Old Lyme Officials Seek to Maximize Sidewalk Grant for Sound View

OLD LYME — Last year, the town received a $400,000 Community Connectivity grant for installing sidewalks, signage, and “beautification” along the northern “Gateway” portion of Hartford Avenue in the Sound View neighborhood of Old Lyme and a nearby section of Shore Road — the maximum amount available from the program — and town officials are deciding what additional steps and town funding will be necessary to take full advantage of the state grant. The Community Connectivity Grant Committee met on Aug. 12 to discuss the design and engineering Request for Proposal, which yielded proposals from five engineering firms. On Monday,

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Chad Floyd, Centerbrook Architects, on Metaphor, Public, and Place

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ESSEX — There were two choices for Chad Floyd as he designed the Thompson Exhibition Building in Mystic — the literal or the metaphorical. “The basic idea was to respond to Mystic Seaport’s desire to have a building that would symbolize the institution,” said Floyd, a principal and founding member of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, in a conversation at his office on Friday. 14,000-square foot structure opened in September 2016 and has remained a topic of conversation in the region ever since. “You could approach it in two general directions — what had been tried before by architects, which was

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Demolition of Vacant 1930s Dance Hall in Old Lyme Scheduled for Fall

OLD LYME — Abutting neighbors of 58 Hartford Ave. in the Sound View neighborhood received notices on Saturday by mail that owner Frank Noe intended to apply to the town for a demolition permit to take down the long-vacant 1930s-era dance hall in late September or early October. “The former O’Connor’s Dance Hall, or O’Connor’s Twin Gables at 58 Hartford Avenue, is the only Tudor Revival-style building in the district,” according to a 2018 application for listing on the National Register as one of 141 contributing resources in the proposed Sound View Historic District. “The largest commercial building in the

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Stonington’s Rob Simmons Takes a Bow

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STONINGTON — After November’s election, the blue SUV with “GUNG-HO” license plates won’t be parked at the Town Hall lot as often. That car belongs to First Selectman Rob Simmons, 76, who has chosen not to run for a third term this November.  But the message on the license plates, originating from the Chinese “gōng hé,” which translates as “work together,” reflects Simmons’ attitude toward life, the town, his tenure as a leader and any position that allows him to be of service.  Simmons, a Republican, said he “threw his hat into the ring” in the summer of 2014 when

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Connecticut Port Authority Retains $4.77 Million of Legacy Funds — Reallocations On Hold

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The Connecticut Port Authority retains $4.77 million of legacy funds leftover from eight municipal dredging projects dating from 2012 to 2016. The funds, administered in a state account, cannot be re-allocated for other maritime projects until approved by the State Bond Commission. The eight projects, totaling $30.39 million, had been administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), and were completed under budget. After 2016 the Connecticut Port Authority became the administrator of maritime bond funding. Joe Salvatore, Program Manager of the Connecticut Port Authority, who emailed the list of municipalities with legacy balances to CT Examiner on Wednesday, said

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Connecticut Port Authority Officials Absent as Transportation Committee Holds Hearing

HARTFORD — With three key officials missing from Monday’s Connecticut Port Authority hearing, legislators and the public were left with more questions than answers about a host of issues, including the quasi-public agency’s finances, wind power negotiations and personnel matters.  Co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, Roland Lemar of the House and Carlo Leone of the Senate, led the six-hour “informational forum” before an audience of about 80 people, including staffers from the state’s Auditors of Public Accounts, the Office of the Governor, and the Connecticut Port Authority. Absent from the hearing were: Scott Bates, chair of the port

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Port Authority Officials Not Expected to Attend “Informational” Hearings on Tuesday

Termed a “forum” on the meeting agenda, the scheduled Connecticut Port Authority hearings on Tuesday in Hartford will be informational in nature and most likely will not involve questioning of port authority officials, according to one state official.   “People are expecting it to be sort of a Capitol Hill inquisition — I think they are under the wrong impression,” said Roland Lemar, House chair of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, in a phone interview Wednesday.  Lemar co-chairs the Transportation Committee, which is holding the forum, with Senate Chair Carlo Leone. Both will present remarks on Tuesday. A presentation by the

