Douglas Nettleton Talks Development, Sewers and the Problem of Sump Pumps in Mystic

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STONINGTON — Private sump pump outflows into municipal sewer systems are illegal but the town is offering Mystic sewer district customers “sump pump amnesty” for a short time.  “We need to understand the breadth of the problem at this point and we have no idea how bad the problem is,” said Stonington Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) director Douglas Nettleton, in an interview with CT Examiner staff on Wednesday. “We need people to cooperate with us. We’re going to try to help them figure out a solution.”  As part of the amnesty program, running from August 15 to Sept. 30,

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East Lyme Has Highest Accident Rate On I-95 East of New Haven… Why?

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IN THE REGION — In 2017, East Lyme had more crashes per car traveling through Connecticut on I-95 than any other town east of New Haven. For every 146,619 cars that drove through East Lyme in 2017, there was one crash, bringing the total number of crashes to 177, according to data from the Connecticut Crash Repository hosted by the University of Connecticut. Only two other towns in the region had such frequent car crashes – Groton at 172,711 cars per crash and Stonington at 167,319 cars per crash. Most rates are much lower, near or well above 300,000 cars

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Economic Development Commission Launches Survey of Old Lyme Residents

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OLD LYME -- The Economic Development Commission has launched a survey to find out residents’ and business owners’ thoughts and ideas about development in Old Lyme. “This is an opportunity for the EDC -- we’re asking the public for their input and this is one of the strategies we’ve been talking about since I’ve been on the EDC,” said EDC Co-chair Justin Fuller at the commission’s meeting at Town Hall Wednesday afternoon. “It’s one thing to come in here and talk about what we think and what we hear from people and it’s another to try to engage the real

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Sharp Disparities and Top-10 Scores for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Latest Figures

IN THE REGION — Across southeastern Connecticut, on average about 50 percent of students meet or exceed expectations on the Math SAT, and 73 percent meet or exceed expectations on the English Language Arts — tests used to judge school district performance statewide since 2016. New London and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools occupy opposite ends of the spectrum, not only for the region, but for the state. In New London, just 31.5 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on the English SAT and only 16.3 percent in math. In Lyme and Old Lyme those numbers were 85.9 and 75 percent

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Secretary of the State Certifies Tim Griswold as Republican Candidate for First Selectman of Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — With 189 valid signatures, the secretary of the state’s office has certified Tim Griswold as a candidate for first selectman of Old Lyme. He will appear on the ballot for the November 5 election as the Republican Party candidate. “I am gratified by the support of Old Lyme republicans and look forward to beginning the campaign that will promote our outstanding slate of candidates,” Griswold said. If elected, Griswold said he will focus on wrapping up a number of ongoing projects, including of the combining police forces with East Lyme, sewering the Old Lyme beach communities, the

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Zoning Hearings Are Final Hurdle for Mixed-Use Affordable Housing in Old Saybrook

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OLD SAYBROOK — A proposed mixed-use affordable housing development in Old Saybrook, Hanford Commons, with 14 apartments, space for a restaurant, office and retail has passed the town’s architectural review board, a review by the regional health district and the planning commission with favorable recommendations. Now, the project sits on the desk of the zoning commission, the final hurdle before the project receives the green light from the town.  “The only way we could say no, was if it was a matter of public health and safety,” said Bob Friedmann, chair of the zoning commission, at a public hearing on

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Town Meeting With Two Votes And Two Different Results Erupts in Chaos in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The atmosphere of a Special Town Meeting erupted into shouting and chaos Monday night after a recount on a vote concerning bridge funding took several turns that some residents said were unfair. The contested vote feeds into broader tensions in the community concerning the fairness of the upcoming sewer referendum. First on the meeting agenda was the $9.5 million sewer referendum, slated for Aug. 13, which will authorize the town to issue bonds, notes and other obligations, to finance the appropriation for Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B. Second was the question of appropriating $328,500

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Incoming Kindergarten Enrollment for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Bucks Statewide Decline

LYME-OLD LYME — Over the last five years, the student population of Lyme – Old Lyme Schools has fallen 10 percent. Total enrollment, according to the state Department of Education, has fallen to 1,263 students, and the incoming first grade class has just 60 students. But… the incoming kindergarten class has jumped to 77 students. “I think we are starting to see things going the other direction,” said Ian Neviaser, the superintendent of schools for Lyme-Old Lyme. “Last year we gained 33 kids during the school year. That’s unheard of. We’ve never had that sort of interest in the schools.”

