Norman Ives, Painter and Designer, Opens at Lyman Allyn in New London

NEW LONDON — Letterforms and type were a lifelong fascination for Norman Ives, an American artist, designer, teacher and publisher whose work traversed the boundaries between mid-century-modern abstract painting and graphic design. His work — a stunning range of paintings, collages, prints, posters, logos, murals and bas-reliefs — can be seen in the “Norman Ives: Constructions & Reconstructions” show at the Lyman Allyn Museum from Jan. 29 through April 24.  Tanya Pohrt, a curator at the museum, told CT Examiner that Ives often created a letterform pattern and then carried it through in a number of pieces, changing the colors, scale

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Martha Marx Announces Third Run for State Senate, Vies for Formica’s Seat

NEW LONDON — Democrat Martha Marx announced Thursday night that she will run for state senator in the 20th district, a seat long held by Republican Sen. Paul Formica who is not running for reelection.  Marx ran against Formica in 2018 and 2020, narrowly losing the elections by 1,581 and 1,175 votes respectively. She said she had no hesitation about starting a new campaign after she heard that Formica was stepping down. “It took me about 30 seconds to decide I was running,” she told CT Examiner by phone Thursday evening.  She said she will blaze her own path as a

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State Lawmakers Signal Common Ground on Proposals to Tackle Fentanyl Overdoses

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HARTFORD — Senator GOP Leader Kevin Kelly, and Deputy Leader Paul Formica, called a press conference on Thursday to announce a three-part proposal intended to target fentanyl overdoses. The proposal includes increased law enforcement penalties for selling fentanyl, allowing access to Narcan in schools, and spending a portion of an anticipated $300 million settlement with pharmaceutical companies to create a public awareness campaign. Speaking at the Capitol at noon on Thursday, Kelly said the opioid epidemic is a public health and safety crisis in Connecticut and that illicit manufactured fentanyl has caused the crisis to explode even further.  “Fentanyl is a

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Mrs. London’s Bakery to Open Westport Location in February

WESTPORT — Max London, whose parents started the well-regarded Mrs. London’s Bakery in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in the late 1970s, has announced plans to open a second location of the bakery at 44 Church Lane in Westport. “We’re targeting early February, hopefully for Valentine’s Day,” London told CT Examiner by phone on Monday.  London, who grew up in his parents’ bakery, said it has always been a dream to expand the Mrs. London’s name and brand.  “It’s my family’s name and we’re proud of that and proud of the fact that we can still put out a great product, and

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Lamont Talks High-speed Rail with Amtrak Officials, No Word on Bypass Plans

NEW HAVEN — Investment in high-speed rail — potentially with federal funding — was the focus of discussion today in a meeting between state and Amtrak officials.  “Gov. Ned Lamont, Connecticut Transportation Commission Joseph Giulietti, Amtrak president and CEO Stephen Gardner, and Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia discussed the need to accelerate investment in high-speed rail, leveraging the new federal funds provided by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act,” said Kafi Rouse, chief communications officer for the state Department of Transportation, in a statement. The infrastructure law authorized $30 billion in competitive grants that could be used to improve real

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Afghan Family, U.S. Army Driver, Find Safety and New Home in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — The Popal family readied their house for guests on Monday night to the happy noises of children playing and the aromas of chicken, meatballs and kabuli pulao — a rice dish garnished with carrots and raisins. In the dining room, tablecloths were spread across the center of a rug. Visitors were invited to sit on floor cushions while husband and wife Hayatullah and Bibi Nebiah Popal, both in their late 20s, set out the feast. “Have some food,” said Hayatullah, as he handed plates piled high for each guest.  From the kitchen he brought more food — a

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Private Road Nixes Open Space Deal in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — “It simply got down to the point where the restrictions on the road and the properties were obstacles that we could not overcome,” said Evan Griswold, co-chair of the Open Space Commission, on Tuesday, about the end of a deal to purchase two parcels of the Ames property for town open space.  Last year the commission signed a $400,000 contract with owner Steven Ames for two lots on Whippoorwill Road. The properties, totaling 35 acres, would have connected with the town’s 195-acre Ames Open Space and provided space for a parking area and access points to the

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Ledyard Opts for Hosted Short Term Rentals with Stronger Regulations