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Old Lyme’s Economic Development Commission Evaluates the Town’s Strengths and Weaknesses

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OLD LYME — “High-quality schools” and a “culture that values the arts” are two of Old Lyme’s top strengths, while a “lack of diverse housing options” for seniors and workers is one of the town’s biggest weaknesses. The town’s opportunities lie in delivering a “Halls Road action plan” and making the community “more connected” through biking and walking whereas the town’s biggest threat is a “perceived resistance to change.” At least those were a few of the preliminary conclusions drawn from the feedback of 40 residents and business owners, many invited to participate, in a SWOT focus group sponsored by

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Update: Referendum Passes 883 to 565 to Fund Sewers in Old Lyme’s Sound View

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OLD LYME — With high voter turnout at Tuesday’s referendum that included both property owners and residents, the question of whether to bond $9.5 million for sewer construction in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B passed 883 to 565.  The project will be partly reimbursed with a 25 percent Clean Water Funds grant, reducing the costs to approximately $7.44 million.  The vote was the culmination of years of discussion about how to handle an administrative order from the state to mitigate beach area wastewater pollution from flowing into Long Island Sound.  After the vote was counted at the

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Town Adopts Program to Monitor Septic Compliance By Old Lyme Property Owners

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OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme has adopted a program to monitor all residential and commercial septic systems in the municipality using software that will track whether users are complying with a town ordinance requiring a pump-out not less than once every seven years.  Scott Carmody, president of Carmody Software, Inc. in Palm Bay, Florida, was in town hall Monday and Tuesday to offer training to septic service providers and municipal staff in towns that use his software, including Brookfield, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Westbrook as well as the Connecticut River Area Health District.  Each

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Douglas Nettleton Talks Development, Sewers and the Problem of Sump Pumps in Mystic

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STONINGTON — Private sump pump outflows into municipal sewer systems are illegal but the town is offering Mystic sewer district customers “sump pump amnesty” for a short time.  “We need to understand the breadth of the problem at this point and we have no idea how bad the problem is,” said Stonington Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) director Douglas Nettleton, in an interview with CT Examiner staff on Wednesday. “We need people to cooperate with us. We’re going to try to help them figure out a solution.”  As part of the amnesty program, running from August 15 to Sept. 30,

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Economic Development Commission Launches Survey of Old Lyme Residents

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OLD LYME -- The Economic Development Commission has launched a survey to find out residents’ and business owners’ thoughts and ideas about development in Old Lyme. “This is an opportunity for the EDC -- we’re asking the public for their input and this is one of the strategies we’ve been talking about since I’ve been on the EDC,” said EDC Co-chair Justin Fuller at the commission’s meeting at Town Hall Wednesday afternoon. “It’s one thing to come in here and talk about what we think and what we hear from people and it’s another to try to engage the real

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Town Meeting With Two Votes And Two Different Results Erupts in Chaos in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The atmosphere of a Special Town Meeting erupted into shouting and chaos Monday night after a recount on a vote concerning bridge funding took several turns that some residents said were unfair. The contested vote feeds into broader tensions in the community concerning the fairness of the upcoming sewer referendum. First on the meeting agenda was the $9.5 million sewer referendum, slated for Aug. 13, which will authorize the town to issue bonds, notes and other obligations, to finance the appropriation for Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B. Second was the question of appropriating $328,500

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Mervin Roberts Reflects on Decades of Opposition to Sewers for Southeast Connecticut

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OLD LYME — For more than 25 years, Mervin Roberts has been urging citizens as well as local and state officials to avoid sewers along southeastern Connecticut’s rivers and shoreline.  Roberts, 97, is a former chair of Old Lyme’s Shellfish Commission, served for 10 years as a selectman and was a founding member of the Conservation Commission.  He was also a founding member of the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), where he served for several decades. As chair of the WPCA, he wrote and published several pamphlets on septic waste treatment in Old Lyme. He previously studied water and

