Top Ten News Stories in Ledyard in 2016

Food Pantry ledyardJanuary is the month for lists.  In the past, the local newspaper published a list of the top stories of the year in each of the area towns. It was something I always looked forward to reading but sadly that tradition has ended so I feel obligated,  with a little help from my friends,  to create my own list. The Ledyard Community Forum on Facebook helped  with plenty of suggestions so coming up with top stories was fairly easy. Deciding which made the cut and then putting them in numerical order was the difficult part. I’m sure depending where you sit, some of the choices would be different.

In 2016 weather events didn’t make the top ten. No hurricanes, no major blizzards , no earthquakes and no lizards. May 2017 bring more of the same.

#10  We wish it had been a Trader Joe’s but Dollar Tree opened in the Ocean State Job Lot Plaza in a spot that seems to have been empty for a lifetime. Although the parking lot is still ugly, it sure did improve the over all appearance of the place.  Now if they would just take care of the huge McCrater, at the traffic light exit. I’m hoping that in 2017 we will see some improvement at Cartway  as even the mere mention of the name  creates a firestorm on Facebook.

#9  The Ledyard Food Pantry celebrated the one year anniversary of its new location at the Ledyard Congregational Church. During 2016, the number of visits to the pantry tripled proving at least to me that the private sector often does a better job of  government.

#8  The Ledyard Community Forum reaches 4000 members. Actually that didn’t happen until a week into January but membership rapidly increased through 2016. I would never imagined when I created the group in 2011 that it would grow as large as it is.

#7  Gales Ferry gets a Christmas Tree and Facebook Forum Headquarters.  I've always thought it would be nice to have a community Christmas Tree in Gales Ferry/Ledyard. Well thanks to a whole lot of people, it  happened. Former Mayor John Rodolico found the tree which was donated by Alan Habbe. Glenn McKenzie created an in ground stand for it. The Hirschfeld's volunteered to pick up the 16ft tree and transport it. The tree was transported on time to Ledyard Community Forum Headquarters at the corner of RT 12 and Military Highway owned by Merry Cassabria. Brouwers Tree Service volunteered their cherry picker for the lights.  Residents donated cookies and lights and decorations and all around help. Barry Watrous helped direct and took some great photos. Steve Holyfield captured the official nighttime photo. How cool is #8?!

 

Gales Ferry Christmas Tree Point

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#6 Ledyard gets a cool new Superintendent of Schools. Jason Hartling was selected in August as the new Superintendent of Schools. I like his views on budgeting,  transparency and communication. He’s even on Twitter. That’s cool.  I’d call him the Great Communicator but I reserve that title for President Ronald Reagan. 

#5 Gypsy Moths invade Ledyard.  Ledyard was overrun by the nasty critters but those in Gales Ferry were hardly affected and may be in for a rude awakening. I’d recommend we all pray for a wet spring because the state seems clueless about how to handle the issue. There is a Town of Ledyard Gypsy Moth Committee that has been formed to consider aerial spraying. Visit www.OPENLEDYARD.com and select Gypsy Moth ad hoc committee for meeting group for meeting dates, agendas and minutes.

#4 Ledyard Trunk or Treat becomes YUGE.  49 Vehicles were decorated and 1600 people walked the grounds including 900 little ones. Merry and I passed out cotton candy.  Can you say sticky?

Ledyard Trunk or Treat photo

#3 Speaking of YUGE, as a political junkie, 2016 couldn’t have been more interesting to watch. If someone would have told me a year ago that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would win the Ledyard Primaries each with about 53 of the vote, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I wasn’t surprised at all to see Trump go on to win in Ledyard in November. The lack of Clinton signs and local enthusiasm seemed to be a good indicator.

#2 Ledyard gets a new Police Station. Although the voters approved a new police station in May of 2013, it took over 3 years to complete due to site work issues. I think the location next to Town Hall made it worth the wait especially combined with the improvements in the Ledyard Town Center. In 2016, Ledyard Swore in its first ever Police Chief, John Rich as Ledyard moved to an Independent Police Department.

#1 Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Ledyard is an extremely generous community. Although I often worry about “donor fatigue”,  Ledyard never stops giving whether it is for Food Baskets, Stuff a Cruiser, the Santa Drive,  or our First Annual Comfort and Joy Event gathering warm accessories for our neighbors in need. The Boy Scouts collected over 7000 food items during their annual Scouting for Food Drive and the Cub Scouts were there to help then and though out the year as were our firefighters, Parks and Recs Department and many other groups throughout Town.  Thank you.

