High Bids Stymie Progress on Installing Sewers in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Just two companies bid to install sewers in four beach communities in Old Lyme, and at costs which were significantly in excess of what had been estimated for the project. The bids were $17.5 and $18.5 million — higher than the roughly $10 million estimate from engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, said Scott Boulanger, said director of the Board of Governors of the Miami Beach Association.  Officials from the three chartered beach communities and the town of Old Lyme told CT Examiner that the high bid had triggered a new bidding process that will split the project

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A Minor Tweak that Doubles Funding for Some Regional Schools

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A minor tweak in Connecticut’s funding formula for school districts will more than double the amount that Lyme-Old Lyme schools receive from the state over the next two years.  In 2021, Lyme received $60,216 and Old Lyme received $238,583. According to projections from the School and State Finance Project, Old Lyme’s state funding will increase to $370,531 in 2022 and $502,478 in 2023. Lyme’s will increase to $89,603 in 2022 and $118,989 in 2023.  The increase is a result of a “regional bonus” that gives regional school districts $100 for every student enrolled in a regional school. A previous bonus

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Hack, Corrigan Head to a Tokyo Olympics ‘More Focused on the Competition’

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By the end of the summer, Louis Zubek, the former rowing coach for Lyme-Old Lyme High School, will be able to say that he has coached not one, but two Olympic athletes.  That’s because Lyme-Old Lyme alumni Austin Hack, 29, and Liam Corrigan, 23, will be part of the U.S. men’s eight boat that races on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo at this summer’s Olympic Games.  Although Hack and Corrigan are competing in the same boat, Zubek said it was a shame that he didn’t have the opportunity to coach both athletes together at Lyme-Old Lyme — Hack graduated

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Long River Local Approved by Old Lyme Zoning

OLD LYME — A new retail food shop slated for the little yellow house at 96 Halls Road received approval from the Zoning Commission on Monday night for a special exception change of use from retail to food service. Long River Local will feature coffee, prepared foods, sandwiches, baked goods and local farm produce, with a menu designed by local chef Shelley DeProto, who owned the former Red Hen in Old Saybrook and Lupo in Chester.  A soft opening for the shop is expected in late July, said Walker Potts, owner of Long River Farm, one of the produce suppliers for

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Long River Local in Old Lyme Expected to Open Early July

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OLD LYME — “The menu will be driven by local farms so it will be changing regularly based on the availability of the produce that we will be using,” said Chef Shelley DeProto, who is preparing to open Long River Local, a farm-to-consumer retail food shop at 96 Halls Road.  “We won’t be focused on any one type of cuisine but rather a variety of cuisines to bring out the best in the ingredients,” she said in an email to CT Examiner.  The shop, which is expected to open in early July, will serve breakfast made to order as well

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Drop Masks for the Fall

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LYME-OLD LYME –The Lyme-Old Lyme School District has decided that it will not be requiring students to wear masks in the fall.  Superintendent Ian Neviaser said at a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday that this was part of a plan for in-person re-opening that the district would submit to the state by the end of the month. The plan is a requirement for districts in order to receive funds from the American Rescue Plan, the most recent — and largest —  grant allocations from the federal government.  Neviaser said that the district’s intention was to create a school year

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Witness Stones Arrive in Old Lyme, Project Will Mark Local Slave Narratives

OLD LYME — Up and down Lyme Street, cement and bronze markers arrived today showing where enslaved people once lived in the town of Old Lyme. The markers are part of the Witness Stones Project, which “seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities” through research, education and civic engagement. The project grew out of research on slavery in Connecticut by Dennis Culliton, a local historian and teacher in Guilford, where the first stones in the state were laid. Since then, 12 towns including Old Lyme have joined the project.  In

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School Officials Draw Line Between School Curriculum and Local Activist Preacher

LYME-OLD LYME — After parent complaints and comments by school Superintendent Ian Neviaser were the subject of news coverage on Wednesday, Board of Education Chair Diane Linderman sent an email to local elected school officials on Friday warning board members against speaking with the press. “As per Board policy 1112.2, the Board Chair is the official spokesperson for the Board and the Superintendent is the official spokesperson for the district. If there is an issue that you feel needs to be addressed in the media, you need to contact me or Ian and an official statement/press release will be drafted

