Has Anyone Actually Read the New Rules for Halls Road (and Flo Gris)?

On Oct. 12, with little fanfare, Old Lyme’s Zoning Commission took up a petition to change the existing rules determining what owners of private parcels of land can and cannot do in a new “village district,” stretching from Huntley Rd. and the shopping center, clear across to the Florence Griswold Museum and the Krieble Gallery. Town officials are now ‘on the clock,’ through the election and into the holidays, to decide whether to approve or reject a 61-page plan that includes several dozen significant changes governing everything from the style guidelines for acceptable architecture and renovations to what sorts of

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Regarding Clinton Schools — CT Examiner Responds

A number of claims have been made about our reporting, in an apparent effort to quash any serious outside inquiry or reporting on numerous teacher complaints alleging a toxic work environment in Clinton public schools. That these claims have been manufactured primarily by the Connecticut Education Association, a self-described “driving force in lobbying legislators for the resources public schools need and campaigning for high standards for teachers and students,” is ironic and disappointing. Hardnosed advocacy and sharp elbows are something we expect from organized labor in support of its members. And we understand and respect that role. But here we

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David Spencer Pitches Beaujolais

It’s a cool fall day in Mystic, it’s raining, and I am sitting across a table from David Spencer – half of the husband-and-wife partnership, with Pamela Lynn, that opened Spencer & Lynn about a year ago.  I’m here to talk about fall wine, but more often than not it seems that our conversation pivots instead around people. “So, what we do is something that I think is a trend in New York, and a trend in the wine world right now — but it’s not a trend for us, it’s what we are passionate about – is sell wine

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After 40 Years in the Media Business, on Tuesday Cameron Offers a Bit of Advice

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Old Lyme’s Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library is hosting a free virtual talk with author Jim Cameron, whose book, Off the Record: Confessions of a Media Consultant, offers a lively behind-the-scenes look at the news business, drawing from 40 years as a news reporter, media trainer and public relations consultant. That’s one day after Cameron debuts his newly-independent syndicated column, “Talking Transportation,” after five years writing a column for Hearst. Cameron’s new column will be appear in CT Examiner, and other media outlets across the state. Cameron promises plenty of time for questions and comments, as well

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On the Matter of Equity and East Lyme

As a practical matter, I see no reason to question the thrust of the recommendations made by the Equity Institute, which are, by and large, common sense.  Yes, East Lyme school officials should work to reduce bullying, and to make school settings a space for young people to learn and grow. Yes, school officials should try to construct a curriculum that is diverse and relevant, equally nurturing for young people who wish to learn a trade or to attend college. Yes, school officials should do their best to provide equal opportunity and discipline, if necessary, to every student. Classrooms should

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On the Matter of Bordelon’s Comments

We neither favor nor endorse candidates for election. In the case of Portia Bordelon, who is running in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary for Groton Town Council, there are, no doubt, fair reasons to oppose her candidacy. But Bordelon’s vocal objections to the Groton Oral School project — in defiance of the legal advice of Groton Town Attorney Eric Callahan – should not be counted among them. We believe that Callahan, at best, spoke with a surfeit of caution when he advised members of the Groton Town Council to refrain from responding to public comments at a May 4 meeting on the

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Fall Lecture Series Kicks off With Acclaimed Journalist of Contemporary Rwanda

On Tuesday, London-based journalist and author Michela Wrong leads off a fall speaker series for the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council with a virtual talk on her latest work, Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad. Cambridge-educated Wrong has spent decades reporting on Africa, including stints with Reuters and the BBC, and with pieces published in the Observer, Financial Times, and Guardian. Paul Nugent, the council’s executive director, described Wrong as a compelling speaker, and a departure from the group’s more Western-oriented discussion of education and aid for Africa.  Do Not Disturb,

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Nana’s… a Destination Doughnut

It’s been twenty years, at least, since I’ve had a doughnut as good as the cinnamon sugar sourdough at Nana’s Bakery & Pizza in Mystic. Made to order and served still too hot to eat in cinnamon sugar, chocolate, cardamom-Espresso or cacio e pepe, it might be the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning in Connecticut now that the tourist crowds have slackened off.  The 32 Williams St. waterfront location opens at 7 a.m., except on Wednesdays —  I wouldn’t blame you if you left off here and just drove over and tried one. What makes a doughnut that

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About That Rail Route More Parallel to I-95

We’re not sure what to make of reported comments by Amtrak head William Flynn, who apparently reassured Charlestown, RI in a recent phone call that the multistate Northeast Corridor Commission is now leaning toward routing a new high-speed rail line between Providence and New Haven on a path “more parallel to Route 95.” If you don’t recall, the last attempt to finalize a route — a fiasco known as the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass — went down in flames in 2017. That left unfinished business on the federal level, where the Federal Railroad Administration still needs (wants?) to complete

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By the Numbers — COVID and the Return of School

In any given year, for every 100,000 people living in Connecticut about 200 are victims of potentially life-altering violent crime. 8 die in car crashes. 5 are killed by firearms. 1 drowns. Somewhat fewer are hit and killed by cars. About 20 are victims of forcible rape. And about 50 males for every 100,000 will die from accidental poisoning or exposure to chemicals and solvents. Over the last 18 months, based on CDC numbers, about 233 of every 100,000 people in Connecticut died of COVID-19. But in Connecticut, the odds of a young person, aged 19 and under, dying of