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Artemisia in Old Lyme Offers Fabric, Inspiration, Design

OLD LYME — Whether for gathering inspiration, buying pillows and antiques or going for an entire home redesign, Artemisia has something to offer those who appreciate textiles, craftsmanship and home design.  In a building located behind the Cooley Gallery at 23 Lyme St., the store has retail space in the front, lined with pillows, fabrics, art and furniture, and a studio workroom in the back where co-owner Rosemarie Padovano sews and designs.  “I started the company in 2013 and this is the first time I’m doing retail — I opened the shop one year ago,” said Padovano Tuesday at her

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Old Lyme WPCA Chair Prendergast Talks Funding and the Future of Sound View

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OLD LYME — With the August 13 referendum on funding sewers in Sound View Beach approaching, Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) Chairman Richard Prendergast stopped by CT Examiner’s office Tuesday to clarify concerns and answer questions.  “There’s no certainty of that passing in Old Lyme, the default is to not pass. If you’re from Old Lyme you know that we don’t do things like this too often,” he said.  The referendum asks whether the town should bond $9.5 million to build sewers in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B, part of a broader arrangement, partially reimbursed by a 25

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DEEP: Old Lyme Not on Clean Water Funds List, Not Under Deadline for Sewers

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OLD LYME — A state official confirmed Monday that the town is not currently on the state’s Clean Water Funds priority list to receive a 25 percent grant for the Sound View Beach sewer project, but once the town approves bond funding, the project will be eligible for 25 percent grants in the design and construction phases.  The town is also not under a deadline this summer that would result in a loss of grant funding, according to George Hicks, Supervising Sanitary Engineer of the Connecticut Department of  Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, who

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Worth the drive… Croissants from Loveridge Place in Pawcatuck.

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IN THE REGION  — The sheeter, or laminating machine, where Carla Gennuso creates doughs for croissants stood on its own in the center of her bakery, Loveridge Place, at 2 Prospect Street in Pawcatuck, as she talked with customers and staff Friday morning.  “That can really crank out a lot of work,” said Gennuso, the founder and executive chef. With the machine, Gennuso creates yeast-leavened laminated dough used for viennoiserie, including croissants, one of her specialties. Her plain croissant is perhaps the best we’ve had in our travels between New Haven and Providence — with three or four turns, that

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Local Artists Reflect on the Florence Griswold Lawn, Site of New Artist Trail in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — For artists and art lovers, the lawn, the gardens, the light, and the views at the Florence Griswold Museum are iconic, hallowed by the footsteps and brushstrokes of the Old Lyme art colony and the many painters who have followed and continue to flock to the site.  On Monday, the museum will reveal a new vision for the 12-acre property, including a new artists’ trail, that will be dedicated to Robert F. Schumann, a trustee and patron of the museum for nearly two decades. The Robert F. Schumann Foundation awarded the museum a $1 million grant in

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New London Officials Talk Streamlining, Building Relationships and Blight

NEW LONDON — Seated around a conference table at Quinn & Hary Marketing at 48 State Street were Felix Reyes, director of planning and economic development for New London, Tom Bombria, community development and economic development coordinator, and Omi Morales, the city’s new blight enforcement officer. Three local officials — representing voices of administration, funding and boots-on-the-ground — gathered Friday afternoon to talk with CT Examiner about blight issues and promoting property stewardship among the city’s business and homeowners.   It begins with roof repair The conversation began with the city’s recently established $120,000 Roof Repair Revolving Loan Program that provides

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Sewage Pump House Granted Variance for Private Land in Sound View