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Claims Spark Complaints from Parents, Sharp Denials from Lyme-Old Lyme Superintendent

LYME-OLD LYME — Claims by Rev. Steve Jungkeit in a number of recent press stories have sparked complaints from local parents, and sharp denials by school Superintendent Ian Neviaser.  In a profile, Jungkeit told The Day that he was collaborating with the district on an “educational initiative” to “teach the history of racism and slavery in the area.” Weeks earlier in a news story published by the Middletown Press, he made similar claims.  In response to a query, Neviaser replied, “No. It is not correct. We have no association with Mr. Jungkeit.” One member of the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of

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A Contentious Meeting as Halls Road Committee Debates Speed and Scope of Planning

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OLD LYME — In light of a controversial gas station proposal that was withdrawn on Monday, and another service plaza rumored to be underway, the Halls Road Improvements Committee grappled with how to expedite zoning changes at a virtual meeting Thursday night.  The discussion, which became contentious at times, followed a presentation from BSC Group of phase two of the Halls Road master plan. The conceptual drawings showed town investments along the Halls Road right-of-way and municipally-owned land, including a sidewalk-bikeway beginning at Lyme St. that would entail building a boardwalk in one area and a bow bridge to cross

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Schools Across the Region Outline Varying Ideas for Spending Federal Dollars

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School districts across southeastern Connecticut are in the process of drawing up plans for how they intend to spend millions of dollars of federal funding that will be available over the next two years. The money comes in the form of two anticipated grants, known as ESSER II and the American Rescue Plan.  The proposals include a variety of projects, from outdoor classrooms to bilingual therapists, summer enrichment and chromebooks.  Here is a rundown, district by district:  Lyme-Old Lyme Ian Neviaser, superintendent at Lyme-Old Lyme schools, said the district won’t be using the combined $1.48 million in federal aid for

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Old Lyme Proposes Smaller Budget, Small Hike to Mill Rate

OLD LYME — At Monday’s public hearing for the 2021-22 budget, the first selectman’s proposed budget included a decrease in funding requests that was offset by a decrease in revenues and other factors, resulting in a proposed mill rate increase from 23.20 to 23.30 per $1,000 of assessed property value for the coming fiscal year.  David Kelsey, chair of the Board of Finance, presented the preliminary budget, which will go to a public vote on May 17.  In his presentation, Kelsey gave the following examples of how the increased mill rate could affect homeowners’ property taxes: House Appraised Value Assessed

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Old Lyme Officials Debate New Ideas for Saving Trees Along Ferry Road

OLD LYME — With maps and a tape measure in hand, Tree Commission members walked a section of the south side of Ferry Road Tuesday afternoon to inspect the right-of-way where a new sidewalk could be installed and to count the number of trees that would need to be removed.  One tree that was in poor condition because it had been trimmed unevenly to avoid the power lines would be taken down, said Joanne Camillo, chair of the commission.  “It’s really half a tree,” she said. In addition, two weeping cherry trees would likely be removed to construct a sidewalk

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Seek Donations for Teachers and Staff

LYME-OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme School District is asking for donations for its teachers and staff as an expression of appreciation for keeping the school open the entire year. “This has been a truly extraordinary year for us, and the fact that this district has been able to have students in person is a monumental feat,” said Diane Linderman, Chair of the district’s Board of Education.  Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, said that the district was able to offer in-person learning for the vast majority of the school year, which set it apart from many other districts.

