Twenty Year Telecommuter Misses the City

Joe Connolly has been a telecommuter for 20 years. You probably know him from his award winning business reports on WCBS Newsradio 880 or his Small Business Breakfasts held annually in Stamford.  But you might not realize that Connolly lives not in New York City but in eastern Connecticut. He’s up and working weekdays by 4:30 am, driving first to pick up a print copy of the Wall Street Journal before heading to his office /  broadcast studio near his home, where he seldom opens the window-blinds.  “I’m here to work,” he says, “not for the view.” In his broadcast

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Letter: A Shout-out for Gladeview in Old Saybrook

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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

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Letter: Old Lyme’s EDC Encourages the Public to See the Results of its Study

The Economic Development Commission launched three initiatives, as the first step, in crafting a “smart growth” economic development strategy for Old Lyme focused on maintaining the small-town character and charm of our unique town. We realized the success of the plan depended upon providing opportunities for the public’s voice to be heard. Therefore, we designed the project with this in mind. The three studies are now complete, and we are pleased to share the results with you. We believe the findings in these reports will provide essential insights for not only the mission of the EDC but will provide valuable

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Letter: Ledge Light Health District Affirms our Commitment to Equity

While so much of our attention is focused on COVID-19, it is clear that we cannot respond to this pandemic as though it is an isolated public health emergency, occurring in a vacuum and separate from any other community health concern. The data regarding COVID are no different from so many other health outcomes; Black, Latinx and Indigenous people are more likely to experience serious health outcomes and premature death. There are widespread and pervasive racial disparities in health in our country and region. We must recognize these for what they are – the unjust and preventable results of systems

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Needleman: Bipartisan Effort Works Toward Early Prevention of EEE Across Eastern Connecticut

In the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of preparing for the worst-case scenario. It should also be a reminder to us that we need to be prepared for challenges to come. But we must also not allow current circumstances to let us lose focus on other important issues. If anything, the current pandemic reinforces the need to tackle other public health issues, including one that ended lives in our state last year. Three people died last year as mosquitos carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially deadly virus, spread across Connecticut. There are parallels in

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Letter: Lack of Communication Leaves Essex a One Party Town

As the Chairman of the Essex Republican Town Committee, I just needed to share my comments on the political process in Essex. However, this letter expresses my thoughts  alone. I did not submit it to ERTC for approval. A 2018 audit, found deficits in Region 4 Board of Education Budget. I want to thank our new Superintendent, Brian White for discovering the auditing errors in capital sinking funds, cafeteria fund and the underfunded health insurance reserve. Sadly, to correct them will be a financial burden to the three towns, all with declining enrollments. White’s decision to train Kelly Sterner to

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Opinion: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

“Dad, did you see that another black man got killed by the police?” “Yes, I did. What do you think about that?” “It’s crazy, clearly he was down. People were standing there watching them telling them to stop. The other police was just standing there. It was crazy!” And so began another conversation about the realities of life with my fourteen-year-old daughter. Hate is a strong word. I don’t use it flippantly. But, I hate the abuse of power! That’s what we witnessed: bad police officers abusing their power. I like the police. I appreciate their service to our community.

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One Size Does Not Fit the Virus

The nation and Connecticut are reopening fitfully and unevenly from a shutdown that many think should not have happened – many including Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman of the left-leaning New York Times and Dr. David L. Katz, a Connecticut MD and an expert with a public health degree from Yale. Our “one-size-fits-all” shutdown policy is strange in the face of a virus which afflicts different population segments in such wildly different ways. For those over age 65, who comprise only 16 percent of the country’s population, the virus has been devastating. This age group has sustained about 80 percent of

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“For certainly what others have done for us should be an inspiration to all to keep up their good work”

As I review my previous Memorial Day homilies, I’ve come to realize that there is a pattern unfolding.  Taken together, they help to tell us why we are here again in this cemetery. I’ve had the occasion, and the challenge, to explore with you how and why we voluntarily meet here on this designated day to celebrate the lives and mourn the passings of preachers, teachers, siblings, parents, ancestors, neighbors, heroes, government officials, duck hunters, bird watchers, conservation commissioners, friends, lovers, spouses, artists, musicians, fishermen, cow farmers and others. Truly a web of life. There were people I knew who

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Year Two

One year ago last Monday, CT Examiner went live with the goal of returning in-depth, nonpartisan, local news coverage to towns across southeast Connecticut. Funded with venture capital from David Kelsey, and edited by Gregory Stroud, CT Examiner began with a staff of two: Cate Hewitt and Julia Werth. Over time, we added a third reporter, Chris McDermott, and a small pool of freelancers, including arts writer Clare Byrne. Who knew that exactly one year later we would have an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gov. Ned Lamont to mark phase of one of the reopening of the economy? What better

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Letter: Mute Swan Controversy Based on Shoddy and Non-Existent Studies

