stage actor William Gillette remained closed throughout 2020 in accord with Connecticut’s official policy for all indoor facilities associated with state parks. 

The park’s grounds are open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily, offering visitors a chance to use the park’s varied hiking trails, stroll around Gillette’s unique home and perhaps spot the eagles that frequently nest with their young along the river at many times of the year. 

Self-paced tours of the structure are to be conducted from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, with each day’s final tour starting at 4 p.m. After Labor Day, tours will be conducted only on weekends through Columbus Day. Tickets are $6 and may be obtained at the Castle entrance on the day of visit. 

State officials report that ticket sales will also be available for pre-purchase for up to 12 individuals for specific time slots at 15-minute intervals. To guarantee a slot, advance purchase is recommended. To pre-reserve, guests in time will be able to check online at the Reserve America website (tinyurl.com/4ty5e59p) under “Gillette Castle State Park Tours.” 

In anticipation of the official opening May 29, a limited “soft opening” of the structure’s interior one week earlier allowed park officials and tour guides to practice their presentations with members of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, who received a “sneak peek” in exchange.

Most Connecticut state park buildings, museums, nature centers and other enclosed structures were opened on Memorial Day weekend. Under the state’s guidelines, six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings. Masks will be required inside the structure, regardless of vaccination status.

“The home of William Gillette is the true centerpiece of this wonderful park, and it was frustrating for us not to be able to share this jewel’s inner beauty and wonders with everyone,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends organization. “Now, thanks to a lot of hard work by many people, we’re excited to say that it’s ready to go back on display.”

The park is nestled between the towns of East Haddam and Lyme. Many of its trails follow a former railroad bed created for a narrow-gauge track installed by the late Connecticut stage actor, who built his castle-like home atop one of the Seven Sister Hills along the river. 

Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found on the Friends website at www.gillettecastlefriends.org. Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at the website, or direct their questions to info@gillettecastlefriends.org or (860) 222-7850. 

The organization’s mission includes the preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic structure and its scenic grounds. The all-volunteer, nonprofit group works in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Memberships help to finance park and structural improvements while preserving the estate and Gillette’s legacy.

Essex Land Trust Hosts Annual Concert in the Park, Saturday

ESSEX — Need an outdoor outing to leave the COVID-19 confinement behind?

The Essex Land Trust is hosting a live music concert Saturday, June 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.  at the Main Street Town Park in Essex. The concert will feature Melaena, a band that has been built on a foundation of musicianship, showmanship and professionalism mixed with raw talent.

The event is intended as a BYO picnic and concert.  Bring chairs, blankets. Relax or Dance! 

Melaena is a 6-piece cover band based out of Norwich, CT whose sole mission is to execute music that “makes you want to dance.” For over 30 years, Melaena has been performing songs from every decade, from Top 40 to Motown to classic rock to current hits; ranked as one of the top covers and wedding bands in the area. 

While the concert will be outdoors, it is asked that participants maintain social distance throughout the event.

Bad weather cancels. 

For any additional information, email info@essexlandtrust.org.

Essex Land Trust Hosts Canoe/Kayak Trip to South Cove, Saturday

ESSEX — Want to explore Essex’s South Cove?

On Saturday, June 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. take the opportunity to bring your kayak or canoe for an early summer trip to South Cove, led by the Essex Land Trust’s Jeff Croyle.

Meet at the public boat launch below Essex Town Park, on Main Street Essex. No advance registration required but participants need to sign a waiver starting at 12:30 p.m. and launch their own boats prior to the 1 p.m. departure.

A safety boat will accompany.

Bad weather cancels.

As the event will be exclusively outdoors, COVID regulations are not in force and facemasks are optional.

For any additional information, email info@essexlandtrust.org.

High Hopes Hosts a Big Barn Tailgate, June 12

OLD LYME — With the development of multiple vaccines to aid in the fight against the pandemic and a sense of renewed hope, High Hopes is hosting their traditional annual gala Saturday, June 12, as a socially-distanced Big Barn Tailgate at their location at 36 Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme.

It will be a celebration of the vibrant, philanthropic community, whose support makes it possible for High Hopes to provide a place where horses and humans together improve lives.

Don your dancing shoes or cowboy boots and kick up your (socially-distanced) heels to the extensive music repertoire of local sensation Sugar.

Enjoy gourmet boxed dinners with dessert, bar service, and VIP packages.

E V E N T   T I M E L I N E

6:00–7:30 p.m. Gates open for dinner and beverage pickup
7:30 p.m. Sugar’s 1st Set
8:30 p.m. Video Presentation & Scholarship Drive
9:00 p.m. Sugar’s 2nd Set

For more information regarding the event and all the exciting ticket options, visit this link.

LymeLine.com is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

Rep. Carney Co-Sponsors Bill to Remove Race Designation from Marriage Licenses, Land Records

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd)

OLD SAYBROOK/LYME/OLD LYME – State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd), whose district includes both Lyme and Old Lyme, voted Tuesday, May 11, in favor of a proposal to prohibit restrictive covenants based on race.

The proposal, HB-6665, An Act Concerning the Removal of Restrictive Covenants Based on Race and Elimination of the Race Designation on Marriage Licenses, would prohibit restrictive covenants – defined as “an instrument affecting the title to real property that purports to restrict ownership or occupancy of such real property on the basis of race.”

As a co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carney said, “This bill is long overdue in creating a process to strike racist language from our covenants and marriage certificates and I was thrilled to see it pass unanimously.”

According to the bill, by Dec. 1, 2021, the Office of Policy and Management must develop a standardized form to report unlawful restrictive covenants, town clerks must make such forms available on a municipality’s websites where land records are kept, along with posting a notice informing the public of the provisions of this section in the town clerk’s office where land records are kept.

Current state law requires applicants provide their race or face having their application denied.

Despite the Department of Public Health collecting this information, it does not serve any intended purpose. HB-6665 would therefore eliminate applicants from being required to provide race as a requirement for approval.

