Letter: Needleman Reaches Out on Coronavirus

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By now, we are all aware of the health and quality of life implications of COVID-19.  The virus has become a significant threat to our families and to our communities. We also know that widespread testing will not be available in the immediate future and there is no definite treatment at this time. Those circumstances leave us with only one common sense choice: adapt to a new “normal.”  The reality is that our best near-term solution will come from you and me, not from the federal or state government.  The most sensible and highest impact option is for each of

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Letter: Phrase “Wrong Side of the Achievement Gap” Sends Wrong Message

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Unfortunately, the debate between opponents and proponents of the CSUS consolidation plan resulted in the use of language that paid homage to a very traditional genuflection to ‘blame the victims.’   In this instance, the victims are the students in the CSCU system who were referred to as having come from the ‘wrong side of the achievement gap’ in the article, “As Labor Leaders Gather on Friday in Hartford, Faculty and Administrators Debate Consolidation of Community Colleges Across Connecticut,”  published March 6, 2020.  The value-laden and scornful phrase, “wrong side of the achievement gap,” sends the wrong message.  As a

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Letter: Anti-Vaccine Activists Want to Mislead Parents — Legislators Shouldn’t Let Them

Twice last month I woke at dawn to head to my state capitol of Hartford, Connecticut. Legislators were deliberating HB-5044, a bill that would remove non-medical exemptions for vaccines required for school and daycare enrollment and, ultimately, make our state’s schools safer and better protected from outbreaks. I wanted to provide testimony, not just as a Connecticut parent, but also as someone who has worked for decades to protect families from vaccine-preventable diseases as the executive director of the nonprofit organization Vaccinate Your Family. Several hundred people also came to Hartford to voice their opinions on this issue, as well

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Letter: “Plowing forward,” on Chester Main Street Project Puts Businesses at Risk

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As a commercial property owner, concerned for the downtown and its merchants, I write to express my ever growing concern that the Main Street project is “plowing forward” to be completed this year in spite of the mountain of uncertainties. To move ahead without detailed plans for all possible uncertainties is irresponsible. It risks intolerable delays, including the discouragement and elimination of traffic on Main Street for extended periods and forcing small business to close for lack of business. In anticipation, several businesses have already announced they are shutting their doors. Sadly, once people are forced to go elsewhere to

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Letter: Kobe’s “Total Effort” Leaves Legacy

For reasons I still cannot fully describe, I was never a fan of Kobe Bryant.  That feeling started to change after the 2006 NBA playoffs.  The Lakers were completely outmatched by the Suns, but, by sheer force of will, Kobe led the Lakers to a Game 1 victory in dramatic fashion.  Though they did not win that series (losing in seven games), Kobe earned my respect as a player who did not make excuses and always gave maximum effort. From that point forward everything that I had viewed with contempt slowly became emblematic of his unrelenting commitment to competing at

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Letter: Fort Trumbull State Park Seeks Volunteers for Civil War Park Day, April 4

In September of 1781, the British stormed Fort Trumbull.  On Saturday, April 4, 2020, a very different group of people will descend on Fort Trumbull State Park.  Members of the Civil War Trust are soliciting other history buffs, preservationists, community volunteers, and Coast Guard Cadets to join together to help clean and restore Fort Trumbull, one of Connecticut’s important historical sites. The mission of the Civil War Trust is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. During the Civil War, Fort Trumbull served as a center primarily for inducting and training

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Letter: Old Lyme Land Trust Responds to Beaver Claims

Members of the Old Lyme Land Trust and its Board investigated the claim made by Mr. Berggren, certain Town of Old Lyme officials, and others, that one or more animal obstructions on the Jericho Preserve have restricted the water flow from Black Hall Pond and caused the water level to rise by as much as two feet within the Pond. Several weeks ago, one beaver dam was located on the Jericho Preserve approximately two thousand feet south of Black Hall Pond; this dam, when breached, lowered the water level at Mr. Berggren’s dock by approximately six and one-quarter inches. On

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Letter: Compare New and Old Plans Before Approving Wind Deal for State Pier

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I enjoyed reading Cate Hewitt’s Feb. 8 interview with Alexandra Halvordson, “Halvordson Weighs in on Addition of Offshore Wind to Region’s Submarine Supply Chain,” and appreciate CT Examiner’s continued coverage of State Pier and the Thames River.  Having known Ali since elementary school, I respect how smart and hardworking she is. I am writing to publicly challenge something she said: “You have offshore wind coming, you have two ports in Connecticut that are going to be maxed out with wind, that’s great, how is that not good stuff?” Maxing out State Pier with wind may be good stuff for the Naval and Maritime

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Letter: Old Lyme WPCA Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

“Old Lyme WPCA Hires Consultants, Debates Sewer funding and Costs” (CT Examiner 1/15/2020) makes a few things clear. The WPCA has spent several years trying to find a legal equation to force the 7.4/9.5 mil cost of sewers onto the backs of the working-class SV property owners.  The WPCA now plans to spend additional tax dollars to hire consultants and attorneys to try one more time.   (Probably won’t be the last time.)      The three private beach associations want to run their sewer pipes up down and across the town-owned streets of Swan, Hartford and Portland, to a pump station

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Letter: No Progress on Beaver Flooding in Old Lyme

I have watched from 200 miles away how Old Lyme Selectmen have neglected the law and their responsibility at the expense of an 82-year-old resident.  As detailed in Julia Werth’s article, for 4 years Dave Berggren has watched his home and property be destroyed by beavers who continue to block the Bucky Brook waterway, causing his property to be flooded. With black mold now rampant in his house, the town of Old Lyme is to blame for Mr. Berggren’s nightmare. Neither Former First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder nor current First Selectman Tim Griswold have cared enough to take action.  Years ago,

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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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Opinion: We Owe It To Public Health to Take Action on Vaping

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Late last month, I joined State Representative Jesse MacLachlan and prominent community leaders in Clinton for a panel discussion on vaping. I only wish we scheduled it sooner. In recent months, vaping and associated injuries and deaths have become a pressing issue. We must take it seriously and protect public health. As of November 1, more than three dozen vaping-related cases of lung disease and injury were reported to the state Department of Public Health, part of a national trend of more than 1,800 injuries and 37 deaths. Vaping experts are currently studying and searching for answers as to what’s

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Letter: Needleman Thanks Essex Volunteers and Voters

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We are honored that Essex voters have given me another opportunity to serve the town we all love. It is gratifying that so many of our fellow citizens exercised their right to choose the officials who will help sustain and improve the quality of life in Essex. Our names were on the ballot, but many other people helped make this election a success for us and for all of the candidates endorsed by the Essex Democratic Town Committee. To those who volunteered their time and resources, we am deeply grateful.  Your energy and commitment are essential to keeping our community

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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: 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: 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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