Each of you who contributed in some way is #1.

 

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Ledyard Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat jpg

The 4th annual Ledyard Trunk or Treat event will take place this Friday, October 28th. Forty eight vehicles are now registered and the weather looks to be mighty fine for the last days of October. If you are attending Trunk or Treat, you WILL NOT be admitted before 6:00PM. Children with sensory issues and those under 3 may arrive at 5:45 when those with trunks will refrain from using strobe lights, blinking lights, motion activated items, and scary or loud music.

What started out four years ago as a small  event organized by a single parent with only 48 hours notice has grown to a large community event with many businesses and volunteer organizations participating.

IMPORTANT: Parking will be at Ledyard Center School for those not hosting a trunk. Enter by way of the rear entrance as seen in the map below. For safety reasons, please do not park across the street!

Set up time for those with trunks will begin at 4:30.

trunk or treat Ledyard


Simply Ledyard Events

Simply Ledyard EventsSimply Ledyard Events is my attempt to capture local Ledyard Events including those found on Facebook. Please feel free to Fill out THIS FORM if you would like to include your Ledyard event in our next edition.

 April 2 – Pancake Breakfast 
To benefit Multiple Sclerosis
Gallup Hill Baptist Church (8:30AM-12:30PM)
Suggested donation $10
For more information:  Casey Fry 619-804-8776

April 2 – Pancake Breakfast 
Ledyard Congregational Church (7:30-10:00AM)
722 Colonel Ledyard Highway
Pancakes, eggs, sausage, orange juice, coffee. All are welcome, breakfast is free

April 2 – Ledyard High School Safe Grad Party Fundraiser Extravaganza
Our Lady of Lourdes Church (8:00AM – 6:30PM)
Bake Sale, Yard Sale, Vendor Booths, Face Painting, Games
For more info: Maureen_Brawner@comcast.net or babs3225@comcast.net

April 2 - Paint Class at The Drunken Palette
To benefit Sofia Sees Hope
259 State Street (7:00PM)
$55 includes painting supplies
For more information: info@sofiaseeshope.org

April 3 - Ledyard K-9 Unity Fundraiser & Bake Sale
To benefit Ledyard Police Department K-9 Unit
Ledyard Village Market (11:00AM-3:00PM)
For more information:  Cindy at Ledyard C.H.A.I.N. 860-287-3504

April 6 – How to Start your own Backyard Poultry Flock Workshop
Ledyard Regional FFA Food for All Grant Project
Ledyard High School Agri-Science Department (6:30-9:30 PM)
Free - RSVP to Mrs. O’Keefe at do’keefe@ledyard.net

April 6 - LHS After School Groups Recital
United Methodist Church ( 7:30PM) 
Come join us for an evening of instrumental and vocal music featuring many of the LHS ensembles. The concert is free and the public is invited
For more info:  RHammond@Ledyard.net

April 7 - How to Communicate with Your Children Using Social Media
Mylasia Thomas, Chairwoman, Mashantucket Tribal Youth Council 
Ledyard Safe Teens Coalition
Ledyard High School Library (6:30-8:00PM)

April 8 - The Ledyard Fire Company Family Pasta Dinner
Ledyard Congregational Church (5:00 -8:00PM)
Adults: $10 - Kids (6 - 12): $6 -Kids under 5 are free
Tickets will be sold at the door. Gluten-free pasta is available.

April 9 – The Ledyard Fire Company Open House
Ledyard Fire Company  11 Fairway Drive (10:00AM – 2:00PM)
Meet their members, visit their trucks and equipment.
Free - Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

April 9 – LHS Chamber Choir Silent Auction Fundraiser
Gales Ferry Firehouse (6-9PM)
$15.00 - Red Sox Tickets, Overnight Deluxe Accommodations at Foxwoods, Jerry Seinfeld concert and many other great gifts will be available at the Silent Auction. Good food and drink plus a performance by the LHS Chamber Choir and much more!
For more info:  RHammond@Ledyard.net

April 10– LHS Harvest of Harmony Concert
LHS Auditorium (2:00PM)
$15.00 - The concert is the annual spring show for the Rose City Chorus. The performance will feature lots of great Barbershop music and a guest performance by the LHS Chamber Choir