Dear Editor: I read the article about Mute Swans being an invasive species in your recent article by Julia Werth, dated May 19, 2020. The article is filled with misinformation that has been discounted by current research and international swan and wetland habitat specialists. Furthermore, the information cited has been shown through research to be based upon shoddily conducted or non-existent studies.  I would like to have ample time to set the record straight. I have also included at the bottom of the page, my credentials regarding Swans. 1.      There has never been any environmental impact assessment conducted

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Letter: Attack on Swans Doesn’t Justify an Attack on Swans

An apparent attack on mute swans near Whalebone Cove in Hadlyme does not raise questions about whether they belong in our state. It just raises questions about whether the ignorant humans who brutally beat them should be allowed to live in the state any longer without being behind bars. Unfortunately, there is a sentiment among some boaters and recreationalists in the state that mute swans are picturesque pests that are better off dead. Mute swans are not aggressive birds, but when they are nesting or defending young, they become protective parents, which should be admirable to humans. It’s appalling that the

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Opinion: Move Forward or Sink

Addressing Americans in the wake of the Challenger explosion, President Reagan addressed a shocked and grieving nation, reminding us of an important truth: “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” Today, Americans are grieving again – for deceased friends and loved ones, but also for the loss of prosperity, jobs, economic security and the dreams that go with them. The coronavirus pandemic has cost us dearly in many ways, especially in a state like Connecticut, which was already struggling with high taxes, exploding pension debt, an exodus of residents from the state, and an anemic

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Letter: EDC and Halls Road Committee Boost Local Business, Solicit Feedback

The Economic Development Commission and the Halls Road Improvements Committee of Old Lyme are both committed to supporting local businesses. We have been earnestly working on ideas on how best to express this support in a substantive way for our businesses impacted by the pandemic. Our businesses are facing challenges they never could have imagined just a short while ago. A small town like Old Lyme has limited resources. But fortunately, what we do have is a strong sense of community and a reputation for coming to the aid of others in need. With this in mind, we have three

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

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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 —

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Opinion: “Normal was never good enough”

No one wants to live like this. No business wants to remain shuttered. No doctor or nurse wants to see this much death. And no reasonable elected official wants to prolong the agony of the shut-down. But amid the cries to re-open our state, we must find a balance between our financial interests and our physical well-being. After all, with innovation and hard work, over time the economy will rebound. But lost lives are lost forever. Now that more Americans have died of COVID-19 in two months than were sacrificed in the two decades of the Vietnam War, it is

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Opinion: It’s Not Stimulus if There’s Nothing to Stimulate

It is not “stimulus” if there’s nothing to stimulate. Most states have been under stay-home-shutdown orders for almost seven weeks, and only a few plan to reopen before mid-May, so the “stimulus” bills are really just “bridge” bills – constituting a combined $2.7 trillion bridge to an uncertain future date when people can go back to work and businesses can re-open. Moreover, the bridge isn’t even fully built. Many citizens have not received their $1,200 “stimulus” checks, and many small businesses haven’t received Payroll Protection Program loan funds intended to cover eight weeks of payroll. Many will never receive PPP

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Opinion: “A Path Forward for Connecticut”

Through these challenging times I have been inspired by the resilience, ingenuity and compassion of our eastern Connecticut communities. Our shared sense of purpose and commitment to helping those in need is why I strap on a mask and go out every day, delivering masks, supplies and support to senior centers, health care facilities, small businesses and families. It is why I’m working across party lines as a member of the state task force to combat this crisis, keep the public informed, help individuals and small businesses navigate options, safeguard our communities and deliver much needed relief. It’s why I

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Letter: “The world is going to be saved by people who are saving their backyard.”

It seems to me that Earth Day gives short shrift to the significance of what we’re trying to celebrate: the earth and its myriad ecosystems provide so many benefits to us — clean water, clean air, materials, food, even spiritual sustenance. We benefit every day, not one, from a healthy planet. Fifty years ago, the first legislation was put into place to protect the environment. There has never been more of a need to safeguard the significance of that work, and to weave that intention into our daily actions. Given the chance, nature can re-boot surprisingly quickly; who has not

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Letter: Essential Workers Deserve Thanks, Not Attack

Essential workers throughout Connecticut are courageously serving their communities and keeping our state running during this public health emergency. Despite their sacrifice, Red Jahncke uses this pandemic as an excuse to continue bashing public service workers.  Besides being riddled with errors and mistruths (e.g. public workers have faced significant cuts to their workforce including layoffs ), Jahncke fails to acknowledge that essential workers are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk every day when they go to work.  Essential workers that Jahncke so quickly derides are state police, firefighters, unemployment counselors and claim handlers, nurses, child abuse investigators, correctional officers and countless others still coming to work

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Letter: Coronavirus a Poor Excuse to Forgo Public Participation

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Many thanks to CT Examiner regarding the Old Lyme WPCA meeting Tuesday April 14th. So glad someone was listening. We, the Old Lyme tax payers, waited patiently Tuesday evening for about 45 minutes even after the chairman accidentally disconnected the meeting line to attend an executive session.  We, the Old Lyme tax payers, wanted to know what was going on with the cost sharing agreement, with the changes to the benefit assessment calculations, with the easement agreement between Old Lyme and the private beaches.  We, the tax payers, wanted to know why a $615,000 contract was granted without going out

