Without Detailed Designs,’Smoke on the Water,’ Hits Turbulence in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — Smoke on the Water, a 300-seat outdoor restaurant slated for the former Dock and Dine property on College Ave., hit an obstacle Monday night when the Architectural Review Board agreed that the project application was incomplete and asked for a landscape plan that complied with regulations, elevations of the food trailers, and a site plan showing the locations of tables, tents and other equipment.  The board’s questions began during a zoom presentation about the restaurant — which will use towable trailers for food prep, storage, and bar service — by Ed Cassella, an attorney of Old Saybrook

More

Old Saybrook Commission Votes 5-2 Against Pursuing Allegations of Misconduct

/

OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s Police Commission voted 5-2 on Monday night not to pursue an investigation into the conduct of Chief of Police Michael Spera in response to allegations made by former officers in the Old Saybrook Police Department.  Alfred “Chub” Wilcox made a motion to request that the Board of Selectmen fund the commission to hire a lawyer with “expertise in constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The lawyer would interview former and current members of the department, assess the legality of Spera’s orders and practices and report the findings confidentially to the commission.  Wilcox and Renee

More

Saybrook Point Restaurant Clears First Hurdle, Meets Favorable Response

OLD SAYBROOK — Smoke on the Water, a 300-seat outdoor restaurant slated for the former waterfront site of Dock & Dine, received the first of three necessary regulatory approvals at Monday night’s meeting of the town’s Zoning Commission. The Zoning Commission unanimously approved a zoning text amendment that will allow an outdoor restaurant for a maximum of 180 calendar days in the SP-2 zone, known as Saybrook Point.  The amendment created a regulation that allows the applicant, Jon Kadama, owner of the Dock & Dine parcel at 145 College St., and chef Colt Taylor, to apply for a special exception —

More

‘A lot more moving parts,’ Old Saybrook Official Says of Restaurant Approval

OLD SAYBROOK — A zoning text amendment change is one of three approvals needed for Smoke on the Water, an outdoor restaurant proposed for the former Dock and Dine site at 145 College St.  Christina Costa, zoning enforcement officer for the town, said the text amendment on the Zoning Commission agenda tonight must receive approval and an effective date must be set before the commission can consider the applicant’s request for a special exception for an outdoor restaurant.  “You can’t approve the special exception without the regulation being approved first,” said Costa. The applicant, Jon Kodama, owner of the Dock

More

Public Weighs in on Proposed 300-seat Outdoor Restaurant in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — The proposal for Smoke on the Water, a 300-seat outdoor restaurant slated for the site of the former Dock & Dine at 145 College St, has attracted significant public attention, both positive and negative, as the project works its way through the town’s approval process for zoning and planning. The plan calls for two large charcoal smokers centered around a fire pit and eight high-tech trailers — two equipped for food prep, one set up for alcohol service, one to house portable restrooms, and others to store supplies. The trailers would be on-site for 180 days or

More

Old Saybrook Reports Healthy Finances, Growing Grand List Heading into 2022

OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s Board of Selectmen approved a $47,187,717 budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of $167,292, or .36% over last year.  First Selectman Carl Fortuna said the town’s stable financial situation allowed Old Saybrook to project a slight decrease in the mill rate — from its current 20.05 to between 20.00 and 20.04. Last year, the mill rate increased from 19.75 to 20.05. Fortuna said this year is the second time in four years that the town has been able to lower the mill rate.  Fortuna said that in spite of the coronavirus, the town saw

More

Amtrak Settles ADA Claims For Stations in Connecticut and Rhode Island

//

Amtrak riders with disabilities may qualify in certain cases for monetary damages after the passenger rail service settled claims that dozens of stations across the country, including stations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, failed to meet legal standards for accessibility. Three stations in Connecticut — Windsor, Windsor Locks and Old Saybrook — and one in Westerly, Rhode Island were part of the settlement that included 78 stations across the country.  As part of the settlement, Amtrak agreed to fix problems of accessibility, and pay $2.25 million into a fund paying out claims to people with disabilities who were harmed by

