Letter: Appraisal Estimates Don’t Add Up for Residential Owners in Sound View

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At the conclusion of the December WPCA meeting, Chairman Prendergast made the following statements recorded in WPCA minutes and CT Examiner:  His White Sands property and those of his neighbors had gone up 20 – 30% in the latest appraisal.  “Beach property values generally go up when the rest of the town goes down. When people install sewers, generally the property is worth more” he said.    I have had discussions with the town assessor and with other assessors in neighboring towns.  The professional consensus is that location, condition, and amenities drive price, and that buyers place no additional value

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Letter: Barry Ricci will be hugely missed

Barry Ricci, longtime superintendent of the RI Chariho Regional Schools, was a hero beloved by the children and families of Charlestown and all of us who were privileged to work with him at Town Hall. We mourn his loss and we extend heartfelt condolences to the Ricci family. A quote from Barry when he became assistant superintendent of the Chariho Regional School District hints at how powerfully inspiring he was – his “long held beliefs about the fact that support should be unconditional and that we need to do whatever needs to be done to help a young person to

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Letter: Public Benefits from Werth’s Reporting on Schools

I have been invested in the article the CT Examiner published Few Rules, Little Oversight for 11 Million Open Choice Program as well as the editorial by Gregory Stroud, and the opinion pieces written by Portland Superintendent Phillip O’Reilly and the Board of Education Chair Sharon Peters. I thought the original article raised valid questions and concerns that we, the residents and taxpayers of these towns, should be asking our school boards and superintendents. First, I would like to thank Ms. Werth for shining a light on this topic. I thought it was extremely unprofessional and inappropriate for a superintendent

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Letter: Chair of Portland Board of Education Responds to Open Choice Reporting

I read the article in the CT Examiner entitled Few Rules, Little Oversight for $11 Million Open Choice Program.  I have served as the Chair of the Portland Board of Education since December of 2017 and beg to differ with the inferences and conclusions put forth in this article.  As stated in this article, the State views the Open Choice Grant as an entitlement grant and does not track a district’s expenditures. However, the Portland Board of Education conducts a great deal of oversight regarding all of the District’s financial decisions. We play an active role in formulating the yearly budget and

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Letter: Portland Superintendent Responds to Open Choice Reporting

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I recently read the December 12th article published in the CT Examiner entitled, Few Rules, Little Oversight for 11 Million Open Choice Program.  I was astonished by two assertions raised in this article: First, the suggestion that funding used to supplement limited resources that support teaching and learning is a “slush fund” and not subjected to rigorous accounting procedures and oversight is entirely inaccurate. Second, the suggestion that a program designed to reduce the racial, ethnic, and economic isolation in Connecticut Public Schools is not having a positive influence on student learning is misguided and does not reflect the reality that I know.   The perceptions

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Letter: Day Story a Disservice, Ethics Code Lacks Clear Limits

Thank you, Frank, for spearheading the Sound View’s Summer Concert series for the past six years.  Please know that as newbies to Old Lyme, we laughed long and hard under the SV night sky kicking up sand, showing our grandchildren (to their embarrassment) that Grandpa and Grandma can still do the boogie woogie, and the twist.  “Oh, What a Night!” One we will not forget (nor will our grandchildren!) Section L of the Old Lyme Code of Ethics says “No public employee or public official, or a business with which he/she is associated, or a member of his or her

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Statement by Scott Bates to the Transportation Committee Informational Forum

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December 4, 2019 Thank you Co-Chairs Leone and Lemar, and Members of the committee, My name is Scott Bates. I grew up in southeastern Connecticut near the banks of the Mystic River and the shores of Long Island Sound. I’m the son of a U.S. Coast Guard officer. My mother and her family made their home in New London.  I’ve always believed that it is an honor to serve one’s country and community.  That’s why, a few years ago when approached to accept an appointment to the Board of the newly formed Connecticut Port Authority, I was happy to accept

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Letter: Kevin Blacker Responds to Matthews Interview

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I was puzzled by the CT Examiner’s decision to omit relevant information and not challenge Evan Matthews, former director of the CT Port Authority, for making a statement that was blatantly factually incorrect in his recent interview with CT Examiner.  In characterizing events that led to Matthews’ departure from CPA the Examiner allowed Matthews to downplay one lapse in judgement after another with no mention of the incident that immediately preceded his departure from the CT Port Authority: when Matthews publicly called me autistic and antisocial, after threatening a referral to law enforcement.  The Examiner also allowed Matthews to purport that Ørsted /Eversource

