Brian Keith Stephens Opens “Almost True Tales,” at the Lyman Allyn

NEW LONDON — “Animals in fables are kind of a bridge to humans. Symbolically, the animals take on human characteristics, that’s what I was trying to get at,” said painter Brian Keith Stephens, whose show, “Almost True Tales” at the Lyman Allyn Museum incorporates animals in mythology, folklore and culture.  Cheetahs, elephants, lions, wolves, buffalo, deer, foxes, sheep, hares, whales, flamingoes, swans, tortoises, frogs, and many more — Stephens, 47, is known for his large-scale paintings of creatures in nature. In this show of about 18 works, he ties his fascination with the wild kingdom to fables that he said

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New London Wins 10-Year Commitment For Northeast Offshore Deal on State Pier

HARTFORD — State officials announced today the signing of a Host City Agreement between New London and a joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource that includes a 10-year commitment paying the city an average of at least $1 million each year during offshore wind operations at State Pier. “Today’s agreement makes Connecticut’s role as a leader in the offshore wind industry official, with New London now poised to become the premier commercial east coast hub for this sector and our state set to become a leader in the transition to renewable energy and the fight against climate change,” Gov. Ned Lamont

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Cottage Road Housing Development in Madison to Break Ground in 2022

MADISON — The 1808 home of Henry Josiah Meigs at 131 Cottage Road is slated to become part of Wellington at Madison, a 31-unit housing complex with 24 affordable and 7 market rate units situated on 2.6 acres.  The project is a collaboration between HOPE Partnership, a Connecticut nonprofit that develops affordable housing, and the Caleb Group, a nonprofit that has created affordable housing communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.  “The way it’s designed is smaller buildings that really actually do give you that community and village kind of feel to it. It isn’t a five-story building. It

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Neighboring Businesses Raise Sharp Questions About Proposed Gas Station on Halls Road

OLD LYME — Two longtime business owners on Halls Road are concerned about the potential consequences of a proposed Big Y Express gas station and convenience store slated for connecting properties at 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road. The application for the project is on the agenda of tonight’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission special meeting at 5:30 via Webex. The commission will decide whether or not the project will have significant impact on the wetlands and vernal pool on the properties. If the commission decides the project will have significant impact then a public hearing is required no

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Wednesday Webinar on Benefits of Foreign Trade Zone for New London County Businesses

New London’s Foreign Trade Zone #208, which now covers all of New London County, will hold an introductory webinar on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. covering benefits and features of the foreign trade zone program.  Dan Carstens, a trade and logistics specialist accredited by the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones will lead the webinar, which is geared toward leaders in business, real estate, municipalities and economic development.  This follows the announcement on Dec. 20, that the region had received federal approval as an Alternative Site Framework, allowing the foreign-trade zone to include the entire county. This new designation means

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Stonington Fellow Kirstin Valdez Quade to Read from Her Novel ‘The Five Wounds’

STONINGTON — Kirstin Valdez Quade wasn’t planning to write a novel but a few characters from her short stories wouldn’t let her go.  One of her short stories, “The Five Wounds,” was published in the New Yorker in 2009 and was included in her collection of short stories, “Night at the Fiestas,” in 2014. “My editor emailed me and asked if I’d ever considered turning [the story] into a novel and my immediate thought was absolutely not and I think I wrote something back saying thank you so much for the idea but no, I’m working on short stories,” she

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Town Officials Debate Sidewalk Alternatives for Ferry Road

OLD LYME — At their Thursday meeting, members of the town’s Tree Commission considered an alternative plan for Ferry Road sidewalks that would save about 10 trees slated for removal by moving the sidewalk to the opposite side of the road.  First Selectman Tim Griswold, who attended the commission meeting, compared the south side of Ferry Road where a privet hedge, a vinyl fence and potentially two trees would need to be removed, to the north side of the street where 10 of 13 trees would need to be taken down to accommodate the sidewalk replacement project.  “If we relocated

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Calling Ethics Commission ‘Totally Dysfunctional,’ Chair Proposes New Rules