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Mervin Roberts Reflects on Decades of Opposition to Sewers for Southeast Connecticut

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OLD LYME — For more than 25 years, Mervin Roberts has been urging citizens as well as local and state officials to avoid sewers along southeastern Connecticut’s rivers and shoreline.  Roberts, 97, is a former chair of Old Lyme’s Shellfish Commission, served for 10 years as a selectman and was a founding member of the Conservation Commission.  He was also a founding member of the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), where he served for several decades. As chair of the WPCA, he wrote and published several pamphlets on septic waste treatment in Old Lyme. He previously studied water and

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MacCurdy-Salisbury Foundation Gives over $100,000 to Lyme – Old Lyme Students in Fall Scholarships

OLD LYME — At 44, Lesley Phaneuf decided it was time to return to school. “Sometimes you go through your life and you do things to get by and then you think, what do I really want to try doing for the rest of my life,” Phaneuf said. In her case, Phaneuf, who has worked the last few years as an emergency medical technician, decided she really wanted to pursue a career as a radiology technician, beginning with the radiology program at Middlesex Community College. She will be the first in her family to attend college. “It would open up

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Tim Griswold Starts Petition Drive to Appear on Ballot for First Selectman of Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — With only five days left before the deadline to submit a petition, Tim Griswold has begun collecting signatures to appear on the ballot in November for first selectman of Old Lyme. Griswold, who previously served as first selectman for 14 years until losing a 2011 election to current incumbent Bonnie Reemsnyder, decided to run again he said to make sure that all town residents have a choice when they go to the polls this year. “I think really giving people a choice is quite important. I know when I did seven terms, I think one of them

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Old Lyme WPCA Chair Prendergast Talks Funding and the Future of Sound View

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OLD LYME — With the August 13 referendum on funding sewers in Sound View Beach approaching, Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) Chairman Richard Prendergast stopped by CT Examiner’s office Tuesday to clarify concerns and answer questions.  “There’s no certainty of that passing in Old Lyme, the default is to not pass. If you’re from Old Lyme you know that we don’t do things like this too often,” he said.  The referendum asks whether the town should bond $9.5 million to build sewers in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B, part of a broader arrangement, partially reimbursed by a 25

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DEEP: Old Lyme Not on Clean Water Funds List, Not Under Deadline for Sewers

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OLD LYME — A state official confirmed Monday that the town is not currently on the state’s Clean Water Funds priority list to receive a 25 percent grant for the Sound View Beach sewer project, but once the town approves bond funding, the project will be eligible for 25 percent grants in the design and construction phases.  The town is also not under a deadline this summer that would result in a loss of grant funding, according to George Hicks, Supervising Sanitary Engineer of the Connecticut Department of  Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, who

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Worth the drive… Croissants from Loveridge Place in Pawcatuck.

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IN THE REGION  — The sheeter, or laminating machine, where Carla Gennuso creates doughs for croissants stood on its own in the center of her bakery, Loveridge Place, at 2 Prospect Street in Pawcatuck, as she talked with customers and staff Friday morning.  “That can really crank out a lot of work,” said Gennuso, the founder and executive chef. With the machine, Gennuso creates yeast-leavened laminated dough used for viennoiserie, including croissants, one of her specialties. Her plain croissant is perhaps the best we’ve had in our travels between New Haven and Providence — with three or four turns, that

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Pilot Program Tests On-Demand Transit for Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex and Centerbrook