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Letter: Questions Piketty as Basis for Income Inequality Arguments

I am no PhD in economics – only a mere BA – plus a MBA and 43 years in banking. I will grant Mr. Cunningham the observation that Mr. Gramm and Mr. Early have reached conclusions that are (likely) based on their political underpinnings. However Mr. Cunningham makes a similar error, in citing Thomas Piketty. Mr. Piketty’s magnum opus, “Capital in the 21st Century”, has been widely panned, as was noted by Marshall Steinbaum in “Why Are Economists Giving Piketty the Cold Shoulder,” Boston Review, May 12, 2017. “Lawrence Blume and Steven Durlauf wrote, “Capital [the noted book] is, nonetheless,

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Letter: As if Nothing Happened

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When you decide whom to vote for as First Selectman in Old Lyme tomorrow, I suspect like me that choice starts with your faith in your candidate’s truthfulness and prior demonstration of sound judgment.  Our First Selectwoman has repeatedly shown poor judgment on issues ranging from the HOPE Affordable Housing Project to the integration of Old Lyme’s Police with the East Lyme Police Department.  Other examples are legion.  But if you aren’t aware of those ill-wrought initiatives and you still are considering your decision, you really should read the recent State of Connecticut’s independent audit of the Connecticut Port Authority. 

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Letter: Candidate Steven Wilson Makes the Case for Moderation and Change in Old Lyme

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I know this is very last minute but after speaking to so many Old Lyme residents who are still “undecided,” I felt compelled to speak. I was asked to run for the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education over the summer. As a 15-year weekend/summer resident and a new full-time resident, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to serve the community that has served my family and me for so long. With two children enrolled in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School, I have a vested interest in participating in the decisions that affect us all. That said, I am still a relatively

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Letter: Mounting Legal Fees, Blurred Lines in Region 4 Schools

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This Monday, November 4, at 6 p.m. in the John Winthrop Middle School library in Deep River, three lawyers from a Hartford law firm will explain the nuances of the property purchase next to the high school over 2 years ago. Hopefully they will explain why they charged fifteen thousand dollars to close a three-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollar cash deal — with no bank work. Since the closing — again over 2 years ago — we have spent at least another fourteen thousand plus on this same purchase and same firm to clean up title problems, and fight with Deep River over the

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Letter: Holding the Elected Accountable in East Lyme

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I would like to publicly thank both Mary Biekert of The Day and Chris McDermott of the CT Examiner for their accurate reporting on East Lyme. I also have great appreciation for Lisa Picarazzi for her courage to share her personal experience as Vice Chairperson of the BoF and a Finance member on the PSB Vision Committee in the CT Examiner.  Accurate information allows the rest of us to determine and comment on implications and consequences based in both past events and emerging facts. By definition, “politics” is what determines the quality of our day-to-day lives. As citizens, many of

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Letter: Tinnerello Makes Case for Zoning Seat in Old Lyme, Emphasizes Balance, Transparency

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As a resident and realtor in Old Lyme I have decided to run for Zoning Commission. As a realtor, I understand the balancing act between the town’s interests and private property rights. Old Lyme characteristics make us long-time environmentalists — water, beaches, wetlands, woods. Zoning should honor these unique assets without stifling planned growth and development. I am a results-oriented problem solver who can manage complex issues. I have experience with managing many stakeholder viewpoints which often require compromise. I intend to make thoughtful decisions while always keeping an eye on the long-term effects they have on our town’s character

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Letter: East Lyme’s Public Safety Building Undertaking is a Needed and Positive Endeavor

The citizens of East Lyme have heard and read many thoughts and opinions concerning efforts to provide our Police Department, Dispatch, Fire Marshal and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) a professional and efficient co-located work space.  Some of these thoughts and opinions have been more destructive than constructive.  The official task of the East Lyme Public Safety Building Vision Committee is to select an architectural firm and work with that firm to design the needed work space within the $5M budget the tax payers approved.  The Vision Committee has been collaboratively working to accomplish this goal and plans to continue to