OLD LYME — The new chair of the town’s Ethics Commission, Jane Cable, has requested increased funding to hire independent legal counsel to rewrite the ethics code for the town.  Cable, who was appointed to the commission and became chair on Dec. 2, 2020, asked the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday for an increase in the commission budget from $1,900 to $7,500 to cover legal costs.  “The Ethics Commission when I joined was totally dysfunctional because the code doesn’t give directions for a well-functioning Ethics Commission. It needs more than minor revisions,” said Cable. “It also needs oversight by the

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Halls Road Committee Debates Scope, Sewers and a Possible New Gas Station

OLD LYME — A debate arose during the Halls Road Improvements Committee meeting on Feb. 11 about whether wastewater systems are within the scope of the Halls Road master plan, a document that BSC Group is currently working on.  Also of importance was the committee’s awareness of a proposed gas station and convenience store slated for two unbuilt parcels, one at 99 Halls Road —  a project that could be approved before the master plan is completed.  At the last two Halls Road Improvement Committee meetings, engineers from BSC Group fielded questions about whether private developers could install traditional or

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New Ownership, Plans for a Farmstand, at Provider Farm

SALEM — Now in her 10th year at Provider Farm, assistant manager Hannah Tripp will take over as owner and operator on March 1 when longtime farmers Max and Kerry Taylor move to Brookfield Farm in Amherst, Mass.  “I actually started here as a volunteer in their very first season when I was 19 and they hired me pretty quickly because they really needed help and I just fell in love with it. I loved everything about how challenging it was and being outside and getting to grow amazing food for people in my community,” said Tripp, who grew up

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Legislators Offer Bills Aimed Connecticut Port Authority

HARTFORD — Financial transparency, board representation and a full accounting of all State Pier contracts and negotiations are among the demands of one bill taking a hard look at Connecticut Port Authority. The bill includes an “or else” if these tasks cannot be accomplished by asking the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation to explain how to return the duties of the authority to their original home at the department. “I signed on to that bill as a sort of a shot across the bow that the state really needs to look at this closely, I don’t think that

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Sidewalk Project on Ferry Road in Old Lyme to Take Down Adjacent Trees

OLD LYME — Twelve trees along Ferry Road from Lyme St. to Rt. 156 have been tagged for potential removal — with some to be replaced — to accommodate the town’s construction of new, wider sidewalks. The root systems of a number of Norway Maples and Zelcovas, as well as other tree species, have caused portions of the sidewalk to buckle over time, which has created a safety hazard according to First Selectman Tim Griswold. At three feet in width, the sidewalk also does not meet the four-foot standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On a site walk set

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Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Hires Leadership, Plans to Welcome New Class in Fall

OLD LYME — After nearly two years of uncertainty, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has structured a new plan reflective of the founder’s mission and hired personnel in anticipation of reopening with as many as 20 full-time students in September.  “We thought, what an opportunity this could be to actually help contribute whatever we can to bring back what Elizabeth Gordon Chandler’s original mission for the school was,” said Jordan Sokol, a painter, and the new artistic director for the school, whose first day was Monday. His wife, artist Amaya Gurpide, will serve as the director of drawing at

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Mystic Seaport Announces Project on Slavery, and the Displacement of Native Nations

MYSTIC — “From where I sit, unless we begin to tell these stories about who and what we are as a nation, then how do we confront the present if we do not fully grapple with the past,” said Anthony Bogues, director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University.  The center has begun a collaborative project with Mystic Seaport Museum and Williams College on “Reimagining New England Histories: Historical Injustice, Sovereignty and Freedom,” which will examine the connections between the dispossession of Native American land, the slavery and subjugation of African Americans and indigenous

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New London Library Aims at Best for Postwar Art

NEW LONDON — Off the atrium of Harris Place is a room dominated by a long, low wooden table set with reading lamps. A few shelves of art books and one or two display cases containing art catalogues and ephemera dot the periphery. On the back wall, a large painting, “Calagrande” by Michael Goldberg, sets the mood.  The reading room, at 165 State St., serves as an unassuming portal to the Visual Art Library, a collection of more than 70,000 contemporary art books, catalogues, magazines and media assembled by George Waterman III, a contemporary art collector who became fascinated with