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Estuary Transit District’s Xtramile service pilot will continue to provide an on-demand, alternative transportation option for an additional three months to residents and visitors in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex and Centerbrook with financial assistance from the Department of Transportation.    “We are geared around the first mile, last mile dilemma surrounding train stations,” said Joe Comerford, the executive director of Estuary Transit District. “Trains do a great job of getting people to the station, but what do they do after that, especially in unwalkable areas.” Estuary Transit provides an 8-passenger bus with wheelchair accessibility unavailable from ride-sharing services like Uber or

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Clinton to Replace Board of Selectmen with Town Council and Town Manager

On November 19, 2019, the Town of Clinton will become the 31st town in Connecticut, and the second on the shoreline, to adopt the town manager form of government. “The council-town manager form of government is the most popular form of government across the country, except in some areas like Connecticut,” said Doug Thomas, the recruiter for the Clinton town manager through Strategic Government Resources. Clinton, like most towns in the state, has operated with a first selectman, or other elected official, as chief executive for well over 150 years, but in recent years, frequent turnover and the growing demands

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New London Officials Talk Streamlining, Building Relationships and Blight

NEW LONDON — Seated around a conference table at Quinn & Hary Marketing at 48 State Street were Felix Reyes, director of planning and economic development for New London, Tom Bombria, community development and economic development coordinator, and Omi Morales, the city’s new blight enforcement officer. Three local officials — representing voices of administration, funding and boots-on-the-ground — gathered Friday afternoon to talk with CT Examiner about blight issues and promoting property stewardship among the city’s business and homeowners.   It begins with roof repair The conversation began with the city’s recently established $120,000 Roof Repair Revolving Loan Program that provides

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Editorial: A Few Questions Before A Vote…

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On August 13, the Town of Old Lyme will vote to decide whether to borrow $9.5 million to finance the installation of sewers for commercial and residential properties in Sound View, and an adjacent neighborhood just north of Shore Road called “Miscellaneous Town Area B.” It’s our understanding that state law gives municipalities broad discretion in how they choose to charge for sewers – fair or not, that’s a high bar for shoreline property owners now considering legal avenues if the referendum is approved. But, how is it fair that seasonal residents are forced to pay for a school system

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Shoreline Soup Kitchen Names Amy Hollis Temporary Executive Director

IN THE REGION — Amy Hollis was named the temporary executive director of Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries (SSKP) over a month after Ellen Rabin stepped down from the position. In addition to her role as pastor of Winthrop Baptist Church, Hollis has been involved with SSKP for 18 years and served as board chair. “I’m excited to do this, passionate about it and no matter what will continue to work with and support Shoreline Soup Kitchen,” Hollis said. “There are a lot of pieces to work out. What temporary means, how long that would last, I can’t say. I’ve

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Sewage Pump House Granted Variance for Private Land in Sound View

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OLD LYME — The sewer project for three chartered beach associations and the town’s Sound View Beach cleared a small hurdle Tuesday when the zoning board of appeals granted a variance, with conditions, for a sewage pump house to be located at 73 Portland Ave., a privately-owned corner lot directly across the street an alternate site at 72 Portland Ave. proposed by the town. Provided it’s approved by the zoning commission, the variance would give the three beach associations — Miami Beach, Old Colony and Old Lyme Shores — a location for a pump house independent of the town’s progress

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Lyme Provides Model Amid State Struggle to Manage Conservation Easements

IN THE REGION — The Lyme Land Conservation Trust (LLCT) holds 69 conservation easements. At least once each year, one of 42 volunteer stewards inspects every property, and documents any changes with photographs and in writing, said Sue Cope, LLCT’s environmental director. The Town of Lyme has not previously conducted yearly inspections, but this year the town will be monitoring all ten of its conservation easements, and will add them to a publicly-available town GIS map, said Wendolyn Hill, open space coordinator for Lyme. In the state of Connecticut, this level of management is uncommon. “I know that our level

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Letter: Sound View Homeowners Should Be Aware of Obligations