More

Police Commission Votes on Personnel Query

OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s Police Commission voted 6 to 1 on Monday night to ask Chief of Police Michael Spera to compile a public report on the number of officers who have left the police department in the past 11 years.  The request was in response to a Jan. 12 letter from the Old Saybrook Board of Selectmen requesting that Spera produce a document providing the sworn personnel who have left the department, the length of time they remained and the reasons they provided for leaving. The selectmen asked that the document include officers’ exit interviews and any other

More

Outdoor Dining Proposed for Dock & Dine Property by Local Restauranteurs

OLD SAYBROOK — Two restauranteurs are proposing to open a seasonal outdoor restaurant using towable food trailers at the former Dock & Dine property at 145 College St near the mouth of the Connecticut River. “Essentially they’re like trailers, like a food truck hall, but the new ones are very sleek looking they’re very modernized,” said Colt Taylor, chef of The Essex and Los Charros Cantina in Essex, who is working on the project with Jon Kodama, owner of the property since 1987 and managing partner of JTK Management Restaurants, the group that owns the former Dock & Dine as

More

Letter and Closed-door Discussion Spark Call for Closer Look at Police Claims

OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s police commission has decided not to take action on a complaint from a former sergeant in the Old Saybrook Police Department who requested in a letter that the commission investigate what he called a “toxic and hostile work environment.”  The commission voted 5-2 to not take action on the complaint, with commissioners Renee Shippee and Alfred Wilcox providing the dissenting votes. Officer William Bergantino, who authored the letter, began working at the Old Saybrook Police Department in 1997, and remained there for 23 years. In 2019, Bergantino moved to another department, taking a reduction in

More

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

//

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,

More

Police Commission Approves Budget, After Discussing Contracts and New Initiatives

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Police Commission voted 5-2 to approve a budget of $5,333,360 for the town’s police department on Monday night — an increase of $95,088 over last year. The draft budget will next be sent to the town’s board of selectmen for a final vote. The budget includes a 2.25 percent raise in salaries, an increase in workman’s compensation and an increase in retirement benefits for officers as negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement with the police union. Dispatchers will also receive a two percent salary increase.  Other increases in the budget came from unfunded mandates

More

Small Gyms and Large Chains Make a Case as Healthy Outlets During the Pandemic

/

As the public debates the role that gyms may play in the spread of COVID-19, small local fitness centers are saying that their businesses are fundamentally different than large chains, as large chains assure the safety of their members. “Not all gyms are created equal,” said Sharon Marr, manager at UP Fitness, a privately-owned gym in Stonington.  At the start of the pandemic, Marr said, UP Fitness had to completely change its business model. They relocated to a much smaller facility and reduced their services to private classes of 10-15 people and one-on-one personal training. During the summer, they held

More

Did Journalist Report Crimes?

/

This reporter claims she was given information about illegal activity on behalf of cops in Old Saybrook. Did she report these crimes to the state’s attorney as she should? Did either of the ex-cops sign an affidavit or contact the state’s attorney as they would legally be required to? Does this report realize she published confessions from those 2 cops where they admitted they did something illegal? Crazy that all this was published without any fact-checking Jim BartellOld Saybrook

More

Officers Say Toxic Environment Drives Departures from Old Saybrook Police

/

OLD SAYBROOK — Since 2009, staff and officer turnover at the Old Saybrook Police Department has far outstripped other departments in the region — a fact that former officers attribute to a toxic work environment within the department.  Although the Old Saybrook Police Department has not provided CT Examiner with employment data requested in a Nov. 12 Freedom of Information request, a number of former officers, as well as past and present members of the town’s police commission, provided documents and spoke on the record to explain and confirm the unusual employment data. A document compiled by a former officer

More

Old Saybrook’s Police Commission Opts Out of Active Oversight

OLD SAYBROOK — Last month, the Old Saybrook Police Commission codified the town’s approach to handling civilian complaints, which gives the chief of police direct oversight and effective control of letters addressed to the commission and commission members regarding personnel matters. That approach was called into question earlier this year, after a letter of complaint postmarked March 2nd  was not circulated to commission members until September, according to commission member Renee Shippee. The complaint was from a man who was pulled over in Old Saybrook in February along with his 13-year-old daughter. The man asked that his name not be