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Essex Savings Bank Meets Opposition to Plans for Halls Road Service Plaza

OLD LYME — At its Thursday meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee addressed two officers of Essex Savings Bank concerning the committee’s opposition to a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store proposed for a property on Halls Road that is owned by the bank.  “One of our biggest concerns is putting in a gas station on this property goes in exactly the opposite direction of what we were trying to get to,” said committee Chair Edie Twining, who said it was unlikely that the property will ever be redeveloped for another use once the infrastructure for a gas

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Neighboring Businesses Raise Sharp Questions About Proposed Gas Station on Halls Road

OLD LYME — Two longtime business owners on Halls Road are concerned about the potential consequences of a proposed Big Y Express gas station and convenience store slated for connecting properties at 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road. The application for the project is on the agenda of tonight’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission special meeting at 5:30 via Webex. The commission will decide whether or not the project will have significant impact on the wetlands and vernal pool on the properties. If the commission decides the project will have significant impact then a public hearing is required no

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Town Officials Debate Sidewalk Alternatives for Ferry Road

OLD LYME — At their Thursday meeting, members of the town’s Tree Commission considered an alternative plan for Ferry Road sidewalks that would save about 10 trees slated for removal by moving the sidewalk to the opposite side of the road.  First Selectman Tim Griswold, who attended the commission meeting, compared the south side of Ferry Road where a privet hedge, a vinyl fence and potentially two trees would need to be removed, to the north side of the street where 10 of 13 trees would need to be taken down to accommodate the sidewalk replacement project.  “If we relocated

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Calling Ethics Commission ‘Totally Dysfunctional,’ Chair Proposes New Rules

OLD LYME — The new chair of the town’s Ethics Commission, Jane Cable, has requested increased funding to hire independent legal counsel to rewrite the ethics code for the town.  Cable, who was appointed to the commission and became chair on Dec. 2, 2020, asked the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday for an increase in the commission budget from $1,900 to $7,500 to cover legal costs.  “The Ethics Commission when I joined was totally dysfunctional because the code doesn’t give directions for a well-functioning Ethics Commission. It needs more than minor revisions,” said Cable. “It also needs oversight by the

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Sidewalk Project on Ferry Road in Old Lyme to Take Down Adjacent Trees

OLD LYME — Twelve trees along Ferry Road from Lyme St. to Rt. 156 have been tagged for potential removal — with some to be replaced — to accommodate the town’s construction of new, wider sidewalks. The root systems of a number of Norway Maples and Zelcovas, as well as other tree species, have caused portions of the sidewalk to buckle over time, which has created a safety hazard according to First Selectman Tim Griswold. At three feet in width, the sidewalk also does not meet the four-foot standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On a site walk set

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Amtrak Adds Clearance to Connecticut River Bridge in Response to Local Concerns

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OLD LYME — In response to concerns from the maritime community concerning vertical waterway clearance, Amtrak has redesigned a portion of a new bridge that will replace the 1907 bascule bridge that extends across the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.  The vertical clearance underneath the existing bridge is about 17.75 between spans and close to 18 feet under the movable span, according to an email from Craig Rolwood, a rail practice project manager with Hardesty & Hanover LLC, which is a consultant to Amtrak. The new bridge, an $400 million project expected to be completed in 2030,

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Big Y Plans Convenience Mart and Gas Station on Halls Road, Sparks Committee Discussion

OLD LYME — At its Thursday night meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee discussed potential plans for a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store on Halls road, sparking a discussion regarding zoning and an effort to walk back committee comments. Edie Twining, committee chair, who shared the information with the committee, said the Big Y company was interested in purchasing 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road (Route 156), both owned by Essex Savings Bank, which is adjacent to the properties.  The two connecting parcels would provide an “easy-in easy-out” traffic flow from Halls Road to Route 156

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Hearing on Thursday for Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development

OLD LYME — The Planning Commission will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. to consider the adoption of the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development.  To join the meeting, click on the webex link on the meeting agenda. The meeting access code is 179 105 9119 and the password is YsbhfM47Z2A. To join by phone, dial 408-418-9388 and use access code 173 8212293. By law, the town must revise the plan every 10 years and last did so in 2010. The deadline for Old Lyme to complete its revision was December but the state

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Selectmen to Consider Compromise for Public Access to Tantummaheag Landing