Connecticut is only one of eight states that requires couples to identify their race before obtaining a marriage license.

The bill received unanimous support from the House and will now move onto the Senate for further action.

Enjoy ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight

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

CHESTER, CT — The downtown Merchants of Chester host another family-friendly First Friday tomorrow evening, Friday, May 7, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy live music, great shopping and dining, and gallery-hopping!

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 Nilsson’s Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

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

May First Friday happenings include:
  • Honeycone Craft Ice Cream will feature a one-night-only First Friday Flavor
  • Arrowhead and Friends will play on the porch of Lief Nilsson’s Spring Street Studio
  • The Hive will feature an artist pop up exhibition
  • Lori Warner Gallery will feature new jewelry by Adorn and ceramics by Florence Penault
  • Chester Gallery hosts a new show titled ‘New York in Chester’.

Also, representatives from Essex Auxiliary’s Child & Family Raffle will have a table set up downtown where you could win big! Support local restaurants in Chester, Deep River and Essex and help jumpstart their revenue flow by participating in their “win-win” fundraiser.

Raffle ticket buyers win great prizes, the restaurants increase income, and the Auxiliary uses net proceeds to benefit the capital projects and services of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

Learn more at http://letsEATOUTraffle.org.

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

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

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.

Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic in Old Saybrook This Afternoon; No Appointment Required

Photo of COVID-19 vials by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.

OLD SAYBROOK — Still not vaccinated against COVID-19?

Help achieve immunity in the community by going to a drive-through vaccination clinic at Old Saybrook Middle School (OSMS), Thursday, May 6, from 3:30 to 8 p.m. You will not need to exit your car to receive the vaccine.

No appointment is required and you can choose which vaccine to receive: Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

You can even choose which snack to enjoy — a hot dog or a hamburger!

The OSMS is located at 60 Sheffield St., Old Saybrook.

Tickets on Sale for Musical Masterworks’ Final Virtual Concert of Season; Tessa Lark Plays Mendelssohn & More

Tessa Lark

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks presents its final concert video of its 30th Season, which will be filmed from the stage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in early May.

The concert video will feature the music of Handel, Ives and a grand finale for the season with Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D Minor.

The musicians will be Tessa Lark on violin, Gilles Vonsattel on piano, and Edward Arron on cello.

Tickets are on sale through May 14. The link to the virtual concert will be made available to ticket buyers on May 15.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes until June 5. 

Ticket holders are able to experience Musical Masterworks as never before with the audio-video production team creating an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat to the performers’ artistry.

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

Musical Masterworks looks forward to returning in October 2021 with its 31st season.

See a Bounty of Boats, Coastal Exhibitors at CT Spring In-water Boat Show at Essex This Weekend

ESSEX — The 5th Connecticut Spring Boat Show will take place April 30, May 1-2, at Safe Harbor Essex Island, located in Essex, CT.  The in-water boat show will raise funds for Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C), a non-profit organization supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research.  Sails Up 4 Cancer will benefit from 50% of ticket sales proceeds.

This boat show brings together members of the boating industry to share some of the latest innovations in boating while supporting a great cause.  Show attendees will have an ideal opportunity to compare different boats, dealers and options in one beautiful location.

A unique feature of the in-water show offers interested boat buyers select opportunities for sea trials throughout the weekend; thus, giving prospective buyers a unique ‘try-before-you-buy’ experience. The show will follow all state and local guidelines to ensure a safe experience when visiting the show, rain or shine.

Visitors will enjoy seeing a wide range of new and brokerage, power and sail models of all sizes, 20ft to larger than 65ft from Azimut, Brig, Burger, Chris Craft, Destino, Duffy Snug Harbor, Eastern, Everglades, Excess Catamarans, Grand Banks, Hinckley, Island Packet, Jenneau, Jupiter, Limestone, Nordstar, Oceanis, Ocean Master, Sea Hunt, Southport, USMI 11 Meter Naval Special Warfare RIB, Viking, and many other leading boat brands!

In addition to boats on the docks, the show will have yacht brokers, gear, artists, accessories, and service companies on the lawn.

Exhibitors include: Boatique USA, Brewer Yacht Sales, Candock Modular Docks/Suzuki Marine, Captain Morgan’s Boat Training and Charters, LLC, Caryn B Davis Photography Connecticut Waters, Conversations with Classic Boats, Chester Point Marina, Chestnut Health Navigation, Current Boating Education, Eastern Yacht Sales, Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, Hook’d Fishing Gear Co., Hydrangea Blue Design, InnSeason Resorts, Ipswich River Craft, McMichael Yacht Brokers, Ltd., Ram Jack, Renewal by Andersen of Southern New England, Sails Up 4 Cancer, Windcheck Magazine, Yelena Talamekki Designs and more.

Safe Harbor Essex Island Marina is located on a 13-acre private island, accessed by a complementary ferry service, and offers 125 slips accommodating vessels up to 200’. The resort marina is family friendly and offers food and beverages, along with live music throughout the weekend.

Historical Downtown Essex is located on the Connecticut River, a few short miles from Long Island Sound. The small waterfront town is a boating, sailing and tourist destination featuring quaint shops, markets, and restaurants. Bring your family and friends out to enjoy this sea-side boat show.

The show is a production of WindCheck Magazine and hosted by Essex Island Safe Harbor Marina.  Show sponsors include BMW, Essex Boat Works, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, Gowrie Group, Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA).  Visit www.ctspringboatshow.com for specific event details. Contact Ben Cesare of WindCheck Magazine at ben@windcheckmagazine.com for dealer and vendor application information.

Three-day tickets will be offered at $20 per adult and free for children 13 and under, granting access to the show all weekend long.  Fifty percent of the proceeds will benefit Sails Up 4 Cancer, a non-profit organization and local charity who distributes funds to families impacted by cancer.  Advance tickets can be purchased by visiting:  https://www.windcheckmagazine.com/shop/.

