“Solace” to Premiere at Hygienic Art Park, Aug. 31 – Sept. 4

NEW LONDON — A phone call to a young woman from her father, absent for 18 years, starts off a series of events, including a murder, in the overlapping lives of characters who call a 10-block area of East St. Louis home.  “‘Solace’ is a play that is about what we think we need and how we evolve in order to understand better what it is we actually need in the world,” explained playwright and New London resident Michael Bradford, whose Emergent Theatre Project will premiere the play at Hygienic Art Park from Aug. 31 through Sept. 4.  “People that

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Portia Bordelon Speaks Out on Respler, the Democratic Slate, Her Role as Councilor

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GROTON — In 2019, Portia Bordelon was the second highest incumbent vote-getter in the race for town council, but  on July 21 she failed to win an endorsement for re-election from the local Democratic Town Committee. Bordelon has instead petitioned her way on to September’s primary ballot.  It’s unusual for a town committee not to endorse its incumbent candidates, the Democratic chair Conrad Heede agrees, but why exactly Bordelon was left off the Democratic slate remains a matter of disagreement. “I ran on transparency, accountability and openness, being willing to speak my mind and advocate for the constituents in the

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Local Cheese and Beer Featured at Farm Dinner

COLCHESTER — A 5-course farm-to-table dinner featuring beer from Hop Culture Farms, cheese from Cato Corner Farm, with dishes using each cheese by Chef Tim Marotto from Vintage in Colchester will be held on August 18.  For each course, diners will sample each cheese on its own — paired with a beer — and then taste a dish that includes that cheese, said Heather Wilson, co-owner of Hop Culture Farms and Brewery, at 144 Cato Corner Road in Colchester. “Cato Corner and I have done collaborations in the past where we’ve paired beer and cheese, but because Tim is such a

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New Rail Plan Aims to Eliminate Three At-grade Crossings in Stonington

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STONINGTON — Three of the town’s five at-grade railroad crossings are slated for closures and possible workarounds in the recently announced Northeast Corridor Commission Connect 2035 plan.  The plan is expected to receive funding in the recently announced federal infrastructure bill. The plan appendix of projects targets crossings at Elihu Island Road, Wamphassuc Road and Latimer Point through the New England Grade Crossing Elimination Program.  Asked what the reasons are for the eliminating the crossings, Jason Abrams, public relations manager for Amtrak, said that grade crossings are an inherent safety risk.   “Each year, approximately 2,000 people are killed or injured

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Meeting Canceled for Storage and Business Units on Shore Road in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — CN&S Realty of Old Lyme has withdrawn its application for the construction of three storage and service contractor buildings at 250 Shore Road (Rte. 156), canceling tonight’s special meeting of the Zoning Commission at 6 p.m.  A spokesperson from town hall said the applicant withdrew because there was not enough time to comply with a number of conditions set forth by the town engineer and the state Department of Transportation within the 65-day application period.  A letter from the Department of Transportation dated August 5 denied the applicant’s request to work within the state right-of-way, citing seven

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Thursday Zoning Hearing to Consider Business and Storage Units on Shore Road in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — A public hearing by the town’s zoning commission to review three 10,500-square-foot buildings at 250 Shore Road intended for contractor services and storage will continue at Town Hall on August 12 at 6 p.m.  More than 100 neighborhood and area residents have signed a petition in opposition to the project. Many spoke against the proposal at the May 10, June 14, and July 12 Zoning Commission meetings. As currently designed, each building would measure 70’ wide, 150’ long and 35’ high and contain 12 875-square-foot spaces that could be separately rented as storage units or for business services,

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Alexis Harrison Talks Affordability, Her Run for Fairfield Planning and Zoning

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Alexis Harrison, a Fairfield native and well-known advocate on zoning and affordable housing, announced she is running for a two-year term on the Plan and Zoning Commission in Fairfield.  Harrison has served as co-president of Fairfielders Protecting Land and Neighborhoods, a local advocacy organization dedicated to “good government and environmental stewardship.” As a member of CT169strong, spoke out against housing bill HB6611 and an earlier version of HB6107, which would have diminished local control of zoning. What should the state’s role be in providing affordability for Connecticut residents? First of all, Connecticut ranks 49th in housing development, because of the