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A New Hartford Station, Resolving High-Speed Rail Bypasses, Headline NEC Future Announcement

On Wednesday, the NEC Commission announced the launch of Phase 1 of the NEC Future vision for improving rail service along the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston. Dubbed Connect NEC 2035, the plan calls for the completion of 150 significant projects over 15 years at an additional cost of $100 billion dollars. These plans include a new rail station for Hartford, the elimination of three at-grade crossings in Mystic, new rail stops along the Hartford Line for North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield, and new rail platforms for Clinton and Madison. Service upgrades would include new direct

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Why Won’t Metro-North Release Their Numbers?

On May 21, CT Examiner’s Brendan Crowley made a simple Freedom of Information request, asking Metro-North to document the number of citations or tickets the railroad has issued for mask-wearing violations since January 1, 2020. It’s the sort of straight-forward request that a well-functioning public agency can usually fill in a week, maybe two, often less. So, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we have our answer, and that Metro-North is not a well-functioning agency. How far that dysfunction extends is less clear — but I see no reason to believe that transit officials are doing a better

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You Can’t Have a One to One Mapping of American History

As some of you may know, my academic training is not in journalism, but Russian and Modern European history. I also have an academic interest in cultural theory and method, and have taught Adorno, Benjamin, and Habermas – theorists directly and indirectly attached to the Frankfurt School – at the college level. I’ve actually translated Benjamin from the German.  I know, as the columnist David Collins once wrote, some time before our launch, it’s a funny sort of pointy-headed profession for someone to start a newspaper. But I suppose every so often it comes in handy when the public debate

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CT Examiner Turns Two

How to sum up the past two years?..  Well over 1,800 stories, 1,500,000 words, the rough equivalent of 15 novels. Our coverage has expanded significantly to include Hartford, and our readership to include a loyal following in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In just the last week, writing in CT Examiner has been featured in Real Clear Policy, blogged in Fishery Nation and by the United Farm Workers, linked or referenced in USA Today, Connecticut Public broadcasting, and Stamford Advocate. We’ve had one threat of legal action (ignored), fielded an email from Koch Industries and personal calls for help

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What about Regulating Connecticut’s Internet Broadband

It was inevitable, given the lessons of the last year, the innovations of online learning and medicine, that state Democrats would add access to the internet to a small number of regulated public utilities – along with water and electricity – basically guaranteeing every person in Connecticut the right to a speedy connection. Already many Republicans, and some Democrats, would toss in the regulation of private companies – Twitter and Facebook — that provide social media. But given near universal dissatisfaction with the cost and service of Eversource and United Illuminating, it’s probably worth seriously considering what good will come

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Popular Hadlyme Spot Begins Serving Red and White Pizzas

Hadlyme Country Market co-owner Lisa Bakoledis was behind the counter on Tuesday serving up white and red pizzas for the first time to a lunchtime crowd at her popular shop at the turnoff to the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry. She will be making fresh pies from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (to pickup by 6) leaning on a tomato sauce Bakoledis says was borrowed from her grandfather. The new two-deck ventless pizza ovens in the 1905-era country store are set against a striking new mural backdrop by Tom Rose, a well-known decorative painter and owner of Black Whale Antiques. No word on

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Janine Sacco Talks Spring Wines with CT Examiner

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The arrival of invites to picnics and early summer parties reminds me that in spite of the cool spring weather, and the lingering COVID, it is already early May, when I like to buy a case or two of wine to have on hand for company. Nothing rich or particularly pricey. I’m looking for wine that pairs well with food, but doesn’t require it, on the balance more fun than cerebral — mainly whites, a couple of rosés, a light red, a sparkler — because they are joyful and versatile — but I want one that I wouldn’t feel guilty

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A Great Talking Machine — Vaccine Exemptions, Police Accountability, Structural Racism

“A great talking machine whose grinding gears drowned out the insidious truth of administrative continuity” was how the historian Lynn Hunt described it — the paradoxical language of revolution and disruption and cataclysm, when nothing much of anything ever seems to happen. Yes, the state is proving that it can spend breathtaking amounts of money, but unlike say 60 years ago, I don’t think anyone has any expectation of more than incremental change on the dollar — perhaps because the currency of politics these days is not accomplishment, but instead the measure of just how much annoyance and outrage a

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Spot-On Cooking at The Shipwright’s Daughter in Mystic

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MYSTIC — The kitchen was in a groove on a recent Thursday night turning out dish after dish — small and large, across a tightly-woven menu — spot-on. Roast chicken, potatoes, salt, jus, baby lettuce. Roasted maitake mushroom, cashew cream, spicy oil, garlic and ginger chips. A crudo of Stonington scallops. Smoked clam dip and Old Bay chips. It’s the sort of spare, unassuming cooking that reflects confidence in quality ingredients and technique – “convivial cooking,” as the chef David Standridge explained it to me — not cold. The other night he brought his family to eat – and along

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