Free parking is available.

Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) is a non-profit organization based in Mystic, Connecticut. SU4C has been dedicated to supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research along the Shoreline and Southeastern regions of Connecticut. To learn more, go to SU4C.org.

Lyme Academy Announces Spring, Summer Youth & Adult Programs, Registration Now Open 

Courses galore — both online and in-person — for both young and old are being offered this spring and summer by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

OLD LYME — Spring programming at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is starting online with introductory landscape painting essentials, which prepare students for practicing their craft in the great outdoors.  

Youth Academy Offers Summer Workshops for Pre-College and Middle School students

A student develops her painting skills in the Youth Academy at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Lyme Academy is also accepting registrations for an onsite Youth Academy with summer workshops for Pre-College and Middle School students. “We are very happy to provide exceptional art courses to pre-teens and teens that legitimately prepare them with practical skills that artists actually use. We are more than a camp, we are a training ground for artists,” explains Kimberly Monson, Director of Pre-College and Youth Programming.  

The Academy’s Middle School Program takes lessons from the master artists of the past to demonstrate their significance in history. Through engaging projects, students learn to appreciate the featured artist’s unique style, but filter it through their own creativity.

The Pre-College Program assumes that all students are serious artists in-the-making and trains them accordingly. The academic curriculum is taught by experienced professional artists and college professors, making it as sophisticated as any program offered at the college level.

Monson adds, “The skills and practices learned will prepare students for the rigors of a true studio environment, which easily transfers to both college and work environments as well. Artists are self-motivated, innovative, analytical and creative problem-solvers and our program builds confidence by bringing out those qualities in our students.” 

For more information on the Youth Academy and to register for programs, visit this link or call 860-434-5232.

American Academy of Landscape Painting Presents Courses for Beginner, Advanced Students

Lyme Academy’s American Academy of Landscape Painting offers six online courses and 10 in-person courses beginning in April to prepare students for the transition to live courses outdoors.

The foundations are essential to success as an artist, and to that end Lyme Academy’s online foundation classes include Foundational Drawing with Zufar Bikbov, Perspective in the Landscape with Peter Van Dyck, Elements of Form with Jacqueline Jones, and Color for Landscape and Still Life with Eileen Eder. 

Peter Van Dyck, pictured above working on one of his original paintings, will be teaching Perspective in the Landscape as part of the American Academy of Landscape Painting program.

“With people getting vaccinated, we anticipate renewed vigor and interest in our programs. Our extraordinary faculty want to provide our students with the comfort and instruction to create effectively,” says Executive Director Mora Rowe. 

For students with more experience, two online courses at the intermediate level provide more challenge: Design and Composition Outdoors with Morgan Samuel Price and Going Beyond Theory of Color to Application with West Fraser.

“These courses provide the opportunity to  study on a mentor level with instructors from far away. West is from South Carolina and we are so lucky to have him extend his expertise for longer durations through Zoom” notes Eileen Eder, Lyme Academy Board member and instructor in the program.

She adds, “We cannot encourage the foundations enough, especially drawing.”

The Landscape Academy continues into summer with a wide array of onsite courses, beginner to master, celebrating the out of doors and social  distancing.  

For more information on the Landscape Academy and to register for programs, visit this link or call 860-434-5232.

In-person courses will be held at the Lyme Academy campus in Old Lyme.

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon  Chandler and is located in historic Old Lyme, Conn., which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in southeastern Connecticut for more than 100 years. The Lyme Academy upholds the standard of a classical fine arts education, offering a variety of programs under the guidance of master artists, who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching. The Academy has been providing students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual expression for almost 50 years.

For more information on Lyme Academy, visit the Academy website or call 860-434-5232.

Letter From Paris: Restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral Symbolizes Hope for France, the World

Nicole Prévost Logan

April 15, 2021 was the second anniversary of the fire, which ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and also the day when France reached 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. President Emmanuel Macron of France stressed that the reconstruction of the cathedral will be the symbol his country’s rebound from the pandemic.

Before giving the latest update of the most recent restoration process, here is a recap of what has been achieved over the past two years. The scope of the work is enormous.

For a long time, whenever I used to walk around the church prior to the 2019 fire, I had noticed that there was always scaffolding somewhere on  the church. It was a reminder for visitors that the cathedral was very old and fragile.

Throughout the centuries, it had suffered many fires and disasters. But the 2019 fire was the most catastrophic of all. It was a miracle that the cathedral survived that last tragedy.

After the fire, with hardly a square inch of the stone building still visible under so much scaffolding, wooden frames, plastic wrapping, tarp covers, and other protective contraptions, it was almost no longer recognizable. It ended up looking like a sick old bird.

View of the cathedral showing some of the extensive scaffolding. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

The gables and pinnacles at the end of the north and south transepts were in danger of toppling over with the force of the wind. Workers, dangling in the air like alpinists were doing their perilous job of wrapping the carved stones. Hovering over the cathedral cranes and other heavy machinery made the church look as if it was under perfusion.

The stained-glass windows were taken down and replaced by what looked like giant French doors. The collapse of the 19th century spire over the nave had left an enormous gaping hole at the crossing of the transept. Water – regardless of whether it is rain or the power spray used by firefighters – can cause lots of damage. It penetrates the stones, destroying the mortar between them .

The fire obliterated the roof. The lead dripped, spread and left a thick layer of toxic dust everywhere. For months, no one could go inside the cathedral because of the danger from the lead dust and also from the debris falling from the broken vault. A lonely robot, directed by remote control, was able to clear up the charred remains.

The organ and the three rose windows were thankfully preserved, but they will, however, require  lengthy restoration. The 7,800 pipes of the largest organ in the word have been pulled apart and so have been all the stained-glass pieces.