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Zoning Rejects Beer and Wine Service at Cocotte in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — Cocotte French Cuisine and Desserts received a ‘hard no’ from the town’s Zoning Commission Monday night regarding a possible permit to serve beer and wine — a decision that threatens the viability of the new restaurant, the owners said.  Jeffrey and Isabelle DeFrancesco, who opened Cocotte on June 25 in the historic James Pharmacy at 2 Pennywise Lane, said a beer and wine license would allow their restaurant to stay in business. “We’re trying to sustain a business and we’ve just launched. And I can tell you right now, if we don’t sell beer or wine in the

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Centennial Day Will Include Special Fundraiser for Skylights at Lyme Art Association

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday, August 7, with an entire day of activities, including the Centennial Frolic, an evening 1920’s-themed fundraiser for the Second Century Skylight Project.  The skylights are 100 years old — the same age as the building — and in dire need of replacement, said Laurie Pavlos, executive director of Lyme Art Association.  “The skylights are leaking. And, they’re single-pane skylights and have no insulation value. It’s almost like having a giant hole in our roof that all our heat goes up through. And in the summertime, it’s

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Democrats Endorse Shoemaker, Lampos to Lead Old Lyme Ticket

OLD LYME — In a surprising move, the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee endorsed Martha Shoemaker, who was elected to the Regional Board of Education in Nov. 2017, to challenge incumbent Republican Timothy Griswold in this November’s election. Incumbent Selectman Mary Jo Nosal, who some expected to run for first selectman, is instead a candidate for the Zoning Commission with a term beginning in 2022.  On the slate with Shoemaker is Jim Lampos as candidate for selectman. Since 2019, Lampos has served on the Community Connectivity Grant Committee, which has overseen the installation of sidewalks along Hartford Ave. and Shore

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Sound View Debates Parking, Shouldering the Costs of the Summer Season

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OLD LYME — A meeting of the Sound View Commission on Monday night debated the cost of parking in the beach community and whether it is fair to expect visitors to balance the cost of additional town services during the summer months. “The townspeople pay for police already and they pay for public works already,” said Commission Chair Frank Pappalardo, “Sound View is an additional drain on public works and police and services that the town operates. What we’re looking to do is to help defray the costs to the taxpayers of the Town of Old Lyme for what it

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Commercial Development Near Miami Beach Draws Questions and Opposition

OLD LYME — A proposal to construct three 10,500-square-foot commercial buildings that would house storage units and businesses at 250 Shore Road (Route 156) will come before the Zoning Commission at a special meeting on August 12 at 6 p.m. CN&S Realty of Old Lyme has applied for a special permit to build three buildings, each measuring 70’ wide by 150’ long, and 35’ in height. Each building would house twelve 875-square-foot spaces that would be rented as storage units or for “business service establishments,” as permitted by the zoning ordinance. Retail establishments would not be permitted.  The 3.77-acre site,

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Griswold and Matt Ward Make Run in Old Lyme, Slate For Democrats Not Announced

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OLD LYME — The Republican Town Committee quickly nominated and unanimously approved its slate of candidates at Town Hall on Thursday night, including incumbent First Selectman Timothy Griswold for another term and Matt Ward, a longtime state trooper and unaffiliated candidate, for selectman.  In the 2019 election, Griswold entered the race late and gained a spot on the ballot by petition. By a 56 to 44 percent margin, he won against incumbent Democrat Bonnie Reemsnyder, who had beaten Griswold in 2011. Griswold previously served as First Selectman from 1997 to 2011.  At Thursday’s meeting, he said this will be his

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Ownership of Tantummaheag Landing in Question, Public Access Offered

OLD LYME — The new owners of property adjacent to the historic Tantummaheag Landing say they have done an extensive title search that proves the landing and associated right-of-way belongs to them rather than the town. The landing provides access to the Connecticut River for kayaks or small craft and the right-of-way has long been used as a public space for walking.   George Frampton and Carla D’Arista, who have owned 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road since September, say access to the landing and right-of-way will not change. “We have always welcomed people coming down the road and we want to

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Tessa Lark to Lead Musical Masterworks as Arron Directs Final Season

