As we conclude March, let's celebrate our local Board of Education that continues to ensure our schools are the best possible.
Ledyard board members are dedicated to excellence in public education. And we would also like to applaud the women on BOE in honor of Women's History Month!
Thank you for all you do for Ledyard schools!
Last November, Ledyard got new State House district lines. No more 40th or 42nd district. Now, Ledyard is in the 45th, 43rd, and 139th.
The House Districts are new, but that's the only change. Ledyard remains in Cathy Osten's 19th State Senate District and in Joe Courtney's 2nd Congressional District.
Check out the map below - see which State House district you are in! View the entire State House Districts Map at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/.../House%20Districts_Ledyard.pdf
𝙒𝙝𝙤 𝙞𝙨 𝙧𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙨 in November?
This week, the Ledyard DTC elected its leaders for the upcoming term (2022-24).
The DTC’s new chair is Jake Troy and new vice-chair is Wendy Hellekson. Thank you to both for stepping up into leadership roles!
Jake Troy grew up in Ledyard, works as a 911 dispatcher for the East Lyme Police Department, has worked as a 911 dispatcher for the Ledyard Police Department since 2010, volunteers as an EMT with Mystic River Ambulance and Gales Ferry Fire Department, and serves on the Ledyard Nursing Board. Jake previously worked as Director of Choral Activities for Westbrook High School and serves as Organist for The United Methodist Church of Gales Ferry.
Wendy Hellekson is an English Language teacher at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School who has lived in Ledyard for 12 years.
The DTC is committed to electing Democrats up and down the ballot in Ledyard. We have three whole new State House seats representing the town, and numerous opportunities to build on our 2021 successes!
Joanne Kelley, Ledyard BOE member, said “Since the beginning of Covid in March 2020, I have heard from concerned parents, educators and medical professionals about the impact that the pandemic has had on the emotional well-being of our children…The existing resources in this area are not adequate - we must create something that does not exist. There is not one thing on the current proposed list that I think is as important as this or more appropriate for use of these funds.”
Dr. Adrienne Parad, Ledyard parent, said “We have an opportunity to utilize the ARPA funds to make a meaningful positive impact on our community for years to come…We need to delegate these special funds to invest in our future…For our town to continue to thrive, we need to invest in our health and well-being.”
Read more about this issue:
Councilor Mary McGrattan reported that the walkway between the senior center and senior housing is no longer safe. The Ledyard Rotary will be replacing it!
Mary also reported from Ledyard Interchurch Emergency Assistance Fund - the board approved grants for 9 Ledyard families last year to help with rent and household necessities. Unite CT and other government programs are ending, while there is an uptick in need for rental assistance.
Councilor Naomi Rodriguez noted that there will be a celebration of life ceremony honoring Linda Davis on April 2, at Ledyard High School, 12-3 pm.
Councilor Marshall recognized the work of Gales Ferry Fire Chief Tony Saccone for his advocacy that succeeded in the passage of a new law that protects fire police. Read about it here:
Much more was discussed!
Click here to watch the video of the full meeting.
Send your input, ideas, questions, and thoughts to: BOE@ledyard.net, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EDC is organizing a celebratory food truck festival/market style event at Sweet Hill Farm for the Harvard Yale Regatta on June 11, 2022.
The Regatta Day Festival so far has about 14 interested vendors and 8 confirmed vendors, all Ledyard based small businesses so far!
At their recent meeting, the team discussed Fireside Pizza, which sadly needs to be rebuilt due to a fire. The Fireside owners are working on completing their new restaurant, Sunnyside Diner, in the same plaza on the opposite side of the building.
EDC member Jessica Buhle proposed that residents could show financial and moral support by purchasing gift cards for Sunnyside Diner, once they are available, in order to provide cash flow and show that we believe in their restaurant and plan to support it. Town Councilor Naomi Rodriguez also attended the meeting and asked if there is a way to run a complimentary ad for them in the Ledyard Events Magazine. This idea is being explored.
The EDC is also eager to know more about the businesses in Ledyard and what the Town can do to make it easier for them to do business here.
Business owners in Ledyard can take the survey here:
Please share the link with any local business owners you know!
Major Council Actions:
🔹️The Council voted to appropriate $75,000 in ARPA (federal) funding to cover cost overruns for the Town Green Upgrade project. No discussion occurred of what the nature of the cost overruns were.
🔹️Councilor Naomi Rodriguez (pictured) denounced the acts by Bacon Academy fans against our High School Womens' Basketball players.
🔹️Masks will be optional in Town Buildings starting today, Feb. 10.
🔹️The initial Governor's budget apparently included a reduction in PILOT funding. The Mayor and Council will ask the state legislative delegation to push for full funding.
🔹️More info: https://ctmirror.org/2022/02/09/see-how-your-town-could-fare-in-gov-lamonts-proposed-budget/
Watch the full meeting at:
💻The Public Information Forum about ARPA spending is Tuesday, 2/15. See more information at www.ledyardct.org.