More

Historic District Plans Preservation of Hand-painted Signs in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Historic District Commission is raising funds to preserve and restore three historic advertisements hand-painted on the side of the Sheffield building at the corner of Main and Sheffield Street.  The red brick-and-mortar building, a historic landmark constructed by Amos Sheffield in 1853, is the oldest brick commercial building in town. From 1907-1945, it was the Stokes Brothers’ Grocery Store. The store was a place where locals would pick up their mail, sit around on pickle barrels and hear the latest news. They could have fresh vegetables, groceries, hardware and paint delivered in a Ford

More

Sun Communities Acquires 18 Marinas Across Connecticut and Rhode Island in $2.1 Billion Deal with Safe Harbor

/

Sun Communities, a real estate investment trust based in Southfield, Michigan, announced the purchase of 104 marinas in 22 states — including 18 marinas across Connecticut and Rhode Island — in a deal valued at $2.1 billion in cash and stock. The marinas, currently owned and operated by Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas, include locations in Branford, Deep River, Essex, Mystic, Old Saybrook, Stamford, Stratford and Westbrook, and locations in Rhode Island including Barrington, Newport, Jamestown and Wickford, Warwick, and Portsmouth. With 40,000 members in its network, Safe Harbor is the largest marina enterprise in the United States.  In a conference

More

‘Living Shoreline’ off Fenwick Approved, Includes Granite, Dune and Tidal Marsh

More than a year after the waters of the Long Island Sound breached a sand dune offshore of Fenwick, the Lynde Point Land Trust living shoreline project was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the local zoning commission. The project will span 450 feet of coastline and include granite sills, new fill, tidal marsh creation, a restored dune with native plantings and a cobble beach in front of the property. The project will also relocate Crab Creek within the marsh in an attempt to prevent future damage to the dunes. “The

More

Beach Access Activists Protest Private Fence Abutting the Old Saybrook Town Beach

OLD SAYBROOK — An illegal fence, the town line, the mean high water mark and the broader issue of public access to beaches and Long Island Sound were the focus of a second “sit-in” protest next to the town beach Thursday. “This has been a long-time problem for years — that fence comes and goes but it’s here every year. This year it seems to have gotten bigger and it’s farther out,” said Vicki Taccardi, who grew up in Old Saybrook.  Taccardi was one of a dozen protesters gathered inside a fence erected by the homeowner of 99 Plum Bank

More

The Kate Announces High School Winners of the Inaugural Kate Scholarship for 2020

The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center has announced Old Saybrook High School seniors Maggie Maselli and Timothy Thomas as the recipients of the inaugural Kate Scholarship for 2020. The scholarship was created in honor of The Kate’s 10th anniversary and recognizes high school seniors who live in Old Saybrook and demonstrate a passion and participation in the arts. Maselli, who will be pursing a double major in physics and music at Hamilton College in the fall, said that winning the scholarship was recognition of the hard work she had put in over the years for a variety of groups and

More

Inland Wetlands Considers Complex off Spencer Plains Road

The Old Saybrook Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission agreed to move forward with an area electrical contractor’s application to build an office and warehouse building off of Interstate 95. The commission unanimously voted to accept and consider John Muir’s application for approval to build a 12,000 square foot building to serve as office and warehouse space, and a parking lot within 100 feet of wetlands on property he has contracted to buy at the corner of Spencer Plains and Buck Hill roads, just north of I-95 at exit 66. Muir said that he will use some of the space for

More

Letter: A Shout-out for Gladeview in Old Saybrook

/

I wanted to write and tell about the place my Dad lives at, Gladeview in Old Saybrook. In March of 2016, my Dad was sent to Gladeview from the VA, we chose this place because of out of all the places we visited in Guilford, Madison and Old Saybrook, this was the cleanest! My Dad, Al Paier, suffers from COPD, Emphysema and chronic lung disease. He has the best care, great friends and most of all, he hardly has bronchitis anymore, staying there has definitely extended his life. No doubt, he would not be here if it wasn’t for Gladeview