For more info:  RHammond@Ledyard.net

April 10 – Ledyard Animal Control Appreciation Day
Spring Cleaning Day at the Shelter
Ledyard Animal Shelter (10:00AM-4:00PM)
For more information:  Cindy at Ledyard C.H.A.I.N. 860-287-3504

April 15 – Registration opens for Ledyard Town Wide Yard Sales
.SimplyLedyard.com after April 15

April 23 – Earth Day Clean Up
Ledyard Parks (9:00AM)
"Earth Day is dedicated to the environmental health of our planet. Here in Ledyard, the Parks and Rec Department is planning a Spring clean-up of some parks. Get your girl or Boy Scout Troop, your family, you organization or just yourself and help us clean up our Town. Do your part o help our little portion of the Earth. Please bring gloves".
Call Ledyard P&R to volunteer at 464-9112.

In addition to the above events, you can find Ledyard Events on the following websites:

Ledyard Library Events
Ledyard Parks & Recreation Events
Town of Ledyard Meetings

 



 

 

 


Little Bites of Ledyard

Bites of LedyardLittle Bites of Ledyard is my gathering place for events, news items and even an occasional opinion about anything Ledyard.

Wednesday in Ledyard is my favorite day of the week.  Here is the link to everything you need to know about this week’s Ledyard Farmers’ Market.  Sign up for your own copy of the market newsletter HERE.

There are lots of events coming up in Ledyard during October including the 3rd Annual Halloween Trunk or Treat event to be held this years on Friday, October 30th at the Ledyard Fair Grounds between 6-8PM.  Head on over to the Parks and Recreation Website for more information and to register your trunk. 

Ledyard has been approved for a $125,000 grant through the Drug Free Community Program of the Dept of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program. There is an opportunity to reapply (competitively) for another 5 years. The DFC Support Program has two goals:
1. Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.
2. Reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.
The community sectors include police, schools, business, civic and government agencies, youth organizations, parent, and healthcare professionals. This program will be administered by Ledge Light Health District through the Safe Teens Coalition.
If you are interested in supporting the implementation of this grant through organizing, participating in, and publicizing a variety of programs associated with this grant please contact Carolyn Wilson of Ledge Light at 860.448.4882 ext. 318.

Looking to leave Ledyard for some fall travel?  Here are some economical ways to take advantage of New England’s fantastic  fall season.


Letters to Ledyard From Santa Claus

Would you like your Ledyard child to receive a personal letter from Santa? Drop your child’s letter to Santa Claus in the North Pole Mailbox at the Parks and Recreation Office or mail it to Santa c/o Ledyard Parks and Recreation Department,  Blonder’s Blvd., Ledyard, CT 06339

Santa will send back a personalized letter in time for Christmas. In order for Santa to have time to respond before his busy nigh, the letters must reach the Parks and Recreation Office by December 18th.

Santa


Ledyard Photo Friday - Colonel Ledyard Park

If you hear old timers like me refer to Blonder’s Park, we are really talking about Colonel Ledyard Park, the 131 hidden gem on Blounder’s Blvd just behind the Ledyard Board of Education/Parks and Recreation offices on Colonel Ledyard Highway. The complex houses ball fields, handball and tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a fabulous 100 foot lighted picnic pavilion. I’ve attended many events at the park and always enjoy exploring with my camera.

colledpark


Erickson Park in Gales Ferry

When my son was in Ledyard Middle School, he walked from Inchcliffe Drive then across Military Highway to wait for the bus at "Cappy's". I doubt the kids would be allowed to make that precarious crossing today. At that time, during the 1980's, the Erickson's had a small general store known as Cappy's, at the waterfront location on Military Highway. The kids loved going there for the penny candy so it was a popular bus stop. During the winter, they could wait inside and helping the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Erickson was part of the deal.

Cappy's, the spelling of which I am guessing at, was purchased by the Town of Ledyard in 2000, and is now the location of Erickson Park, a 2.8 acre site with walking trail, stone barbecue, picnic tables, and a lovely view of Mill Cove and the Thames River, especially at sunset. The Ledyard Park's and Recreation department rents the location for events. This July, they will be holding a Boat Building Camp and 6th-12th graders will be building a 17' plywood Dory and then experience the fun of rowing it in the cove.

The park has come a long way since being a bus stop with a view.

EricksonPark

Mill Cove 005