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OLD LYME — The sewer project for three chartered beach associations and the town’s Sound View Beach cleared a small hurdle Tuesday when the zoning board of appeals granted a variance, with conditions, for a sewage pump house to be located at 73 Portland Ave., a privately-owned corner lot directly across the street an alternate site at 72 Portland Ave. proposed by the town. Provided it’s approved by the zoning commission, the variance would give the three beach associations — Miami Beach, Old Colony and Old Lyme Shores — a location for a pump house independent of the town’s progress

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Sound View Residents Question Cost Sharing, Consider Legal Action

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OLD LYME — On Tuesday night, Sound View Beach residents spoke out against shouldering the entire $7.44 million cost of installing sewer infrastructure in their beach community. A small number of residents also said they would consult with an attorney concerning the bond question that is expected to go to a town-wide referendum on August 13.  At least 80 people attended the second of two informational sessions organized by the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  On July 15, the Town of Old Lyme signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with the three private

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Developer Withdraws Smiler’s Wharf Application Prior to Mystic Hearing

STONINGTON — In a three-page letter to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday morning, the developers of the Smiler’s Wharf project formally withdrew their application for a zoning change on their 11-acre Mystic site for an ambitious project that would have comprised a 5-story hotel, a 6-story apartment building, a 200-seat restaurant, townhouses, a marine services building, an extended public boardwalk, a new boat basin and bulkhead. Since its public hearing began on May 28, the project has received extensive negative public commentary focused on the scale of the buildings compared to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as other

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“Pipeline Initiative” Provides Intensive Training For Manufacturing in Eastern Connecticut

OLD SAYBROOK — Removing her large welding mask and heavy-duty gloves, Kathryn Mica took a break from welding metal rings onto panels Friday morning in one corner of Sound Manufacturing’s 50,000-square-foot factory floor in Old Saybrook.  “I always worked with kids. I’m a former educator who always had an interest in the arts and a passion for metal working, but I never had the opportunity to pursue it,” said Mica, 25, of East Haddam, adjusting her leather cape sleeve, a protective garment covering her arms and shoulders. “So when I did my research and found this, I really jumped on

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Old Lyme Reaches Sewer Agreement with Beach Communities

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OLD LYME — In a major step forward, the town today sent a memorandum of understanding confirming its intention to share all costs related to a sewer project in Sound View Beach with the three private beach associations that have already signed a cost-sharing agreement with East Lyme and New London. Sharing the costs with the three beach associations is contingent on the Town of Old Lyme successfully passing a referendum to fund the town’s Sound View and Misc. Area B sewer project, wrote Richard Prendergast, chair of the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority in the letter to the

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Port Authority Funding in Doubt After Green Light

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OLD LYME — Contradictory statements from town and state agency officials have raised further doubts about the status of $256,000 in legacy state funding for the Lieutenant River project on Halls Road in Old Lyme — funds that at least one town commissioner believes were green-lighted months earlier by the Connecticut Port Authority.  The funds were left over from a $1.6 million Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) grant given to Old Lyme in 2015 for dredging in the Black Hall and Four Mile rivers. In 2016, the newly-created port authority assumed oversight of legacy maritime grants, including the dredging funds

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Business and Residents Split on Smiler’s Wharf in Mystic

MYSTIC — The stark contrast between the residential community’s opposition to the Smiler’s Wharf proposal and the business community’s support of the project continued at a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on Monday night at Stonington High School auditorium.  The commission heard opponents to the project who hadn’t had a chance to speak at the June 17 hearing. The opening of the public hearing had been originally scheduled for May 28 at Mystic Middle School, but more than 300 people showed up, exceeding the fire code, resulting in the change to June 17 at the high school, where about

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Off to New York and the 2019 Whitney Biennial

NEW YORK — The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial is about the “now” of art and reflects the new in architecture through its Renzo Piano structure and the ever-changing nature of New York City. But it’s also a reminder of the “then,” the many artists and biennials that came before, the museum’s previous home in the Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, and the move to Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district of lower Manhattan.  As a contemporary art lover, and sometimes hater, I consider the Biennial a rite of passage every two years, taking me forward

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