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OLD LYME — Longtime Artistic Director Ed Arron, who will lead Musical Masterworks in its 31st season this fall, has announced that he will step down in 2022, passing the reins to violinist Tessa Lark, a musician well-known to Old Lyme audiences. Lark, 32, who has been performing with Musical Masterworks for eight years, will assume the role of artistic director designate this season and will become artistic director on July 1, 2022. She said she had dreamed of a directorship at Musical Masterworks and was thrilled when Arron called her.  “I remember the first time I played Musical Masterworks

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Reemsnyder Asks Town to Assume Ownership of Hope Parcels

OLD LYME — Hope Partnership board member Bonnie Reemsnyder has asked the town to assume ownership of land where the nonprofit currently maintains affordable housing. According to a letter from the former first selectman to current First Selectman Timothy Griswold, the change would allow the nonprofit to forgo the burden of yearly requests for tax abatements, and would also encourage Hope to develop two town-owned parcels on Flat Rock Hill Road currently designated for single-family affordable housing.  “With two more lots likely becoming available, I would think that the Board of Selectmen would be interested in resolving this tax issue

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Sidewalk Plans Come Full Circle on Ferry Road

OLD LYME — After considering an alternative on the south side of Ferry Road that would have saved a few trees, the Ferry Road Sidewalk Committee came to a consensus Thursday that the best location for the replacement of the buckling sidewalks was on the north side of the road where the sidewalks are now.  “It’s certainly not ‘the plan’ but we’re moving in that direction. We’re still going to have a public information session,” said First Selectman Timothy Griswold, a member of the committee, after Thursday’s meeting.  The consensus included a requirement that the town consult with a licensed

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Committee Members Will Answer Questions at Halls Road Master Plan Open House

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvements Committee will hold an open house on Saturday, July 10, from 9 a.m. to noon in Town Hall at 52 Lyme St. to present phase two of the Halls Road master plan, designed by BSC Group of Glastonbury.  Visual materials will show roadway improvements to be paid for by the town, including a bow bridge spanning the Lieutenant River as well as pedestrian and bike routes, sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, landscaping and green spaces. Another board will show Village District zoning on Halls Road, which could affect future private investment and development in the

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Lymes’ Senior Center Holds Design Workshop with Point One Architects

OLD LYME — Supplied with red stickers, blue stickers, and gold stars, many of the Lymes’ Senior Center Board of Directors and a number of selected community members marked their favorite and least favorite areas of the center on large site plans and floor plans Tuesday afternoon. “[Put the] red stickers on the area that you like to see or like to visit — if you have more than one area you love, you can use two stickers… The blue represents the things you do not like about the site,” said Rick Staab, a partner at Point One Architects, which

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Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Gets Back to its Roots, Offers New Classes

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OLD LYME — With a $1.657 million budget for FY21-22, about 120 students enrolled in summer classes, and a small full-time core program that will start in the fall, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is rebounding after two rough years.  “People are so enthusiastic to be able to finally come and receive classes in person and meet other peers, so it’s a really positive atmosphere,” said Amaya Gurpide, director of drawing, who was hired in February along with her husband, Jordan Sokol, who is artistic director for the school.  Sokol said a range of summer classes, landscape workshops and youth

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Workshop Will Gather Public Input on Renovation of Lymes’ Senior Center

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OLD LYME — Point One Architects will conduct a public workshop on Tuesday, July 6 at 1 p.m to talk about options for updating the Lymes’ Senior Center and to gather input from the community. The Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee has scheduled the workshop, which will take place inside the center, located at 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, with COVID protocols in place, including masks and social distancing.  The committee put out a Request for Qualifications and Proposal for a renovation feasibility study for the center on March 15 and received responses from seven firms. The committee interviewed

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Cocotte at James Pharmacy to Offer Gelato, Sweets and French Cooking

OLD SAYBROOK — Lovers of gelato and pastry lined up for the soft opening of Cocotte French Cuisine and Desserts, which opened its doors at 2 p.m. on Friday in the James Pharmacy building at 323 Main Street. Co-owner Isabelle De Francesco said people have been knocking on the door for the last two months.  “They had two questions — when do you open, and, do you have gelato?” she said.  Besides a selection of 10 or more gelato flavors, De Francesco and her husband, chef Jeffrey De Francesco, are featuring a menu of pastries for summer — brioche, croissant,

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The Docks Is Open to Renters, More Buildings to Come