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Outdoor Dining Proposed for Dock & Dine Property by Local Restauranteurs

OLD SAYBROOK — Two restauranteurs are proposing to open a seasonal outdoor restaurant using towable food trailers at the former Dock & Dine property at 145 College St near the mouth of the Connecticut River. “Essentially they’re like trailers, like a food truck hall, but the new ones are very sleek looking they’re very modernized,” said Colt Taylor, chef of The Essex and Los Charros Cantina in Essex, who is working on the project with Jon Kodama, owner of the property since 1987 and managing partner of JTK Management Restaurants, the group that owns the former Dock & Dine as

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Lawmaker Proposes Savings Accounts for First-time Homebuyers

HARTFORD — State Rep. Tom Delnicki, R-South Windsor, has proposed a bill to establish a first-time homebuyers savings account program geared toward graduates of Connecticut universities and possibly trade schools, with the goal of attracting and keeping young working people in the state.   “We all know if you become a homebuyer or a condo buyer, you’re more apt to stay in that state, and we keep losing a lot of good folks that are highly educated, that move out of Connecticut. My thought process is let’s do something to try to keep them here. Basically, this will give them a

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Amtrak Adds Clearance to Connecticut River Bridge in Response to Local Concerns

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OLD LYME — In response to concerns from the maritime community concerning vertical waterway clearance, Amtrak has redesigned a portion of a new bridge that will replace the 1907 bascule bridge that extends across the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.  The vertical clearance underneath the existing bridge is about 17.75 between spans and close to 18 feet under the movable span, according to an email from Craig Rolwood, a rail practice project manager with Hardesty & Hanover LLC, which is a consultant to Amtrak. The new bridge, an $400 million project expected to be completed in 2030,

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Big Y Plans Convenience Mart and Gas Station on Halls Road, Sparks Committee Discussion

OLD LYME — At its Thursday night meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee discussed potential plans for a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store on Halls road, sparking a discussion regarding zoning and an effort to walk back committee comments. Edie Twining, committee chair, who shared the information with the committee, said the Big Y company was interested in purchasing 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road (Route 156), both owned by Essex Savings Bank, which is adjacent to the properties.  The two connecting parcels would provide an “easy-in easy-out” traffic flow from Halls Road to Route 156

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Hearing on Thursday for Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development

OLD LYME — The Planning Commission will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. to consider the adoption of the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development.  To join the meeting, click on the webex link on the meeting agenda. The meeting access code is 179 105 9119 and the password is YsbhfM47Z2A. To join by phone, dial 408-418-9388 and use access code 173 8212293. By law, the town must revise the plan every 10 years and last did so in 2010. The deadline for Old Lyme to complete its revision was December but the state

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Selectmen to Consider Compromise for Public Access to Tantummaheag Landing

OLD LYME — Vehicular access and parking  — with new regulations and signage ––  will continue to be available at the historic town-owned Tantummaheag Landing if the Board of Selectmen approves recommendations from the Harbor Management Commission.  “There is really no solution that I can see that will make everyone 100 percent happy, but I think this is as close to that as I can see us developing,” said Steven Ross, vice chair of the Harbor Management Commission, at Tuesday night’s meeting.  In December, the adjacent property owners of 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road, George Frampton and Carla D’Arista, blocked

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Digital Tool Offers Public a Chance to Comment on Regional Development

RiverCOG has introduced a digital mapping tool that the public can use to provide input to the draft of the Regional Plan of Conservation and Development until Jan. 29.  “This map is just a tool for you and [it will] help us consolidate your thoughts and orient them geographically,” explained Sam Gold, executive director of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, known as RiverCOG, to about 35 people who attended the “Regional Workshop: Future Land Use Map, part 2” virtual meeting Monday night.  The interactive map, which includes a tutorial, allows the viewer to drop a pin in