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Letter: Missing Building Inspection Raises Questions in East Lyme

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Time for me to step out.  I had hoped The Day would do the right thing in East Lyme’s First Selectman race and give the nod to Camille Alberti.  But their endorsement, albeit very weak, went to Mark Nickerson, “despite his missteps.”  Incumbents really do have the advantage, regardless of performance, don’t they? My name is Lisa Picarazzi and I am the vice chair of the Board of Finance (BOF) and a member of the Public Safety Building Vision Committee (PSB).  I was appointed to this committee to ensure YOUR tax dollars are not mismanaged.  Sorry to tell you all,

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Letter: Police Services Options Committee — A Committee to Nowhere

During the 2017 town election, First Selectwoman Reemsnyder floated her vision to regionalize the town’s police force with East Lyme. Her vision was revealed first in a local newspaper and came as a surprise to many, if not most, town residents. A few weeks later at the candidate’s debate, Reemsnyder boldly endorsed that plan. Reemsnyder won her election and so police regionalization became a main agenda item. Consequently, she formed the Police Services Options Committee. Although I did not support her re-election bid, Reemsnyder appointed me to the committee and I applaud and thank her for my selection. The committee

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Letter: How the Politics of Sewers Impacts One Old Lyme Family

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Originally the scope of the sewer project in Old Lyme — as determined by the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority and DEEP — included the public beaches of Sound View, White Sands Beach and Hawks Nest. The private beaches were already marching forward.  At the October 2014 meeting of the Old Lyme WPCA, as a result of a motion raised by Mr. Prendergast, White Sands was removed from the project, citing cost. Area B (near the railroad tracks) was subsequently added. The estimated cost to sewer the three Sound View public streets – Portland Ave, Hartford Ave and Swan Ave

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Letter: Private-Public Partnerships Offer Opportunities for East Lyme

While many of us have all heard of mixed-use development for commercial and residential properties, most have not learned of private-public partnerships for mixed-use development. This could be very valuable in times of fiscal challenges which include uncertainty in state municipal funding, rising costs of facility construction, renovation and acquisition. This concept entails initiation of collaborations or agreements between municipal governments and private enterprises which allows private property to remain on the tax rolls while providing utilization of these spaces by local governments either through lease/rental contracts or service provision. Additionally, financing and operation of municipal projects may also be applicable under

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Letter: Who Will Run Old Lyme?

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I attended the debate between Bonnie Reemsnyder and Tim Griswold. One issue stood out. Our current Selectwoman continually explores solutions to our problems by going to outside sources. She is content to have East Lyme, New London, New Haven, and Hartford address our problems and manage our community. Tim Griswold believes in the people of our town. Your friends and your neighbors. Tim acknowledges our town is unique, and we the people of Old Lyme are well equipped to solve our problems. Policing, affordable housing, and Halls Road are all examples of outsiders being courted to change Old Lyme versus

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Letter: Miller Makes Case for Seat on Lyme – Old Lyme Board of Education

Since 2001 I have had the great fortune to live in Old Lyme, and I am now asking for your vote November 5th so that I may serve Lyme and Old Lyme on our school board. I have a strong background to draw upon for success as a board member, including my experience as a U.S. Army Officer, a CPA and manager for KPMG Peat Marwick and as an executive director with Pfizer. All of my sons have graduated from our schools, and I am eager to give back at the board level to one of the best school regions

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Letter: Griswold Offers Measured Leadership to Challenges Facing Old Lyme

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There are many reason to support Tim Griswold for first selectman of Old Lyme, but here are three issues that I believe we should carefully consider before voting in the November 5 election. Halls Road For 5 years, the current administration has outsourced Halls Road improvements to an ad-hoc “Halls Road Improvement Committee” with no results except for a cost of $40,000 paid to the Yale School of Urban Design (YSUD).  Alan Plattus, of the YSUD, stated in a public meeting that: “Halls Road is Broken.” I think that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Halls Road, specifically the Old

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Letter: Judge Politicians by Actions not Words

The proverb “talk is cheap” is more than 150 year old. It should be familiar to we New Englanders. The expression can be found in a 1843 fiction entitled Attache, written by T. C. Halliburton, whose Yankee character Sam Slick encouraged a minister to “[t]alk to these friends of ourn, they might think you considerable starch if you don’t talk, and talk is cheap.” These days, not only is political talk cheap but it is also unreliable, perhaps more unreliable than at any other time in American history. Increasingly you are better off ignoring what a politician says and just