The stunning South Rose window in the cathedral. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

It is particularly comforting to know that the Rose Window at the south end of the transept is intact. Given the light of the sun throughout the day, it is the Rose Window, which gives the cathedral its beautiful warm glow. Notre Dame would not be the same without the scenes of the triumphant Christ depicted through that magnificent window. In 1250, Louis IX, or Saint Louis, donated it after the end of the second crusade.

The April 15, 2019 fire left the cathedral in danger of collapse — in fact, it was a touch-and-go situation. The most urgent step was to consolidate the structure

A gothic cathedral is like a house of cards:- if one side weakens, the whole thing collapses. Because of its daring height and the fact that the outside walls are weakened by several tiers of windows, the structure is fragile.

The medieval master carpenters were real geniuses when they designed the 28 flying buttresses to reinforce the strength of the walls. An arch or beam extends from the walls of the church to a pier against the lateral forces arising from the roof and pushes the walls outwards.

Ken Follett in his 2002 book, The Pillars of the Earth, wrote a gripping story of the 12th century monks attempting to do something never done before, failing many times and starting all over again.

The earliest buttresses of Notre Dame date from the 12th century. They are massive and fairly close to the main structure. Later, during the flamboyant gothic period in the 14th century, the spans of the flying buttresses are longer and more decorated.

The first phase of the restoration — preservation and protection — lasted 15 months. President Macron appointed General Jean Louis Georgelin, former chief of staff under President Sarkozy, to supervise the work.

This photo shows the cathedral’s 14th  century flying buttresses prior to the fire. File used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The 28 damaged buttresses were reinforced by fitting custom-made wooden “centering frames” under each one of them. Each one of the buttresses had different dimensions, hence the fitting required utmost precision.

Then started the most difficult and dangerous operation: dismantling the scaffolding, which had been erected in May 2018 to repair the crumbling spire created by 19th century architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

That scaffolding had melted, creating an ugly- and mean-looking black mass of 40,000 metal pieces glued together. Rope access workers (called cordists in French) had to pick the pieces by hand one by one, hanging from ropes high in the air. Sensors were placed under that unstable mass.

At one point the alarm sounded. Everybody fled. To disentangle that mass was like playing a giant pick-up sticks game, which involves removing sticks without disturbing the rest of the pile.

Twice the restoration work on the cathedral was interrupted: first when the scare caused by the lead contamination forced all activities to stop. Workers had to wear white haz-mat suits with masks connected to supplies of filtered air. They looked as clumsy as moon walkers.

Subsequently, the lock-down caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 shut down operations for three months.

Five days before the fire, as a result of a near-miracle, the 10 ft. tall copper statues of the apostles and evangelists, climbing up the bases of the spire were air-lifted for restoration. Parisians enjoyed watching the ballet in the sky.

The statues are being restored in two workshops located near Perigueux. It takes four month to restore one statue. Pending the completion of the cathedral, all these art works will be exhibited  at the museum of architecture on Place du Trocadero.

This rooster was on top of the spire. It is now exhibited in the Museum of Archaeology. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

The rooster, pictured left, which used to sit at the top of the spire, will remain in the museum.  A replica will replace it.

Late in June 2020, chief architect Philippe Villeneuve climbed on an inspection tour of the cathedral. He was able to access the top of the vaults, which by then had been cleared of most of the debris.

Villeneuve was pleased to see that the limestone of the vault had resisted the damage caused by the fire itself as well as the water to extinguish the fire. For him, it was a milestone and he declared that the structure was now safe.

The first phase of conservation was over and one could look forward to the restoration to be launched at a later date.

In July 2020 came the decision everybody was waiting for. After months of deliberation and heated discussions between architects, historians and restoration professionals across the globe about how the future Notre Dame would look, a consensus was reached.

Based on a 300-page paper presented by Villeneuve and with the support of the public opinion, it was decided that the cathedral would be returned to its original appearance:- a spire identical to 1859 Viollet-le-Duc’s creation; a lead roof; and a wooden framework to support the roof.

A large part of the restoration work will be carried out using the methods of 13th century builders. Fortunately this type of savoir faire is kept alive in France thanks to a guild of crafted artisans, who are trained as Compagnons du Devoir.

All restoration will be done respecting the safeguards established by ICOMOS (the International Council for Monuments and Sites) founded by the Venice Charter of 1964 to protect historic monuments.

In 1991, UNESCO placed Notre Dame and the banks of the Seine within the area considered as part of the world heritage.

Within 24 hours of the fire, pledges to pay for the restoration poured in and reached close to one billion Euros. The two richest men in France raced to be the highest bidder. François Pinault pledged 100 million and refused to accept tax deductions. Bernard Arnault beat him with a sum of 200 million.

Arnault is the head of the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) luxury goods and champagne empire. The readers of this area might be interested to know that Antoine, one of the Arnault’s five children, is building a “cottage” in the Fenwick peninsula in Old Saybrook. He is married to Russian super-model Tatyana.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris prior to the fire. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

At the two year mark since the fire, it is fitting to give the most recent update on the restoration process of Notre Dame. The task concerns the strengthening of the cathedral’s vault and the preparation of the future wooden framework, which will support the roof.

The scope of this phase to secure the building should be completed by next summer. It is just gigantic.

Most of the cathedral’s interior is now encased in metal scaffolding. An umbrella-like tarp has been installed above the gaping hole, where the spire once stood, for protection against the rain.

The vaults connecting the crossing of the transept were covered with platforms to enable rope-access workers to complete their job of removing the last fallen debris. This operation is still ongoing.

Most of those debris — stone, metal, glass — have been cleared up, analyzed, and used toward the creation of a 3D model, which is a replica of the original architecture and guiding the restorers in their mission.

Wooden scaffolding is being installed to stabilize the fragile areas of the cathedral’s vault, particularly the vaults adjacent to the crossing of the transept. Stonemasons apply plaster to the gaps and the exposed ends of the stones. They reinforce the most damaged areas with fiberglass.