LEDYARD — After extensive discussion at a public hearing, the Zoning Commission unanimously approved a zoning regulation for short term rentals that will require the owner of the building to live on the premises, a practice known as hosting. “We didn’t think the ordinance was terrible, it just didn’t have the teeth necessary in zoning,” said Juliet Hodge, town planner at the commission’s Jan. 13 meeting.  She said the new zoning regulation is more specific than the ordinance and will give the town opportunities to stop nuisance short term rentals using faster methods than taking legal action.  “You can always

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Soft Opening on Saturday for Long River Local in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — On Friday afternoon, Chef Shelley DeProto had been working for 18 hours straight, getting ready for the soft opening of Long River Local, a retail food shop at 96 Halls Road located in the little yellow house that was a plant nursery a decade ago.  “We’ll be open from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday,” DeProto said, surveying the refrigerators she had been filling with grab-and-go foods. “We have the best chicken soup — what’s included is you can choose matzo balls, rice or egg noodles.” Coffee, baked goods, retail foods like cheeses and pasta, and prepared

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UConn Agreement in Doubt as Officials Plan New Dorm and Dining Hall

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MANSFIELD — A loophole in a 40-page agreement may allow the University of Connecticut to demolish one of the last architectural links to the college’s beginnings as the first state-supported agricultural school in the United States. The agreement, which was signed in 2017 after a lengthy fight that drew support from preservationists across the state, committed the university to maintaining two of nine faculty houses dating to between 1912 and 1920 that were part of a campus plan by noted landscape architect Charles Lowrie.  “We came to the table and signed it in good faith that it was an agreement.

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Old Lyme Property Owner Asks to Reconfigure Stalled Storage Unit Project

OLD LYME — Eighteen months after receiving approval to build four storage buildings at 224 Shore Road that included an office and maintenance shop, Mar Holdings, LLC has asked to change the size of the project to two larger buildings on a slightly smaller footprint, citing increased costs of materials due to the pandemic.  At the Zoning Commission public hearing on the project Monday night, neighbors raised concerns about the hours of operation, permitted uses, environmental damage, lighting and noise — echoing their concerns from the original permit approval on July 13, 2020.  Robert Doane, an engineer who represented Mar Holdings,

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Old Lyme Property, Once Slated for Affordable Housing, Sold to ‘Overseas’ Buyer

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OLD LYME — A 12.3 acre parcel at 16 Neck Road, which was the subject a contentious application in 2018 to build 37 units of affordable housing, has been sold to an unknown buyer for $1,050,000. The buyer is a newly-formed LLC, 16 Riverview Property Corp., according to town clerk records, with an address matching Westport-based Keystone Capital Corporation, whose president and CEO Frank Nocito told CT Examiner that he had bought the property on behalf of an “overseas” group. He did not provide further information.  “I had very little to do with it. I just happened to be the

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Cate Hewitt Looks to the New Year.

2021 was a year of trying to return to pre-pandemic times — back when masks were unnecessary, social distancing was an unknown term, and no one questioned whether it was safe to gather with family at the holidays.  It became a year of developing a “risk budget” to assess how safe an event or place will be because, as a friend recently said, “We cannot predict the future arcs of Covid surges, and we cannot control the caution levels of other people.” I’ve been cautious since the pandemic began. I wore a mask indoors at town meetings and the grocery

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As East Lyme Changes Course on Sewers, Old Lyme Faces Further Delays

OLD LYME — The Town of East Lyme has asked the Town of Old Lyme for a separate intermunicipal agreement for the upcoming installation of sewers in Soundview and the neighboring chartered beaches in Old Lyme — a significant reversal from prior understandings that has left Old Lyme officials with a number of unanswered questions. In the original agreement Old Lyme was to join the town’s three chartered beach associations — Miami Beach, Old Colony Beach and Old Lyme Shores — in an intermunicipal agreement with East Lyme to pump up to 170,000 gallons of sewage per day through East

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After 26 Years, Owners of Christiansen Hardware to Retire, Business Carries On

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OLD LYME — After more than a quarter of a century, there will be new owners behind the counter at Christiansen Hardware and the store will have a new name as well. “The most important thing to us is handing this business over to somebody we think is going to take good care of it, so it will be in good hands. It wasn’t about whether or not we were going to sell it, it was who are we going to sell it to,” said Bill Christiansen, who has owned and operated the store with his wife, Nancy Christiansen, for