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A Devotional on Behalf of COVID-19 Caregivers

Avinu Malcheinu,  Our Father, Our King From different faith traditions, our professional and volunteer care-givers in hospitals, private practice and first-responders come before You dedicated to the preservation of lives, even while putting themselves in harm’s way You have led each one to choose his/her path, every act of which honors the gift of life You have given us … and the patients they care for. We humbly ask You to be manifestly present in the spirit of each and every care-giver and first responder.  Guide each care-giver to mindful reflection, wise decisions, competent acts and compassionate gestures. For those

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Letter: Amid Widespread Shortages, Farmers are Forced to Dump Scarce Goods

I read an article in The Day by Amanda Hutchinson “Farmers face volatile times amid restaurant closures, grocery shortages.”  The next day, I was visiting a friend that is a production dairy farmer.  He said milk co-op he sells to had to dump eight tractor trailer loads of milk so far. He said dairy purchaser Guida’s in New Britain has rejected a bunch of loads. There’s nothing wrong with the milk — its just with all the schools and restaurants closed no one is buying as much milk and the processors are out of storage. Meanwhile headlines warn of widespread

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Taking Stock at CT Examiner

It’s been a year since I hired away Cate Hewitt to be CT Examiner’s Employee #1 on April 1, 2019 and a giant leap of faith that we could thrive where other news organizations have failed in the region. To date, we’re outpacing our year one goals… And have successfully attracted a readership that otherwise might read the New York Times or Wall Street Journal as their “local” paper. Our top ten towns by readership (in order): Old Lyme, Hartford, New York, East Lyme, Essex, New London, New Haven, Clinton, Boston, Stonington. Our regular readerships extends across the state… And

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State Workers Should Give Back

For the second time in a decade over 100,000 private sector workers in Connecticut have lost their jobs, while not a single state employee has been laid off in either instance. For almost the entire decade, state workers have enjoyed contractual no-layoff guarantees, presently extending to 2021. Not only that, following the Great Recession, state workers got three 3 percent annual pay raises, and, now, they will get a 3.5% wage hike in just three months – on the heels of a 3.5% pay raise last July 1st. That’s unfair, almost cruelly so in face of the unfolding economic ravages

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Lessons from the Collapse

We are obviously living history that no one in the future would like to repeat.  So, what are the lessons to be learned? There are many small-scale lessons.  Wash your hands more often.  Don’t touch your face so much.  But what are the lessons we can learn from the big policies which have been implemented in the run up to this catastrophe?  At the federal level it is fair to say that, at least when it comes to economics, the policy has been to cut taxes, run deficits, and slash most non-military spending.  Apparently, this was supposed to result in

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Letter: Suspend Privacy Laws Isolating Nursing Home Residents from their Families

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AARP (the nation’s largest advocacy group for seniors) is urging Connecticut residents to petition state lawmakers to temporarily suspend privacy laws that effectively prevent nursing home residents from communicating with family members during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. For several weeks, nursing home visits have been banned, except in “compassionate care” circumstances.  In addition, privacy laws currently prohibit cameras in nursing homes. This includes the ability to connect through SKYPE, ZOOM and other virtual visitation technologies. This law effectively leaves more than 22,000 Connecticut chronically-ill and vulnerable long-term care patients cut off from their families. Particularly vulnerable are the thousands who

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Letter: Missing Notice, Discussion, of Canceled Vote

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There have been 19 Executive Orders issued in Connecticut by the Governor over the past 3 weeks. All under #7 (A-T). One 7I, that is #7 letter I, suspends the public’s right to vote on Regional School Budgets as well as your local municipal budget. That’s right you will not be voting on your local budget for the next year, it will be moved through by the Board of Finance and then put in place. End of story – no vote. With all of this going on I reached out to our 2 elected officials. Norm Needleman and Christine Palm, one

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Balancing Virus Response With Economic And General Health Consequences

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The coronavirus is not the only threat we face. As I wrote in The Hill on last Thursday and The Wall Street Journal editorialized last Friday, we may face a far greater threat from a collapsed economy, which would devastate everyone’s financial and medical condition. This should be of special concern in Connecticut which entered the current crisis already economically anemic and financially shaky. While this may not be popular to say, we should rethink shutdown policies in Connecticut. Actually, it may not be unpopular. A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 70 percent of Americans see the virus

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A Surfeit of Caution

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There is an esprit de corps that has developed surrounding our collective attempts to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social media is awash with posts suggesting ways to connect, ways to nourish each other, ways to survive the isolation. There has been an outpouring of support for those on the frontlines — the medical professionals who at their own peril face this crisis directly. The call for “social distancing” has been heard from the highest offices to the lowliest tweet.  We are so focused on how to live well and help one another within this new framework that I

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