The next step will be the insertion “of half-hangers” (also called “centring frames”)  under the six-rib vaults in the choir, the north transept and the nave. Note that the spire  crashed toward the West, onto the nave.

Above the vault and under the roof, other major work is in progress. The reconstruction of the 12-14th century wooden framework, called “the forest” is being prepared. Made-to-measure “half-hangers” and large-size triangular frames are being wedged under the roof to support it.

One thousand of the best oak trees have already been picked out in several French forests. A CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) study of the use of timber led to surprising conclusions. Those conclusions differ from what one often reads in non-scientific publications.

The 13th century trees were much younger and smaller than often stated:  60 years, 39 ft. in height, and 12 ins. in diameter. Furthermore, the trees were not left to dry for 18 months but were used while still green, after being felled.

From the top of the cathedral, President Macron, accompanied by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot expressed huge thanks to the hundreds of people involved in the restoration: carpenters, scaffolders, rope access technicians, crane operators, master glassmakers, restorers, stonemasons, archaeologists, researchers and donors.

Macron reiterated his vision of the cathedral reopening to worship by 2024 in time for the Olympic games, while acknowledging the fact that the complete restoration will probably take several years longer.

A glimmer of hope is much needed for the weary French population. The latest curfew at 6 p.m., which applied to the whole country, should be lifted in early May, with café and restaurant terraces reopening by mid-May — that should really boost morale!

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.

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. 

 

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry Opens; Friends of Gillette Castle Plan Celebration at Hadlyme Landing

Gillette Castle can be seen in the background on a foggy morning as the 65-foot diesel-run Selden III prepares to depart the Chester ferry landing. The Chester-Hadlyme ferry, which is scheduled to re-open April 1, is one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the United States. All photos except the final one in this article are courtesy of Kelly Hunt, Cherish the Moment Photography.

HADLYME — When the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry makes its inaugural 2021 round trip across the Connecticut River at 7 a.m. Thursday, April 1, its supporters intend to make the occasion festive.

“We’ve all missed the view from the river during the long winter, so we want to hold a ‘First Ferry Celebration’ to rejoice in its return and admire the state’s recent improvements to the landing area near Gillette Castle,” said Lynn Wilkinson, who chairs the communications committee for the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park.  

“Several members of our organization plan to make that morning’s first round trip together, and we imagine others might want to join us,” she added. 

The Chester-Hadlyme ferry sits at the Chester Landing dock.

John Marshall, the ferry’s master captain, said the boat will load first on the Chester side and make its five-minute run east to the Hadlyme landing adjacent to the park, where the Friends’ group will gather. 

“Free refreshments will be served, and we can promise convivial conversations with members of the Friends,” Wilkinson said. “They’ll be eager to talk about the castle, its history and our own activities.”  

“This winter was tough on everyone,” Marshall said. “Even though we still have to be careful, the ferry opening is a celebration for everybody. It’s like turning a page. People will be able to get outside more, and I look forward to it.” 

The ferry ‘under sail’ from Chester to Hadlyme.

Access to the western landing is on Rte. 148 at Ferry Rd. in Chester. The eastern landing is on park property at the base of Seventh Sister Hill, with a road and footpath leading up to the castle, the eccentric, century-old home of the late actor William Gillette. 

The park itself is in the towns of East Haddam and Lyme along the Connecticut River, and is open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset.

“In addition to being a continuation of scenic Rte. 148, the initiation of ferry service is an important lifeline between Chester and Hadlyme,” said John “Jack” Hine, supervisor of Gillette Castle State Park. “It also gives castle visitors a really fun and ‘photo-friendly’ way to get to the castle.” 

View of the Chester Landing with the ferry in the foreground.

The Friends’ celebration is being held free of charge. Ferry passengers will be charged current rates to ride the 65-foot diesel-run Selden III, which include a walk-on charge of $2 to pedestrians and bicyclists, $5 for vehicles on weekdays and $6 for vehicles on weekends. A $3 commuter rate requires pre-purchased coupons priced in a book of 20 for $60.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the boat will begin the season with a five-vehicle capacity, an increase since last year when the boat was allowed to carry three vehicles at a time.

“That very well may change,” Marshall said. “We’ll watch what the Centers for Disease Control and the governor say and we’ll figure out if we can change that.” Under normal conditions, the boat has a nine-vehicle capacity. 

Because the boat is a public conveyance, federal law requires all persons to wear a mask when boarding, disembarking and for the duration of travel on the vessel. Face shields are not compliant under current law.

Recent improvements to the eastern landing include new benches and fencing, a newly leveled parking area and a historic display describing the river and its cleanup, undertaken by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, Hine and Marshall said. 

A view of the Hadlyme-Chester ferry on the Connecticut River taken from the ramparts of Gillette Castle. Photo courtesy of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park and DEEP.

“The landing has been renovated with upgraded materials to match the esthetics of the castle,” Wilkinson said. “It was a thoughtful and wonderfully collaborative effort that has made the landing welcoming for visitors, and now seems like a special entrance to the castle grounds.” 

The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry began service in 1769 as Warner’s Ferry, and is one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the United States. It is also Connecticut’s second-oldest ferry service, after the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry, which began in 1655. 

A steam-powered barge began to serve the ferry crossing in 1879 and was named the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry in 1882 while it was operated by the town of Chester. In 1917, the Connecticut Department of Transportation took over the service, and the current boat has been in operation since 1949. 

The ferry is expected to operate through Nov. 30. Additional ferry information may be found at this link

The Friends of Gillette Castle State Park is a nonprofit, all-volunteer group dedicated to the preservation, conservation and educational activities of the building and its grounds. For further information, visit www.gillettecastlefriends.org

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.

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.

A View from My Porch:  Is it Time for Americans to Acknowledge Climate Change?

Last April, LymeLine.com published a “Primer on Global Warming and Climate Change

Since that time, there has been a change in Presidential leadership; and, in January, the United States transitioned from a science-averse, to a science-centric Executive Branch, which may have an impact on how the Country views climate change. 