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Fosnot Gallery Highlights 16 Critics’ Picks

NEW LONDON — For contemporary art lovers, discovery of emerging artists is a great and serious pleasure. That’s why it’s worth a look at a show of 16 artists deemed important to collect by a number of art critics and curators: The second annual “Art for Your Collection” at the Catherine Fosnot Gallery and Art Center at 165 State Street running through Jan. 28.  “We ask [critics], ‘Who’s on your radar? Who do you think are important artists right now and that you’d say are important artists to keep your eye on — and who you think might be good

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Phone App Debuts Free Door-to-Door Transit For Stops in New London

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NEW LONDON — The new NL SmartRide app worked well on Friday afternoon when CT Examiner booked a ride from Bank St. to the Shain Library at Connecticut College. It took about 5 minutes for the minibus to show up after the ride was confirmed and about 10 minutes to reach the destination.   As an experiment, Mayor Mike Passero booked a ride from City Hall to the Shain Library at the same time as CT Examiner. The idea was to see who would get to the library first and whether the app’s algorithm would instruct a driver to pick up parties

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Quick Deadlines for Holiday Baked Goods, Order Soon

Bakeries across Connecticut are taking orders for holiday pastries and cakes to celebrate the season – but the deadlines are fast approaching. CT Examiner talked with a number of bakeries about what’s popular this year and when customers need to preorder for pickup before Christmas.  Dagmar’s Desserts www.dagmarsdesserts.com (860) 661-4661 / 75 Main St., Old Saybrook Accepting orders through Friday, Dec. 17 Stollen is the specialty of Dagmar’s, which is available at the bakery and online. She offers stollen in quark, marzipan, cranberry walnut varieties available in medium and large or family sizes.  “Stollen is wildly popular. Apple strudel is

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After Last Week’s Stalemate, Groton Council Votes Melendez as Mayor

GROTON — Groton Town Council members unanimously elected Juan Melendez Jr. as mayor in a single round of voting on Tuesday night.  After a stalemate at their first meeting as a new council last week, two councilors whose names were previously in play for mayor— Aundré Bumgardner and John “Scott” Westervelt — took their names out of the running, narrowing the field to Portia Bordelon, Rachael Franco and Melendez.  Portia Bordelon, who was the highest vote-getter in November’s election — after petitioning to have her name included on the Democratic primary ballot when her party did not include her name on

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Carney Wins National Award for Bipartisan Leadership

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Devin Carney, R-Old Lyme, was one of two state representatives to receive a national 2021 Rising Star award on Friday from the Millennial Action Project, which works to help young leaders bridge the partisan divide.  “We’re not going to agree on everything — let’s just say that upfront — we’re not going to agree on everything. And that’s okay. But we all know these issues are out there, and we just have to work together to try to achieve [solutions to] the problems facing us,” said Carney said in his acceptance speech.  Arkansas State Rep. Jamie Scott,

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VFW Events Honor Members’ Service and Local Support of Veterans

OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Post 1467 recently celebrated with two annual events that included recognition of local fundraising efforts for veterans and awards for members’ community service.  At the Dinner Dance, held on October 23 at the Christ the King Church, Post Commander David Griswold served as master of ceremonies. After introducing the candidates in the local election, Griswold thanked the town for its generosity and said the post had provided more than $20,000 during the pandemic in help for local veterans. Over the past eight years, the post has distributed more than $75,000 to help veterans in need

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Small Works are Grand Tradition at Annual Postcard Show

CHESTER — We send them from faraway places, buy them at museums, tape them to our refrigerators— postcards are portals to adventure and memory, and an accessible way to own art. Artist Sol LeWitt used to send postcards to Sosse and Jack Baker, former owners of the Chester Gallery where LeWitt showed his work.  “He would send them postcards from his travels and they framed some of them that he made himself. That’s what gave Jack and Sosse the idea to host a show of art the size of postcards,” said Nancy Pinney, who has owned the Chester Gallery since 2018. 

