Lyme-Old Lyme Senior Wins Best in Show at Scholastic Art Awards Competition

OLD LYME — Before she started drawing, she didn’t know how to express herself, said Sarah Conley, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School and the winner of a Gold Key and Best-in-Show award at Connecticut’s Scholastic Art Awards Competition this winter. “I have always had trouble articulating myself and it’s so much easier for me to express myself through my work. I’m able to make a much more profound statement than I ever could with my words,” said Conley. Prior to attending Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Conley said she never thought she could make art, though she loved it

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Social Service Days in Old Saybrook Offer Local Opportunities for Area Families in Need

OLD SAYBROOK — The line for food stretched nearly the length of the parking lot. Young families, single adults and the elderly, holding cloth shopping bags, waiting outside of Grace Church on a chilly Thursday afternoon in Old Saybrook.  Inside, American Job Center and the U.S. Census Bureau had set up for recruiting, tables were filled with second-hand clothes, and a town nurse was checking residents for high blood pressure. “When I got here the line was already down the stairs and around the corner, filling the sidewalk to get inside,” said Sue Consoli, the director of Social Services in

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Eligibility for Free & Reduced School Lunch Jumps in Semi-Rural and Suburban Towns Under New Formula

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In the last three years, Old Saybrook Public Schools has seen a 11.1 percent increase in students receiving free or reduced school lunch. Putting aside the issue of declining enrollments in the district, 227 students qualified for subsidized lunch in 2018-19, compared to just 100 students in 2015-16. “The reasons for the increase are hard to assess because the information is so highly confidential. I do not know the names of the students on free and reduced lunch, so [I] rarely become aware of who is receiving this benefit,” said Superintendent Jan Perruccio. “I will say that there seems to

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Old Saybrook Votes to Approve $49,000 for Parks and Rec Strategic Plan

OLD SAYBROOK — After a debate and vote before a packed room, the Town of Old Saybrook approved $49,000 from the capital non-recurring fund to hire a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the Parks and Recreation Commission focusing on four town parks. “We feel strongly that we need to improve our beaches, fields, parks and facilities that were mostly designed in the 50s. There are other towns that are better,” said Kevin Lane, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. “We need to put some tax dollars into planning what to do.” The hope, according to Lane

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12-and-Over Library Policy Raises Concern in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — At the Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook, all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. “It’s been our policy since at least 2004, but it was not enforced,” said Amanda Bouwer, the library director. “We aren’t here to act instead of the parent, so we ask parents with those under 12 to come with them. We just want to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable.” The child safety policy was reviewed, discussed and reapproved by the library’s board of directors this past November as part of the board’s efforts to

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Vaccine for Lyme Disease Shows Promise Treating Mice in Redding Backyards

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The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is one step closer to a reducing the risk of contracting Lyme disease, by targeting the bacteria in its most common carrier, the white-footed mouse. “Ticks can take the pathogen from the mice, if we are able to neutralize the pathogen in mice then it can’t be given to the ticks and then us,” said Scott Williams, an agricultural scientist at the experiment station and co-author of the study. For the study, scientists took a previously successful oral vaccine and used it to treat food for mice in the backyards of homeowners in Redding, Connecticut.

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A Pesticide Ban, New Revenues, Among Issues Highlighted at Environmental Summit in Hartford

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With the legislative session just three weeks away, advocates, legislators and business owners filled Mather Hall at Trinity College on Wednesday for the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters 2020 Environmental Summit to settle on an environmental agenda for the February 5 start of session. “We got all the advocates and lawmakers in one room where everybody can hear the same thing about what we know the main drivers are going to be for environment and energy legislation this year,” said Lori Brown, executive director of the League. “It’s the whole environmental community in one room.” From a bottle bill to

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Old Saybrook Board of Education to Phase-in Universal Pre-School

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OLD SAYBROOK — The Board of Education voted unanimously to authorize the superintendent to proceed with a phased-in approach to adding universal preschool for 4-year-olds in the Old Saybrook. “We move very deliberately in this district,” said Jan Perruccio, superintendent of Old Saybrook schools. “It is a safe way to pilot this that allows us to expand this without stretching it so far that it runs the risk of failing.” The phase-in will begin next school year, reducing preschool tuition from $4,300 to $3,450  for non-special education students, and increasing non-special education enrollment of 4-year-olds from 35 to 45 students.

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Plans to Add 15 Mosquito Testing Sites for EEE Uncertain With Connecticut Budget Crunch

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After four diagnosed cases — and three deaths — of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in southeastern Connecticut in 2019, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is requesting an additional $150,000 from the state to add 15 new mosquito testing locations. “We would like to add 15 additional sites in the east where we didn’t have a presence this year because we hadn’t seen EEE there before,” said Theodore Andreadis, the director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “We are hoping that the funding will be put directly in the budget because otherwise we need to go to legislators to advocate for it.

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82-Year-Old Old Lyme Resident Faces Loss of Home as Local Officials Consider Response to Flooding

OLD LYME — For more than a year David Berggren’s house has been sinking, and Black Hall Pond has been steadily rising due to beaver activity downstream, flooding his lawn, and dock, causing his plumbing to fail and mold to grow, and shifting the foundation underneath his home on Boughton Road. “I’ve known about Mr. Berggren’s problems for a long time,” said Todd Machnik, who served as chair of the Flood and Erosion Board for the town of Old Lyme for 25 years before retiring on January 1. “I talked to Bonnie [Reemsnyder] when she was around and I went

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