This essay is a “refresh” of the April essay, and reviews a few recent weather events, in light of the consequences predicted by climate scientists; and lays out the climate priorities proposed by the Biden Administration. My goal in this essay is logically and concisely to present the issue of climate change for the reader’s consideration. 

The Fundamentals:

Global warming is one symptom of the overarching phenomenon of climate change. The “side effects” of that warming include some significant shifts in weather patterns, and an increase in the frequency of abnormal and severe weather events. 

The Paris Carousel:

In 2015, representatives of 196 nations negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement under the auspices of the United Nation’s Convention on Climate Change. The goal, when signed in 2016, was to strengthen the international response to climate change mitigation. 

The Obama Administration pledged that, by 2025, the United States would cut carbon emissions by 26 percent below 2005 levels. He hailed our leadership in developing this Agreement as one of his major accomplishments.

His successor, Donald Trump, announced, in mid-2017, that the United States would terminate all participation in the Paris Agreement. He stated, “The climate deal was less about the climate, and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore.” 

As the first and only country formally to pull out of the Agreement, his decision stunned our allies. He also then went on to roll back or loosen many of America’s key environmental policies and regulations.

President Biden signed an Executive Order soon after his inauguration that initiated the process for the United States to reenter the Paris Agreement. In February, Secretary of State Tony Blinken called it, “A good day in our fight against the climate crisis,” and promised that the United States would, “Waste no time in engaging our partners around the world to build our global resilience.”

The Focus on Fossil Fuels:

Burning carbon-rich fossil fuels produces water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and trace gases like methane and nitrous oxide, which are collectively referred to as “greenhouse” gases, Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash.

Since the mid-20th century, human activities have had an extraordinary impact on the Earth’s climate; and scientists have concluded that burning carbon-rich fossil fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas, is the largest driver of that impact.

When they burn, fossil fuels produce water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and trace gases like methane and nitrous oxide, which are collectively referred to as “greenhouse” gases.

Their accumulation in the atmosphere is responsible for the “greenhouse effect”, which is the warming that occurs when these gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere; i.e., in a manner that’s similar to the heat-trapping glass on a greenhouse.

The most important of these gases is CO2. Although it absorbs less heat per molecule than methane or nitrous oxide, it is remarkably more abundant and remains in the atmosphere much longer. 

Data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory show that we now add about 40 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, mostly by burning fossil fuels. Scientists estimate that this increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is responsible for about two-thirds of the total energy imbalance that is causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.

In 2019, coal accounted for 40 percent of global CO2 emissions, oil for 34 percent, and natural gas, 20 percent. Note that, worldwide, China and the United States rank first and second, respectively, in annual volume of CO2 emissions. 

Carbon dioxide levels today are higher than at any point in recorded history. According to Princeton University-led research published in the journal “Nature Climate Change,” even if we immediately stop all new CO2 emissions, the carbon dioxide that is already in the Earth’s atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years. 

It’s been well said by Theodor Geisel: “How did it get so late so soon?”

Recent Unusual Weather Events:

I have selected a few events to illustrate the outcomes predicted by climate scientists.

You might argue that these examples do not really reflect climate change, but are more akin to changes observed by, and often attributed to, Mark Twain: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”

The Lefthand Canyon fire, pictured above, started on Oct. 18, 2020. The fire burned 460 acres of brush and timber approximately one mile west of the town of Ward in the area of Lefthand Canyon and Spring Gulch in Boulder County, Colorado.

Last year, five of the six largest fires in California history, and three of the four largest in Colorado history, all burned.

By the end of the year, more than four percent of California’s landmass had been consumed by fire, making 2020 the worst wildfire season in California’s modern history. The U.S. Forest Service observed that California’s mean air temperatures have risen since 1980, resulting in increased evaporation, drier brush, and, with concomitant reductions in rainfall through recent decades, had generated one of the worst “megadroughts” in California history. 

A “perfect storm” of weather events, which included a prolonged heat wave followed by a remarkable and unprecedented lightning siege of over 10,000 strikes over several days, finally precipitated the conflagration. 

Earlier this year, the Texas “deep freeze” brought the coldest temperatures in over a quarter century to the state. Most of the state was covered with snow, a freak event, and their under-prepared and poorly-designed power grid was brought down for almost 4.5 million Texans, many of whom were forced to remain in poorly insulated, freezing homes for more than a week.

At least one elected official decided to flee to Mexico.

Extreme weather events have also been on the increase in the northeastern United States. Major winter storms impacted the region in both December 2020 and February 2021; and a study recently published in the journal, “Nature Climate Change”, reported that the 27 major Northeast winter storms that occurred in the decade spanning the winter of 2008-9 through 2017-18, were three to four times the totals for each of the previous five decades. 

The Administration’s Climate Agenda:

President Joe Biden

In January, President Biden said, “We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis, we can’t wait any longer. We see it with our own eyes. We know it in our bones, and it’s time to act,” (Come on, Jack!)

He ordered a pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, setting a goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and ocean waters over the next 10 years. He also added new regulations targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and directed federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.

He reiterated his daunting climate goals. I’ve listed the highlights of his $2 trillion plan in the following:

  1. Achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. (i.e., we can still produce some emissions, as long as they are offset by activities that reduce greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere (e.g., planting new forests.)
  2. Make the electricity sector free of carbon pollution by 2035.
  3. Make all new U.S.-made buses zero-emissions by 2030.
  4. Create jobs for construction workers, scientists, and engineers to build electricity-producing sources from wind and solar. 
  5. Develop an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard for utilities and grid operators.
  6. Create a climate research agency that works to make nuclear reactors safer and more efficient.

Final Thoughts:

The issue of mitigating climate change will be very contentious, and it appears that Republicans are already digging in against the President’s plans. 