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Letter: Griswold Makes Case for Old Lyme First Selectman

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After serving 14 years as Old Lyme’s First Selectman through 2011, I am running again to lead the town.  At our Republican caucus in July, we had excellent candidates for all open positions, save that of First Selectman.  Within days, news broke that our current First Selectwoman, who was the long-standing chair of the finance committee and then chairwoman of the board of the Connecticut Port Authority, was involved with serious problems there.  I felt compelled to run for First Selectman to challenge my opponent’s ethically-challenged leadership.  I undertook a petition drive and gathered twice the amount of signatures required.

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Letter: A Conversation That Needs To Occur

I attended the debate Wednesday evening between Bonnie Reemsnyder and Tim Griswold. In listening carefully, one issue stood out like a sore thumb: Our First Selectwoman repeatedly claimed that recent actions taken by the Town were only conversations based on input from her constituents – the people of Old Lyme. She addressed the questions on Affordable Housing, the Halls Road Improvement Plan, and amalgamating the Old Lyme Police with the East Lyme Police Department in this manner. She kept saying: These were conversations that needed to occur. If you attended the debate or see it televised later and are not

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Letter: After Legal Fight Without Clear Cause, Region 4 Shows Better Judgment

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Two concerns about Region 4 are raised in Julia Werth’s article about recruiting fee-paying Chinese students through SPIRAL. One will likely prove to be unwarranted; the other seems to require a more fulsome explanation. We should not be too worried that Asst. Superintendent Kristina Martineau was reimbursed to house summer campers once the district was contractually obliged to accept them. Region 4’s contract with SPIRAL set a modest reimbursement rate that was available to anyone willing to provide a similar service. Thus far, based on publicly available records, Dr. Martineau doesn’t appear to have received special treatment, nor does she

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Letter: Establish Priorities and Pursue those with Vigor, says Selectman Chris Kerr

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We have spent a lot of time in Old Lyme discussing many big, important and impacting initiatives:  Large plans for Halls Road privately-owned businesses, apartments at I-95 and Route 156 intersection, sewers at Soundview, and merging police with East Lyme, among other issues.  I am asking for your vote November 5th to bring back honest discussion at the start of town initiatives. I strongly support: Halls Road improvements that can get done soon:  sidewalks, crosswalks, planted traffic islands, improved sign guidelines and accommodating zoning.  I do NOT believe the government should act as a master developer of land they do

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Letter: WPCA Minutes Tells Larger Story, Suggest Waterford Sewer Fees Unresolved

WPCA minutes are not always 100% inclusive, but they should be because they are important.  They are the town’s public reporting of how Old Lyme got to the point where it is today – under a state mandate to implement what has now become a $9.5 million dollar burden.  It is disappointing then to see that the CT Examiner has more detailed information about the latest formula to tax selected homeowners $9.5 million, than what’s recorded in the WPCA October 2019 minutes.  Per WPCA minutes, it all started years ago when town leadership signed an agreement to complete a Clean

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Letter: Questions Qualifications of Democratic Candidate for Old Lyme Tax Collector

Much effort goes into the debates and coverage for the seats for Board of Selectmen and Board of Education, but what about the other seats, such as tax collector?  Our current tax collector has a 99% success tax collection rate, what needs to change?   The Democratic nomination has set forth an individual with no municipal experience, whose platform is to bring a more “efficient tax friendly user friendly” process… for the 1%?  Assuming, actually hearing, that she may be looking to implement modern technology such as online bill payment, what is her proposal and cost analysis for such implementation?

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Letter: Late Questions about Public Safety Building in East Lyme

Thank you for your detailed reporting on the status of the East Lyme Public Safety Building. To build on this, I would like to offer my observations, experience and perspective on the process since the beginning of the year. There were four key issues that I offered in early February on the Facebook East Lyme Community Forum. It is self-evident that the Dominion building was not maintained and intentionally allowed to deteriorate until it became “deplorable” in what amounts to a manufactured crisis. East Lyme did not get an independent appraisal by a certified commercial real estate appraiser to validate

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