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Committee Tries New Approach to Zoning Regs on Halls Road

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvements Committee has opted for a new approach to redevelopment in the town’s commercial district that would preserve current commercial zoning and add the option of residential units after the committee’s initial application was withdrawn in the face of significant criticism in early November. The revised approach would use an overlay zone in place of creating a village district. “What an overlay zone does is it keeps that current C30 zone in place. What’s there now is allowed and can stay there — it’s not grandfathered in — no rights are removed. It gets

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Groton Town Council Splits on Choice of Mayor, Delays Decision Until Dec. 14

GROTON — The newly sworn in Groton Town Council was unable to reach a majority decision after eight rounds of voting for the position of mayor on Tuesday night, splitting instead into three factions that would not budge or compromise. Without a reaching a decision, the council could not proceed with other business on the agenda. To be elected, the position requires an affirmative vote from five of the nine council members. The role is tasked with running the meetings, serving as the ceremonial head of the town and other duties.  As the process began, council members nominated Portia Bordelon,

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Town Takes Responsibility, but no Action, on Flooding Fix For Old Lyme’s Private Beaches

OLD LYME — For years the Swan Brook outlet has clogged, causing flooding in the surrounding private communities of Miami Beach and Hawk’s Nest. The town installed the two 36-inch drainage pipes and the outlet in the 1940s and has maintained the drainage system over the years. According to Town Attorney Jack Collins, that means the town’s taxpayers are responsible for fixing the problem, which has grown significantly worse with the deterioration of an 80-year-old wooden crib holding the pipes. At a meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Monday afternoon, First Selectmen Tim Griswold sketched out possible solutions. “There

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Lilywork Artisan Tile Studio Opens in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — “In King Solomon’s temple, lilywork was the carved lilies on the top of columns … it was decorative ornamentation way, way up high in the temple … and they say that only God could see it,” explained Esther Halferty, co-owner of Lilywork Artisan Tile, who was standing in the studio’s partially-finished space at 56 Lyme St. on Tuesday morning.  “[The name] has a nice flow to it and also we have a lot of behind the scenes work that nobody sees the details [of] and the hours of labor — but it’s what we do and we’re

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Nickerson Ready to Step Down, Reflects on East Lyme’s Past and Future

EAST LYME — Dressed in a casual zip-neck pullover and jeans, First Selectman Mark Nickerson sat at the conference table in the town hall office he’s occupied for seven years, talking with CT Examiner about what’s next after he steps down in December.  “When I got here I had the biggest shoes to fill the history of our town because I was coming in with Paul Formica as my predecessor — what an amazing leader. What amazing work he and especially others have done prior. It’s great to list the things we accomplished, but we already had a vibrant town.” Nickerson,

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Halls Road Committee Meets to Debate Next Steps, Erred on Zoning Role

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OLD LYME —  The Halls Road Improvements Committee regrouped on Thursday night for the first time since its draft zoning changes to the town’s central business district were withdrawn hours before a Nov. 8 hearing. The proposed zoning changes have been the subject of contentious debate across social media and local newspapers, with advocates for and against the initial proposal alleging variously incompetence, conflict of interest, a lack of transparency, and partisan politics. From the start, Edie Twining, chair of the committee, tried to focus members on steps to advance the project, rather than on rehashing that contentious debate or

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Public Asks for Details on Community Center, 2nd Forum Tonight in New London

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NEW LONDON — Residents raised a variety of questions and concerns about conceptual plans for a 62,000-square-foot, $30 million community recreation center slated for the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, at the first of two public forums Tuesday night.  The forum was held at the Multi-Magnet Secondary School lecture hall at New London High School. A second public forum will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in the same location.  The conversation about building a rec center is decades long, but in February the City Council moved forward on a plan that includes $22 million in construction costs and $8 million in

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‘It’s Our Turn’ for a Senior Center Expansion, says Lyme-Old Lyme Chair

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OLD LYME — Point One Architects presented two conceptual design options for enlarging the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee on Wednesday that ranged in cost from $3.4 to $3.8 million. Architects Rick Staub and Greg Nucci, who are partners at Point One, said both design options include four key spaces: a large multipurpose room, which the building already has, a medium-sized multipurpose room, a small multipurpose room and an enclosed sunroom. Many of the rooms would be equipped with accordion doors for flexibility in the use of the spaces. “So you basically have four large rooms that can work in

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