For example, Wyoming’s Senator John Barrasso (R) has said, “I’m not going to sit idly by, or my colleagues, if this administration enforces policies that threaten my State’s economy …” As a point of reference, Wyoming produced 102.1 million barrels of crude oil in 2019, up from 87.9 million barrels in 2018.”

In contrast, the President insists that a shift to clean energy will create better paying jobs, saying, “We can put millions of Americans to work modernizing our water systems, transportation, and our energy infrastructure.” 

I just don’t know, after more than a year of dealing with COVID, whether a divided United States will have the mettle for climate. The biggest hurdle I see is transportation. Americans are buying more cars and driving more miles. We’ll soon be flying more. Prior to the pandemic, air travel had been up 5 percent a year over the past few years. 

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, but there is no equivalent for air travel. Photo by Ernest Ojeh on Unsplash.

Unlike the promise of electric cars, there is no electrical alternative for long distance air travel. 

Further, in Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future, the authors observe, “Many Americans view the findings of climate science through a partisan or ideological lens. For those who reject the scientific consensus, their views are based more on emotional reactions than rational responses. It is of course also true that some people who accept the consensus are doing so for reasons that are not exclusively rational.”

I mentioned “planting new forests” above. I realize that climate mitigation efforts like planting trees may be a long-term and certainly idealistic solution, but there is also the option of slowing down or putting a halt to deforestation. We should probably do both.

In closing, my next essay considers the epic poems of folk and rock music.

In starting the transition, I wonder how Dylan would revise the lyrics of Subterranean Homesick Blues to reflect climate change. Would he still say, “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows”?

This is the opinion of Thomas D. Gotowka.

Tom Gotowka

About the author: Tom Gotowka’s entire adult career has been in healthcare. He’ will sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. He always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. He enjoys reading historic speeches and considers himself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK.

A child of AM Radio, he probably knows the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960. He hopes these experiences give readers a sense of what he believes “qualify” him to write this column.

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.

Lyme Academy Enters New Era, Names Mora Rowe as Executive Director to Launch Programs, Re-engage With Community

Mora Rowe is the new Executive Director of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

OLD LYME — Lyme Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA) in Old Lyme is on the brink of an exciting new era — and yet, at the same time, it is, in essence, a renaissance of the principles on which the Academy was founded.

After 18 months of strategic planning and a recent change in leadership on the board of trustees, the LAFA Board of  Trustees has structured a new plan reflective of the Academy’s original mission and hired both an Executive Director and an Artistic Director in anticipation of reopening with new programming in September 2021.

On Feb. 8, 2021, Mora Rowe joined Lyme Academy as Executive Director for the school. Most recently, she served as the director of economic development for the City of Auburn, Calif., and was previously the executive director and chief executive officer of Placer County Visitors Bureau in Auburn, Calif. She relocated to Essex in December 2019. 

Rowe spoke with LymeLine yesterday saying, “It’s been a wonderful, though somewhat exhausting, week. The staff has done a fantastic job [during the period since the University of New Haven withdrew from its relationship with LAFA], but now we will be working rapidly to reengage with our stakeholders and the community. We are fortunate to  have an active, passionate board that is ready to go.”

Asked how she felt about her appointment, Rowe responded, “I am honored and excited for the role,” adding that she was eagerly looking forward to, “Implementing the Board’s plan for LAFA and supporting the artistic vision of our new Artistic Director, Jordan Sokol.” 

She added, “I have many ideas for community engagement and look forward to working with the other established organizations in the region.” 

In terms of her management style, Rowe explained, “I’ve always looked at management and leadership as a servant role,” noting, “Instead of people working to serve a leader, the leader works to serve the organization.”

The Board has developed a 10-point manifesto for, “The revival of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts as it plans for its 50th anniversary in 2026,” said Michael Duffy, who was elected board chair in December. 

The plan includes adhering to the mission of founder Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, an acclaimed sculptor, who founded the school in 1976 based on her philosophy that artists needed to be educated in the fundamentals of representational and figurative art forms, a curriculum she believed was in danger of disappearing in contemporary art education.

“There is a need for Lyme Academy’s mission today, as an academy, not a college,” said Duffy.  These are the first two points of the manifesto and reflect the board’s desire to reestablish the academy model at LAFA rather than an accredited College.

A delighted Duffy, who lives in Old Lyme, commented on Rowe’s appointment, saying exclusively by email to LymeLine, “[She] is exactly the right person to lead the Lyme Academy: she is hard-working, brimming with ideas and passionate about the Academy’s mission.”

He expanded on that mission, saying, “Our vision is that by Lyme Academy’s 50th anniversary in 2026, it will be known nationally and internationally for the excellence of its teaching and that it will once again become a beloved and vibrant hub of the Old Lyme community.”

Duffy concluded, “Working with our Artistic Director, Jordan Sokol, Mora’s leadership will help to bring that vision to life.”

Laura Lee Miller of Lyme, LAFA Board of Trustees Vice Chair, continued Duffy’s positive theme in an email saying enthusiastically, “With energetic new leadership and a fully engaged Board of Trustees, Lyme Academy of Arts is prepared to relaunch with robust art programming in fall 2021 and with a renewed commitment to the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme and our cultural partners in the community.”

She added, “We want to re-activate our campus as a center of fine arts education and a community hub and we welcome ideas from our neighbors in Lyme and Old Lyme.”

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is entering an exciting new era with the appointment of Executive Director Mora Rowe and Artistic Director Jordan Sokol. File photo.

The new LAFA program will look to enroll full-time students each year in what is expected to be a two-year core program. As the exact programming evolves, the tuition will be determined.  

Other goals in the manifesto include “serving the needs of many kinds of students,” which will include young artists programs and classes open to the public, reconnecting with the Academy alumni and investing in career development for graduates of the Academy. 