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To the Editor: Thank you for your coverage of the Sound View sewer project. One correction: the cost per EDU as stated by the WPCA will be $25,007, not $15,000. $15,000 is the minimum a homeowner would be assessed. Thus, according to the WPCA slide presentation, the “typical average house of 1 EDU (1,242 square feet)” would be charged a “$6,000 connection fee plus a $25,007 betterment assessment” for a total of $31,007. The per EDU assessment will be calculated on a sliding scale, thus a 2,500 square foot house would be charged for 2 EDUs. In my case, my

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Sound View Residents Question Cost Sharing, Consider Legal Action

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OLD LYME — On Tuesday night, Sound View Beach residents spoke out against shouldering the entire $7.44 million cost of installing sewer infrastructure in their beach community. A small number of residents also said they would consult with an attorney concerning the bond question that is expected to go to a town-wide referendum on August 13.  At least 80 people attended the second of two informational sessions organized by the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  On July 15, the Town of Old Lyme signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with the three private

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Developer Withdraws Smiler’s Wharf Application Prior to Mystic Hearing

STONINGTON — In a three-page letter to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday morning, the developers of the Smiler’s Wharf project formally withdrew their application for a zoning change on their 11-acre Mystic site for an ambitious project that would have comprised a 5-story hotel, a 6-story apartment building, a 200-seat restaurant, townhouses, a marine services building, an extended public boardwalk, a new boat basin and bulkhead. Since its public hearing began on May 28, the project has received extensive negative public commentary focused on the scale of the buildings compared to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as other

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“Pipeline Initiative” Provides Intensive Training For Manufacturing in Eastern Connecticut

OLD SAYBROOK — Removing her large welding mask and heavy-duty gloves, Kathryn Mica took a break from welding metal rings onto panels Friday morning in one corner of Sound Manufacturing’s 50,000-square-foot factory floor in Old Saybrook.  “I always worked with kids. I’m a former educator who always had an interest in the arts and a passion for metal working, but I never had the opportunity to pursue it,” said Mica, 25, of East Haddam, adjusting her leather cape sleeve, a protective garment covering her arms and shoulders. “So when I did my research and found this, I really jumped on

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Old Lyme Reaches Sewer Agreement with Beach Communities

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OLD LYME — In a major step forward, the town today sent a memorandum of understanding confirming its intention to share all costs related to a sewer project in Sound View Beach with the three private beach associations that have already signed a cost-sharing agreement with East Lyme and New London. Sharing the costs with the three beach associations is contingent on the Town of Old Lyme successfully passing a referendum to fund the town’s Sound View and Misc. Area B sewer project, wrote Richard Prendergast, chair of the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority in the letter to the

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A Saturday ‘Ride Along’ with the Old Lyme Police

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OLD LYME — On Saturday, July 13, I put on a protective vest, buckled up and joined Old Lyme Police Officer Kevin Roche for his daytime shift.  “I’m guessing you’ve already missed the busiest part of the day,” he said to me as soon as I was in the car. Before 9 a.m. Roche had already responded to two car accidents on Boston Post Road.  It turned out Roche was right. Saturday is “changeover day” for summer rentals in many of Old Lyme’s beach associations and things were calm. Despite the crowds at the public beach, and the nearly-full parking

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Jonathan Glenn Court Dedicated at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau

OLD LYME — More than seven years and $14,000 of donations later, the Jonathan Glenn Court at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau was dedicated in the memory of a Lyme-Old Lyme graduate who took his own life on December 21, 2011.  The summer after Glenn’s death, several of his former classmates had the idea to honor his memory with a four square court — his favorite activity in high school.  “We wanted four square because Jon loved four square, it would be a great way to honor him and allow other kids to play his favorite game,” said Ali McPherson, a

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Port Authority Funding in Doubt After Green Light

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OLD LYME — Contradictory statements from town and state agency officials have raised further doubts about the status of $256,000 in legacy state funding for the Lieutenant River project on Halls Road in Old Lyme — funds that at least one town commissioner believes were green-lighted months earlier by the Connecticut Port Authority.  The funds were left over from a $1.6 million Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) grant given to Old Lyme in 2015 for dredging in the Black Hall and Four Mile rivers. In 2016, the newly-created port authority assumed oversight of legacy maritime grants, including the dredging funds

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