More

Nursing Home Deaths in Old Saybrook Point to Deeper Policy and Care Concerns Across Connecticut

/

OLD SAYBROOK — Over the last three weeks, 69 residents have tested positive and 19 have died from COVID-19 at Apple Rehab, a 120-bed care facility. That’s 74 percent of the total cases and 95 percent of the deaths in Old Saybrook as of June 9, according to the Connecticut River Area Health District.  Although the results of a recent inspection, part of the state’s effort to inspect all nursing homes for deficiencies in health and safety standards during the COVID epidemic, are still pending, the facility has been cited and fined a number of times in the past. In

More

Penny Lane Pub Owner Alex Foulkes Receives Architectural Approval for Post Road Restaurant “Maple & Main”

/

OLD SAYBROOK — The Town of Old Saybrook Architectural Review Board approved the design proposal for a new restaurant, “Maple & Main” on Boston Post Road. Alex Foulkes, owner of the Penny Lane Pub on Main Street, has proposed converting an existing one-story commercial office building, located at 813 Boston Post Road, into a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch with occasional banquet services after normal business hours, according to the application materials. Foulkes requested approval for 75 seats, including 63 seats in the main interior dining room, seven seats under the front covered porch and five additional outdoor seats. The

More

Old Saybrook to Purchase 20 Adirondack Chairs for the Town Green

The Town of Old Saybrook announced the Economic Development Commission will be purchasing 20 Adirondack chairs to “provide support for restaurants and provide additional seating,” according to Susie Beckman, economic development director for Old Saybrook. The chairs will be placed on the town green. “This is a concept that I had seen a couple of years ago that worked in another town where they were just doing some placemaking,” said Beckman. “By just adding some conversational areas with Adirondack chairs, it encouraged people to come and sit.” To start, the commission will arrange 20 chairs in four groups of five

More

A Closer Look at the Latest Plans to Replace the Connecticut River Bridge

//

I will cut to the chase. The plan currently on the table to replace the existing historic Connecticut River Railroad Bridge looks to be a good one, but let me break it down to the essentials… Need Why is Amtrak planning to spend an estimated $400 million ($759 million by other estimates) on a new crossing at the mouth of the Connecticut? Well, the existing bridge, which dates to 1907, carries about 56 trains each day on the Northeast Corridor across the Connecticut River — 38 Amtrak intercity trains, 12 Shore Line East commuter trains, and 6 freight trains —

More

$400 Million Connecticut River Railroad Bridge Replacement Takes a Step Forward, Design Details Announced

//

A significant but relatively little known plan is underway to replace the aging railroad lift bridge that spans the Connecticut River between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. The estimated $400 million project, proposed by Amtrak, would construct a new bascule bridge 52 feet south of the existing structure. The original bridge, which dates back to 1907, is an essential link on the Northeast Rail Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. and would remain operational during construction. The existing structure will be largely removed once the new bridge is completed.  Though few town officials seemed to know about the plan, it resurfaced

More

U.S. News Ranks Groton Magnet 10th in State, Lyme-Old Lyme 17th, Old Saybrook 22nd

/

Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton ranks 10th in the state and 532nd nationally of public high schools according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings. “LEARN’s Marine Science Magnet High School is a special community of intensely committed educators, students, and families,” said LEARN Associate Executive Director Dr. Ryan Donlon. “It is an honor to have the hard work and partnership of these three groups be recognized by U.S. News & World Report.” In Connecticut, 207 high schools were analyzed for the report and nationally 17,792 schools were included. The report highlighted Marine Science Magnet’s 100%

More

Women’s Business Development Council Reaches out to Small Businesses in Need

OLD SAYBROOK — The one mile stretch of Main Street is peppered with women-owned businesses getting hammered by the health — turned economic — pandemic and the Women’s Business Development Council wants to help. “If the women-owned businesses in our town, along Main Street and Boston Post Road, were to go away, it would drastically change the town,” said Old Saybrook Economic Development Director Susan Beckman. “These small businesses are incredibly important to not only our town character, but also the local economy.” Main Street is a microcosm within a macrocosm, according to Beckman. Much like the rest of the

More
1 2 3