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Stonington’s James Merrill House Hosts Dialogue on James Baldwin

STONINGTON — “The whole question of who Baldwin was writing for and about, and who can write for and about him, is an ongoing one,” Nicholas Boggs said. “He lived such a profoundly interracial life … so writing and thinking about Baldwin is a good space to have a dialogue for everyone, always, about race.”  Boggs, the December-January writer-in-residence at James Merrill House, is at work on a biography of Baldwin (1924-1987), the African American civil rights activist, novelist, essayist, and playwright.  “I was led to this project by the experience of recovering and co-editing a new edition of his

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Town Plan Outlines Changes for Housing, Retail, and Coastal Properties in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — A draft of the town’s 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development is scheduled for a public hearing and potential approval by the town’s Planning Commission on Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. via Webex.  The state requires that towns review and update their plans at least once every decade, and the current plan dates to 2010. The draft includes substantive changes to the town’s approach to raising structures along the shoreline, to the town’s housing and zoning, and to the town’s long-standing preference for local shoppers along the commercial district on Halls Road. The plan also reiterates a

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Trade Zone Expanded to Include New London County

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NEW LONDON — The City of New London has received approval to expand its Foreign-Trade Zone to include all of New London County. Foreign-Trade Zone #208, established in 1981 and comprising 138 acres around State Pier in New London, will expand as an Alternative Site Framework, which allows entire counties to be part of the service area under the jurisdiction of the foreign-trade zone.  The new framework will allow the 21 towns and two tribal nations — the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe — to join the zone. The city submitted its application in July and the Foreign-Trade

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Martin asks ‘Who are You?’ in New Britain Retrospective

NEW BRITAIN — “We’ve all had experience with drawing as kids with pencils and pens and markers and that was my first introduction to the line,” said artist Shantell Martin. “I think the difference with myself is that I never stopped that introduction. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity of the line.” Martin, 40, has focused on the line and its possibilities for more than 20 years, creating a body of work that spans from small drawings to wall-size murals, as well as video performances and commercial collaborations with high-end brands.  Her first career retrospective is on display at the New

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Journalism During a Pandemic

Questions and conversations are central to my job as a journalist. When I talk with community leaders, residents and business owners, I learn about key issues and underlying concerns. I read documents, articles, emails, municipal reports and spreadsheets. I also read body language, facial expressions and inflection. A question can arise from what is unsaid, unnoticed or out of the spotlight. Silence can serve as information as fully as words.  At CT Examiner, our motto is “Big Questions in Small Places.” Now, 10 months into the pandemic, I am asking a slightly different big question: How is the pandemic changing

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A Victory for Plum Island Advocates in latest COVID Relief Bill

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After 12 years, Plum Island is off the auction block because of a provision in the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that passed on Monday.  It’s been 12 years of fighting to prevent the sale of the island, said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, during a public zoom call that included members of Preserve Plum Island Coalition, an alliance of more than 116 organizations  “We fought for years to prevent the sale to a developer. We tried locating it, at first, with the National Park Service then with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Schumer said.  Since 1954, the 840-acre

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New Homeowner Limits Access to a 319-year-old Public Landing and Sparks Row

OLD LYME — Parking and a historic right of way to a public landing on the Connecticut River dating to 1701 were blocked by an nearby landowner placing boulders to limit access in November. The town-owned landing, parking area and right of way are wedged between two parcels of land — 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road — that were purchased by George Frampton and Carla D’Arista in September. “The issue is not about public access. We love people walking down the lane. We want to maintain public access. But the issue is about the use and parking of vehicles,” said

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David Griswold Writes a Life Story…

OLD LYME — In the 50s and 60s, David H. W. Griswold grew up assuming his life would follow a specific path laid out by generations of his aristocratic family.  “For Griswolds, you went to prep school, and most of them went to Choate, some went to Loomis and Taft. But there was no question where you went to college — you went to Yale, everybody went to Yale, that was that was never discussed,” said Griswold, 70. “You get a good job that paid well, Money was never discussed but it was assumed. And you live in the right

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