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NEW LONDON — Officials and well-wishers enjoyed the harbor view from the sunny fourth floor deck of The Docks, a new 137-unit building at 500 Bank St., before stepping indoors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Thursday.  On the deck, pre-ceremony, Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for AR Building Co. of Pittsburgh, which developed the building, said there had been many concepts for the 2.5-acre site formerly known as Perkins Green.  “Since we’ve been working on this, there were myriad ideas that happened on this property before, but we’ve always looked

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Respler Loses Lease on Mystic Oral School, But Seeks Path Forward on Development

GROTON — The State of Connecticut will not renew the lease of Respler Homes on 40 acres of the Mystic Oral School property at 240 Oral School Road, but developer Jeff Respler plans to continue to focus on requirements for the sale, according to a spokesperson at the Department of Administrative Services.  “This is a DAS property which we have leased to Respler during the period which [he] is working on closing the sale through DECD,” wrote a spokesperson in an email on Thursday. “We know there are a significant number of moving pieces and considerations in this project, and

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Alberti Announces Her Second Run for First Selectman of East Lyme

EAST LYME — Democrat Camille Alberti, a member of town’s board of finance since 2013 and chair for two years, announced her second run for first selectman to an audience of about 25 people on Thursday evening.  She will compete against Republican Kevin Seery, who has served as a selectman since 2011 and as deputy first selectman since 2015. He previously served on the Board of Education for 14 years, including six years as board chair.  In 2019, Alberti was a late entrant to the race against First Selectman Mark Nickerson, replacing a candidate who needed to drop out. Nickerson

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Niantic Cinemas Will Roll Film Once Again on Friday

NIANTIC — The sounds and aroma of popcorn popping filled the lobby of Niantic Cinemas Wednesday morning, making ready for the theater’s reopening this Friday.  “We closed twice during the pandemic — first in April for about three weeks, then we reopened for about six weeks but we were only getting about eight people per day, so we closed in July,” said Peter Mitchell, concessions and box office manager, whose family bought the theatre in 1978.  In 1979 the Mitchell family’s first film as the new owners of Niantic Cinemas was Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Liv

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Republicans Choose Party Veteran Ben Proto as State Chairman

NEW HAVEN — Connecticut Republicans elected Ben Proto, a veteran of GOP politics, as the new head of the state party on Tuesday night. Proto, 62, has a legal practice in Stratford specializing in business and real estate law. Proto led the campaign for Donald Trump in Connecticut, and earlier supported Steve Obsitnik’s campaign for governor in 2018. Proto was the state coordinator for John McCain’s presidential run in 2000. On Tuesday night, Proto beat Gary Byron, of Newington, who served as a state representative from 2015 to 2019 and is now a radio talk show host at WDRC-AM, as

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High Bids Stymie Progress on Installing Sewers in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Just two companies bid to install sewers in four beach communities in Old Lyme, and at costs which were significantly in excess of what had been estimated for the project. The bids were $17.5 and $18.5 million — higher than the roughly $10 million estimate from engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, said Scott Boulanger, said director of the Board of Governors of the Miami Beach Association.  Officials from the three chartered beach communities and the town of Old Lyme told CT Examiner that the high bid had triggered a new bidding process that will split the project

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P&Z Not Bound by Groton’s ‘Binding’ Agreement, Limits Mystic Oral School Redevelopment

GROTON — At a special workshop on June 14, the Planning and Zoning Commission reached a consensus that any changes to zoning the former Mystic Education Center property would be limited to small or moderate density development consistent with the surrounding neighborhood and the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The decision is at odds with a controversial proposal to build a 931-unit complex on the site at 240 Oral School Road.  “It’s not good to cram a lot of new housing in that area, it’s not realistic,” said Jeff Pritchard, chair of the commission.  Commission members made it clear

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Ørsted – Eversource Donate Funds to Marine Science Education in Groton

GROTON — Offshore wind partners Ørsted and Eversource have awarded a four-year grant totalling $950,000 to Project Oceanology, a nonprofit marine science education and research facility based in Groton.  “Our focus is on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and our collaboration with Ørsted and Eversource will help us train the future STEM workforce in the critical fight against climate change,”  said Jim McCauley, executive director of “Project O,” to a small audience of local officials on the UConn Avery Point campus Thursday afternoon. McCauley, who has been in his position for five years, said in the first

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