Even With Route 82 Closed, Customers Flock to Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream

In order to repair bridges over East Branch Eight Mile River and Swamp Brook, the state has closed part of Route 82 in Salem from July 19 until at least September 21, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The project, which was awarded to the Brunalli Construction Company for more than $5 million last year, is scheduled to finish on November 7.  The two bridges, both built in 1924, are located a mere 200 feet apart, and the closure affects just a quarter mile of highway. Still, it has already had an impact on at least one small business:

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Businesses Scramble to Meet Demand as Tourists Flock to Mystic

After more than a year of social distancing, capacity limits and mask mandates as Connecticut fought COVID-19, Mystic’s small business owners were ready for a summer that got back to normal. Instead, they face yet another abnormal summer – but not in a bad way.  Owners of restaurants and shops in the coastal village report far more visitors than in a normal tourist season, which they perceive to be a result of pent-up desire for travel and activities after a year inside.  In January, just two percent of Connecticut residents had received a dose of the vaccine. By April, nearly

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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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Conn College Organizes Interviews with Young and Old on Race, Housing and New London

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When Spencer Lancaster, a World War II Army veteran, bought a house in New London in 1972, the neighbors circulated a petition to keep him out. Lonnie Braxton II, a Navy veteran who tried to buy a house in New London around the same time, watched his friends at Electric Boat get approved for mortgages while his application languished. And the summer after Donetta Hodge bought her home in Waterford in 1976, she woke up one morning to find white plastic cutlery planted all over her front yard.  These are some of the stories that older residents of color are

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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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‘Truth in Education’ Candidates Sweep Guilford GOP Board of Ed Endorsements

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GUILFORD — Republicans voted Thursday evening to place five candidates on the ballot for Board of Education who were endorsed by the organization Truth in Education, a local group that has focused its opposition on Critical Race Theory. Several candidates endorsed by the group said they felt there was a lack of transparency from the current board and that their concerns were not being heard.  The five candidates were chosen out of eight nominees and beat out the three incumbent members on the Board of Education who were up for re-election: Joseph Golino, Ted Sands and Amy Sullivan. Truth in

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Alberti Leads Democratic Slate in East Lyme

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The East Lyme Democratic Party released their municipal slate of candidates for the 2021 November elections on Thursday evening, after considering more than a dozen candidates and dealing with two contested seats.  First Selectman: Camille Alberti Board of Selectmen: Ann Cicchiello, Terence P. Donovan, Daniel Cunningham Tax Collector: Christine Dixon Zoning: Debbie Jett-Harris, Jay Ginsberg (alternate) Planning: Jason Deeble, Spencer Clapp (alternate) Board of Ed: Nickie DeLucco Padilla, Bill Derry, Laura Greenstein Board of Finance: Gary Upton Town Clerk: Karen Galbo (cross endorsed) Board of Assessment Appeals: Gary Cicchiello Town Treasurer: Mike Bekech Four candidates ran for the three Board

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Selectmen Propose COVID Funds for $200,000 Safety Building Roof Replacement

EAST LYME — The Board of Selectmen proposed spending $200,000 in federal COVID relief funds to replace a roof on the new public safety building, saying the existing roof is leaking too much to allow for the police to transfer electronic equipment into the building. The unbudgeted repair is the latest in a series of rising costs to renovate the former Honeywell office building into a public safety complex, which town voters approved bonding $5 million for in 2019, then approved last October bonding an additional $985,000 and $1.2 million in delayed FEMA payments from hurricanes Sandy and Irene. Residents

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Board of Finance Gives Preliminary Approvals for Tax Incentives, Debates Limits

MADISON — The Board of Finance gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to two developers who would become the first beneficiaries of the town’s Tax Incentive Program.  The program was developed in 2018 as a way to encourage new businesses to come to the town, according to First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons. Lyons said at the Board of Finance meeting that the Board of Selectman had received these applications before COVID, but had not been able to move forward because they could not hold a Town Meeting.  Developers who are approved will receive a temporary deferral on taxes accrued from the increase

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Irene Haines on Running for East Haddam First Selectman

Irene Haines, who currently represents Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton in the state legislature, has announced that she is also running this fall on the Republican ticket for East Haddam first selectman. If elected, Haines said she would serve in both capacities. In her first campaign for the General Assembly, Haines defeated Democrat Teresa Govert with 52 percent of the vote in 2018, and was reelected last November with 56 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Judd Melon’s 42 percent. Haines previously ran for town first selectman in 2017.  Haines also works as an insurance agent, serves as a

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Salt Business Makes its Case Wednesday for Blocking State Pier Dredging

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection held a hearing on objections by DRVN, a road salt business being forced off State Pier, regarding a proposed dredging permit for the Connecticut Port Authority – one of the last approvals needed for the proposed $235 million wind project to move forward. Attorney Keith Anthony presented the case for DRVN, based largely on a notice of insufficiency by the department outlining what elements were still missing from the port authority permit application.  In that notice, the port authority was asked to provide information on “water-dependent” users of the port, asking whether they

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Guilford’s Human Rights Commission Proposes Speaker on Critical Race Theory

GUILFORD — The town’s Human Rights Commission is proposing to host an educational session for members of the community interested in learning about Critical Race Theory.   The commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to present the proposal to the Board of Selectmen at their August meeting. The speaker would be Angela Robinson, a professor of Critical Race Theory at Quinnipiac Law School who presented an overview of Critical Race Theory to the commission at the Tuesday meeting. Jo Keogh, chair of the commission, said she hoped the event would “give people information so they can make an informed decision, one way

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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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After 12 Years, Cathy Iino Set to Step Aside as Killingworth First Selectwoman

