Wedding Season in Southeast Connecticut

June is not the time to try and write a story about weddings. Venues are frantic, photographers barely eat, hairdressers are on the move, bakers are chained to their ovens -- it’s the middle of wedding season and wedding vendors have been preparing each event for almost two years. So, who was I to get some of their time with just a day’s notice?

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Small Town Connecticut Faces the Limits of Volunteerism

A government of volunteers is hard to maintain. Recruiting enough town residents to fill boards, committees, commissions, emergency medical services and fire departments has become increasingly difficult as more individuals commute further to work, towns lose population and the demands on local government from the state and federal levels increase.

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Old Lyme Switches Garbage Pickup after 30 Years

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After 30 years with Old Lyme Sanitation, Old Lyme is switching contracts to CWPM Waste Removal and Recycling Services saving $40,000 and providing weekly recycling pickup for the town beginning July 1. In short, the green bin can go out to the street each week. But what goes in the blue bin is not changing.

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Easements Slow Sale Of McCulloch Property in Old Lyme

Nearly three weeks after National Trails Day, when the Open Spaces Commission had originally planned to lead a hike across town, not just the hike (there is not yet a complete trail), but also the sale of the McCulloch Farm property is delayed. “We are pushing for next Friday for a closing,” said Amanda Blair, co-chair of the Open Spaces Commission in Old Lyme at the monthly meeting on June 14. In a later email, Blair explained that “this is a very complex real estate transaction with many people, organizations involved. This said, these easements are a minor issue.” The

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State Agrees to Pay Larger Share of Benefits in Move to Preserve the State Trooper Program

IN THE REGION — Beginning in fiscal year 2020, the state will pick up 50 percent of the fringe benefit costs of resident state troopers, allowing small towns dependent on the program to limit further cost increases. “Small towns are thrilled that the budget addresses longstanding concerns regarding the Resident State Trooper program, which is critical to protecting public safety in the state’s smaller towns,” said Betsy Gara, the executive director of Connecticut’s Council of Small Towns (COST). “Unfortunately, costs for the program were increasing every year, in large part due to outrageous fringe benefit costs. The budget requires the

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Regional Government Gets its Own Budget Line

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“Previously our funding has been a line item in the Office of Policy and Management’s budget. Now it is in legislation,” said James Butler, the executive director for the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government (SECCOG). “It will be harder to zero it out or eliminate it now that it is in legislation.”

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Budget Language Adds Flexibility For School Savings

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IN THE REGION — Between 2007 and 2017, the total public primary and secondary school enrollment in Connecticut dropped by 46,110 students, a decline of 8 percent. Essex, Deep River and Old Saybrook all have seen much greater losses with 32, 16 and 12 percent respectively. None of these declines were previously considered drastic enough to merit an exemption from the state Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) – a law that prohibits most school districts in Connecticut from spending less on education than in the previous fiscal year. Language included in the recently passed state budget may change this. For the

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5 Things to Know About the Library

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When most people hear the word “library,” they think books. Rows upon rows of books. But nearly all libraries across Connecticut — including the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme — have much more to offer than just books. “The mission of the library is to be a place of continuous learning, life-long learning and exploration of ideas and interests,” said Julie Bartley, a children’s librarian in the Old Lyme. Libraries offer museum passes, online movies and — because the libraries are linked — you can even order from libraries across the state. Did you know that one library

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Twenty Years a Dancer, Byrne Releases an Album

After more than 20 years as a dancer, Clare Byrne is making the leap into music. Her first full album – Celestials – will be released on Saturday, June 15 just nine years after she first picked up a guitar. “It felt like an awkward coming out when I would tell other dancers I think I want to be a musician,” Byrne said.

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Mentoring Lyme-Old Lyme Children

More than forty children between the middle and elementary schools in Old Lyme meet with a mentor each week, a program that has helped encourage better attendance, higher grades, engagement and enthusiasm at school for these students.

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Restoring Habitat on the Lower Connecticut River

Standing in the middle of Lord’s Cove, on the edge of the Connecticut River, you can see thousands of salt march bulrushes poking up through the muck everywhere, a plant that has appeared on the Connecticut and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Rare Species lists for more than 40 years.

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Shoreline Food Pantries Consider Split

In March, SSKP informed the churches in Old Lyme that they would be temporarily closing the food pantry and then permanently closing it due to the high percentage of individuals outside of the region that were utilizing the pantry’s services. The board of SSKP has since rolled back that decision, but negotiations about how the two organizations can continue in partnership are ongoing.

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Old Saybrook Faces Tough Choices on Septic System Pollution

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More than 60 percent of the nitrogen load flowing from the Oyster River into Indian Harbor off of Old Saybrook is from septic systems, according to a study by Marine Scientist Jamie Vaudrey from the University of Connecticut. Part of the problem is that the soil in Old Saybrook is poorly suited for filtering nitrogen. There also simply isn’t enough of it to provide sufficient buffering.

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Regional Leaders Greet Minimum Wage Increase

On May 28, Gov. Ned Lamont fulfilled a campaign promise and signed a bill to raise the minimum wage in Connecticut. As of Oct. 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $10.10 to $11.00 per hour. By June 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Connecticut will reach $15 per hour.

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Disability-friendly Coffee House Opens in Deep River

“90 percent of our staff have a diagnosed disability,” said Jane Moen, the executive director of A Little Compassion, a nonprofit that strives to change the lives of young adults with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities for the better. “We have a number of folks with autism, developmental delays, anxiety and depression.” Moen also manages The Nest.

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Old Lyme VFW Honored for “Vets in Need” Program

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“Old Lyme is a funny town. People often think we are all wealthy, but there are some very poor people that are too proud to ask for help or even go to the food pantry,” Griswold said. “We hear about their needs through word of mouth, the senior center or social services and then do our best to help as we can.”

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Old Lyme Police Prepare for Summer

Hunter said he worried about beachgoers and school traffic sharing the road. “We have drunk drivers during the day and even in the afternoon. It’s scary while kids are coming home from school,” Hunter said.

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Principal of Mile Creek School Named

“After a long and extremely thorough process that began back in February, we are very excited to welcome Kelly Enoch as the new Principal of Mile Creek School,” Superintendent Ian Neviaser said.

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Q&A on the Fourth Anniversary of iCRV

Last week, CT Examiner staff reporter Julia Werth sat down with Dave Williams to get a better idea of what iCRV is really all about and where he expects to go with the station in year five.

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James Beard Nominee “Extraordinarily Gifted”

The first bite tastes like a blooming flower, and April mornings when every breath is heavy with the scent of new blossoms. If you would ask me for other words, descriptions, flavors, I have nothing. How else to explain the delicate layering of flavors and textures?

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The 2019 Tour de Lyme

It’s an early morning for many, the culmination of months of preparation. Volunteers begin arriving just as the sun is rising before 6 a.m. They mark out parking spaces, set up tables and tents, prepare for more than 600 bikers to arrive for the seventh annual Tour de Lyme.

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