OLD LYME — Vehicular access and parking  — with new regulations and signage ––  will continue to be available at the historic town-owned Tantummaheag Landing if the Board of Selectmen approves recommendations from the Harbor Management Commission.  “There is really no solution that I can see that will make everyone 100 percent happy, but I think this is as close to that as I can see us developing,” said Steven Ross, vice chair of the Harbor Management Commission, at Tuesday night’s meeting.  In December, the adjacent property owners of 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road, George Frampton and Carla D’Arista, blocked

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Lyme-Old Lyme Board Approves Turf Field, By a 6 to 3 Vote

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education voted on Wednesday to approve the installation of an artificial turf field, with one modification: swapping the controversial crumb rubber infill for what was described as a more environmentally friendly substance.  Diane Linderman, chair of the Board of Education, said that the Facilities Committee had met in December and changed the plan for crumb rubber infill to a product called Brockfill, which are small organic pellets engineered from southern pine.  Neviaser said he hoped that the change would address some of the concerns that people had raised at previous Board of

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Town Plan Outlines Changes for Housing, Retail, and Coastal Properties in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — A draft of the town’s 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development is scheduled for a public hearing and potential approval by the town’s Planning Commission on Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. via Webex.  The state requires that towns review and update their plans at least once every decade, and the current plan dates to 2010. The draft includes substantive changes to the town’s approach to raising structures along the shoreline, to the town’s housing and zoning, and to the town’s long-standing preference for local shoppers along the commercial district on Halls Road. The plan also reiterates a

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Mervin Francis Roberts, 1922 – 2020

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With his wife, the former Edith May Foster, Mervin Francis Roberts first came to Old Lyme in 1960. He and Edith May became active in church, government, fire department and town life. Merv was born in New York City in 1922. He was a Naval Officer during WWII. He served in the Navy for four years, and then in the Reserve. He was awarded 4 campaign medals, two with Combat Stars. After his service, he returned to complete a degree in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.  He served as a Merchant Marine Officer, Scout Master and Commissioner, Town Shellfish Commissioner,

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New Homeowner Limits Access to a 319-year-old Public Landing and Sparks Row

OLD LYME — Parking and a historic right of way to a public landing on the Connecticut River dating to 1701 were blocked by an nearby landowner placing boulders to limit access in November. The town-owned landing, parking area and right of way are wedged between two parcels of land — 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road — that were purchased by George Frampton and Carla D’Arista in September. “The issue is not about public access. We love people walking down the lane. We want to maintain public access. But the issue is about the use and parking of vehicles,” said

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Housing Plans Revived for Halls Road Redevelopment

OLD LYME — According to a real estate consultant hired to work on a masterplan for Halls Road, strong market demand for apartment rentals suggests that multi-family residential construction would be the most desirable option for redeveloping Halls Road. “There’s only one apartment for rent in all of Old Lyme. To get this, I went to realtor.com, Zillow, rent.com, apartments.com, and I interviewed, I think, eight different brokers. There’s one apartment, I mean, talk about a demand,” Maura Cochran, of Bartram & Cochran, told the Halls Road Improvements Committee during a presentation via zoom Monday night.  “There’s only one apartment

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Secures Zoning Approval for Lyme Street Site

OLD LYME — The Zoning Commission has approved a special permit application for the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center to relocate to 100 Lyme Street, the current location of the Bee and Thistle Inn.  At its virtual meeting Monday night, the commission approved a special permit application and municipal coastal site plan review application to permit the use of the property for nonprofit and educational activities.  Claudia Weicker, the center’s board chair, said a condition of the purchase agreement of the inn was approval of the special permit application before the end of the year, which Weicker said was the

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Griswolds Add Solar Array for Tesla Trucks to Deliver Plants Across New England

OLD LYME — Matt and Martin Griswold, two brothers growing outdoor perennials, herbs and vegetables to sell wholesale across southern New England, are installing solar panels capable of generating 100 kilowatts of electricity that they will use to power Tesla electric trucks to carry their shipments. Soon the sun that helps grow the flowers and vegetables on Judge’s Farm will also power the trucks carrying them to buyers from Westchester County to Cape Cod. The farm currently uses a fleet of five diesel-powered trucks to carry shipments, Matt Griswold said, but they run through a lot of expensive fuel, frequently

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