KILLINGWORTH — After 12 years as first selectwoman, Catherine Iino announced on Thursday that she will not be running this November for another term. She is one of several town leaders in the region who have announced they are not running for another term, including Mark Nickerson in East Lyme, Rob Smith in East Haddam and Susan Bransfield in Portland.  “It was a difficult decision, but I’ve been doing this for 12 years, I have a granddaughter I haven’t really seen over the last year and a half, and I just think it’s time to do other things,” Iino told

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New Clause in State Pier Agreement Offers Out for Eversource and Ørsted

If permit approvals or the final $50 million of bonding for State Pier development are delayed much longer, the partnership of Eversource and Ørsted could take back millions of dollars pledged for the project based on a recent change to the development agreement with the Connecticut Port Authority. An amendment added to the harbor development agreement between Eversource-Ørsted and the Connecticut Port Authority on June 29 allows the partnership to take back whatever portion of $55 million that it contributed to the project, but has not yet been spent, if a series of conditions aren’t met by Aug. 31.  Those

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After 60 Claims of Abuse, the Diocese of Norwich Files for Bankruptcy

The Diocese of Norwich has filed for bankruptcy, saying it was unable to pay damages for over 60 claims of abuse alleged to have taken place at the Mount Saint John School, a former residential school in Deep River. The Diocese announced Thursday that it would be filing under Chapter 11, a provision under the U.S. bankruptcy code that allows businesses to “restructure” their debts in order to pay their creditors. Bishop Michael R. Cote, the head of the diocese, said that filing a Chapter 11 was “the most equitable way” to address the lawsuits.  Cote said that the decision

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Developers Propose Affordable Housing for Latest Banner Estates Plan

EAST HADDAM – A group of New York developers is back with plans to convert a banquet hall into 20 apartments at Banner Country Club Estates, this time with an affordable component that makes the plan more likely to be approved. Anthony and Frank Longhitano, the owners of Banner Estates, are applying under state statute 8-30g to redevelop an empty 28,000 square-foot banquet hall into 20 one-bedroom apartments – of which six units would be income restricted.  The statute requires municipalities where less than 10 percent of the housing is “affordable” to prove that any rejection of a project is

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Madison Plans Referendum on Several Long-Term Projects

The Town of Madison is preparing to hold a referendum on several long-term projects, including the development of the former Academy School into a community center, the sale of the former Island Avenue School and a building project that will overhaul the schools in the local district.  First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons said that she wanted to move the projects forward as soon as possible. She said she wanted to get all of these issues on a single ballot.  “I think it would be the right thing to aspire to that. We need to make decisions and move on and allow

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Clinton Schools Invest in Vocational Classes For Middle and High School Students

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CLINTON — Jessica Flanagan is looking forward to her senior year at The Morgan School where she’ll be working on a catapult that can shoot melons across the river behind the school.  Flanagan said the catapult was inherited from former engineering classes, but still needs design modifications before it’s ready to launch the fleshy projectiles.  And that’s not the only project in the works by engineering students at Clinton’s public high school. In the lab on the bottom floor of the school, students are programming robots, engraving blocks of wood with lasers, and welding together the metal frame of a

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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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Recreational Marijuana Law will Phase in Funding of Social Equity and Substance Abuse Programs

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Connecticut’s new recreational marijuana law went into effect July 1, 2021, and over the next five years, the Office of Fiscal Analysis anticipates that the state will see nearly $75 million in new revenue due to the regulation and taxation of the recreational marijuana market.  Lawmakers spent the first half of the year debating the bill, and many of the points of tension  centered on where that money would go. In Gov. Ned Lamont’s original proposal, half of that revenue would go towards low-income communities in the state, and the other half would have funded the payment in lieu of

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New Region 4 Assistant Superintendent Believes in Teaching Kids to be Critical Thinkers and Collaborators

“When am I going to use this in real life?” Dr. Sarah Brzozowy, Region 4’s new assistant superintendent who is starting today, loves it when her students ask this question. In an interview with CT Examiner in March, Brzozowy explained that the question has been the foundation of her philosophy as a teacher and an educator. Her goal, she said, is to equip her students with practical skills that they can put to use in the real world.  Brzozowy began her career as a middle school science teacher in the Plainville Public Schools, where she spent seven years in the

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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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Nothing Radical About Curriculum or Reforms, Says Guilford Superintendent

What does it mean to teach Moby Dick with cultural sensitivity?  Guilford Public Schools Superintendent Paul Freeman says it’s a matter of perspectives. “In Moby Dick, Queequeg is the only character of color, and Queequeg is presented as a noble savage,” Freeman said.  One way to broaden the lesson, he explained, would be to have students look at whaling in different cultures. Another would be to introduce students to stories of New Englanders of color who also engaged in whaling.  “That doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop teaching Moby Dick or look to pull down statues of Melville,” Freeman

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New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker Makes His Case for a Second Term

Incumbent New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker is running for reelection this November, facing a primary challenge from Karen DuBois Walton, executive director of New Haven’s public housing authority. Elicker defeated three-term incumbent Toni Harp to become mayor in 2019. Connecticut Examiner spoke with Elicker about his platform for improving public safety in New Haven, as well as his platform on education, PILOT, and more.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What have you been doing to improve public safety in New Haven?  We’re seeing a significant uptick in violence around the nation, and New Haven is unfortunately

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State Preps for Federal Funding, to Run Express Trains for 10 Minute Savings on Metro-North

A promised new four-stop commuter express service from New Haven to Grand Central will take 10 fewer minutes from end to end than the current local service on the New Haven Line. The service is expected to start next year. The particulars of funding and scheduling the new service aren’t yet clear, and the cost will depend on how Metro-North fits the additional trains into its schedule, but the Connecticut Department of Transportation plans to run multiple express trains with stops only at New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and Grand Central during peak commuting times next year, Public Transportation Bureau Chief

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