Rowe added, “We are interested in ideas and activities that could transform the LAFA campus into a vibrant community hub. This might include a seasonal Farmer’s Market, concerts on the green, or an invitation to read a book while sitting in one of our colorful Adirondack chairs on campus. There are so many possibilities for our campus in town.”

Standing together in the Sculpture Studio at Lyme Academy are noted painter Jordan Sokol (right) and his wife, Amaya Gurpide, an acclaimed artist. Sokol is the new Artistic Director and Deane Keller Chair at the Academy and Gurpide will serve as the Academy’s Director of Drawing. Photo by Rick Lacey III.

Jordan Sokol, a painter, is the newly appointed Artistic Director for the school, and his wife, artist Amaya Gurpide, will serve as the director of drawing at the school. The couple have a four-year-old son and have relocated to Old Lyme from Jersey City where Sokol served as academic director of The Florence Academy of Art and also an adjunct professor at the New York Academy of Art.

Sokol said that when he was a student, the model of an academy — as opposed to a college — fulfilled the type of education for which he was looking. Having  studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, and taught there after he graduated. he noted, “I find that a lot of my students are not interested in the degree, they’re interested in learning how to paint so that they can pursue their dream and so [a degree] is not as important as the skills they acquire.”

Rowe added that the academy model reflected trends in the marketplace. “So many industries are going back to the crafts and trades, learning a set of skills,” she said. “This is foundational, and I don’t think that goes out of style. It is becoming more popular and it is more affordable.”

She concluded emphatically, “The fact that you are working with exceptional artists in their own right — I don’t think that’s a hard sell.”

About the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts: Founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in historic Old Lyme, CT, which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in Southeastern Connecticut for more than 100 years. Lyme Academy upholds the standard of a Classic Fine Arts education offering a variety of programs under the guidance of master artists, who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching. The Academy has been providing students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual expression for nearly 50 years. 

Lyme Academy of Fine Art is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut.

For more information about Lyme Academy’s past, present and future, visit lymeacademy.edu or call 860.434.5232.

Editor’s Note: This article is based in part on a press release issued by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

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

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.

 

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).

[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. The next CT DPH Daily Data Report for Connecticut will be issued in the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 24.

New PARJE Organization Plans to Confront Racial Injustice with Public Art


AREAWIDE —
 A new group has been formed with a mission of employing public art to spark conversation and stimulate education on what it means to be engaged in antiracism

Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) is a broad-based, interracial, non-partisan, non-sectarian group consisting of volunteers from various communities around the shoreline region. These communities include Old Lyme, Lyme, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Essex, Deep River, Norwich and New  London.

Building partnerships with surrounding communities is an additional focus of the group’s stated mission.

The origins of the group can be traced back to the tragic killing of George Floyd last May. Shortly after that, when the nation was still reeling from the tragedy, Rev. David Good, Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational  Church of Old Lyme and Rev. Jack Madry of the Madry Temple in New London started to discuss ways to bring communities together to address the scourge of racial injustice.

Commenting on the use of public art to help achieve this goal, Rev. David Good explains, “Public art will not solve systemic racial injustice, but it would be a public affirmation that, on the one hand, this is the country we are, and, on the other, this is the country we are endeavoring to become.”

Public Art for Racial Justice Education is working with educators, museums, civic groups, faith communities, art galleries, and concerned citizens to concentrate on providing opportunities for community engagement. Numerous virtual meetings have been held bringing together a diverse group of artists, activists, administrators and more, who share a common goal and are systematically working through a complex series of steps to make it a reality.

The group believes very strongly in the ability of public art to educate about the history of Black,  Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). There will be a high priority on selecting BIPOC artists while also working side-by-side with others, trained and untrained, and those of all generations, races and ethnicities.

PARJE is committed  to commissioning artists to create public art appropriate for each site and locality selected, beginning with Old Lyme and New London.

Thanks to the fiscal sponsorship provided by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and a groundswell of support from many individuals and groups, PARJE is advancing its goal of bringing together the sometimes disparate communities of Old Lyme and New London with art. The intent is to provide conversation and education on what it means to be engaged in antiracism.

Short-term plans include renovating underused public spaces with murals. Two artists are currently working to create a diptych (a two-panel painting intended to function as a traveling exhibition), which is slated for completion in May and will be used in schools, or any public space, to tell the controversial story of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama.

The diptych project also intends to illustrate the possible future of the bridge supporting efforts currently underway to rename it after civil rights activist, John Lewis, who would have been 81 this February.

PARJE has begun working with elected officials from both Old Lyme and New London to consider public programs  that would enhance the function of the public art. This involves presenting the full history of this area by exploring the connections to racial injustice throughout its own local past.

New London City Councilman Curtis  Goodwin, an advisor to the Public Art for Racial Justice Education group, comments, “As people around the world demand the  dismantling of racist systems, this project is timely and colorful. Art remains an underutilized and underfunded vehicle that can spur change and build future leaders needed in the world.”

He adds, “I am encouraged by witnessing two  towns of contrasting makeups take an intentional approach to use art to join the call for racial justice.”

From the displacement of indigenous communities to the use of slave labor in the whaling industry, PARJE leaders point out that the the local region, along with many others across the nation, has been actively complicit in – and not passively just home to – various racial injustices.

Public Art for Racial Justice Education aims to provide opportunities to examine or reexamine some of these events. As the US struggles to confront systemic racism, PARJE will focus on engaging artists from all disciplines to create public art aimed at addressing not only contemporary issues but also their origins.

The decision to prioritize hyperlocal examples of racial injustice is a considered decision by PARJE in the hope it will encourage communities to take ownership of their involvement in some of these incidents and also celebrate their locally-based, lesser-known BIPOC historical figures.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Public Art for Racial Justice Education, visit their website follow PARJE on Facebook at Facebook.com/Public Art for Racial Justice Education and Instagram @racialjusticeart. To inquire about joining PARJE, email racialjusticeart@gmail.com.

This article is based on a press release from PARJE.

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.

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.