💻The Administration Committee is considering how Town Commissions, Council and Boards can move to hybrid meetings (under consideration is whether meetings should be held in person, hybrid, or full virtual, and how to work out the logistics of the various options).
If you are interested in knowing when town meetings are coming up, we provide guidance at www.ledyarddtc.com under Town Info!
What can the DTC and its members/supporters do?
🔹️Email Town Council at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to encourage them to make sure that meetings are kept as accessible as they are now (with the option to call or video into the meetings).
🔹️Show support for our players this Saturday morning! Nicole Cruz-Glacken (Ledyard DTC member) is encouraging residents to come to Ledyard HS this Saturday, 9:15-10:15, to cheer on the HS Girls' Basketball team! More info: https://fb.me/e/2u9F23Mrb
💥As always, send your input, ideas, and thoughts to: BOE@ledyard.net, email@example.com (superintendent), firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.💥
From State Representative Christine Conley:
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Interval House is making a new toolkit available to schools and parents with free educational resources in English and Spanish.
The toolkit includes:
One in three adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse, and only 33% of those abused confide in someone about the violence.
Adults are mostly in the dark about teen dating violence as 82% of parents admit they do not know if teen dating violence is an issue. Three in five parents also cannot correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.
If you, or someone you know, needs help please call the CT Safe Connect 24-hour hotline at (888) 774-2900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the chat option. All services are free and confidential.
Direct connections to Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) member organizations — such as Interval House and 17 additional local domestic violence service providers — are available through CT Safe Connect for ongoing, in-person support, in addition to other community-based resources.
By shining a light on teen dating violence, we can begin to address root causes and educate our children — and ourselves — on how to identify abuse as well as how to engage in healthy relationships.
As always, please reach out to my office if you have questions or need assistance.
If you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns, I can be reached by phone at 1-800-842-8267 or by email at Christine.Conley@cga.ct.gov. For legislative updates, please like my Official Facebook Page.
Ledyard Town Council held a regular meeting on 1/26/22. During the meeting, the following notable things occurred.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO FROM THIS MEETING:
Community Input/Commissions & Committees:
Nate Woody spoke to the Council regarding Hilary Evans' proposed re-appointment to the Planning and Zoning Commission. He said, "While there can be robust discussion about how to address [racial bias in zoning], the history of explicit and implicit racism in zoning remains fact. I'm sorry if this history upsets [Councilor] Ingalls, but the zoning commission in town can only do better if we know our history.
...Only by knowing this history can the Planning and Zoning Commission do better for all residents. To disqualify nominees because they are knowledgeable of the history of zoning and the need for affordable housing is to handicap the commission." Click here to watch Mr. Woody speak.
Nicole Cruz-Glacken spoke to the council to express her concern about a resident who applied to the G.F. Fire Department who had posted "deeply troubling" posts on Facebook (More information in the Day). "If all the councilors here do indeed have the people's best interest at heart, I would think it would be an easy task to say that you denounce these sentiments and that you do not agree with them, and that someone who expresses the things that he has expressed has no place serving our community in any capacity." Click here to watch Ms. Cruz-Glacken speak.
If you are interested in knowing when meetings are, you can look them up here!
Major Council Actions:
The Council set a date for a public hearing on 3 proposed Ordinances: Wed., 2/23, 6:30pm.
The Council voted to appropriate $43k of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Ledge Light Health District to help the District pay COVID-19-related costs.
Procedure notes: If the Council wants to make or amend an Ordinance, they have to have a Public Hearing and give the town a chance to provide input/feedback on it (Charter, Chapter III, Section 5). Also, once every 10 years, the town has to make new voting districts after the new Legislative maps are published. Altering or establishing voting district lines also requires an Ordinance (Charter, Chapter II, Section 8). That's why you see that "Proposed New" Ordinance - they don't have any record of the one published 10 years ago, so they are starting again from scratch.
P&Z alternate appointment in Ledyard becomes controversial
Read the full article at: https://www.theday.com/local-news/20220118/pampz-alternate-appointment-in-ledyard-becomes-controversial
"In meetings last Wednesday, current commission Chairman Tony Capon and member Nate Woody voiced support for Evans. Woody announced his resignation from the commission in the public comment portion of last Wednesday's Town Council meeting, out of disgust with some councilors' statements.
"This council has decided to slander someone who has done nothing but work hard for this town and dedicated hours of service to this town. You've achieved a new low," Woody said. He announced his resignation and concluded, "So there's another vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and I encourage Ms. Evans to apply again. Make this council suffer through another round of embarrassment of refusing to approve a qualified nominee."
He said between the way the council "railroaded" Cruz-Glacken over the summer and now the issue with Evans, the council "appears to have a problem with women who have opinions."
...Woody said in his resignation letter, "As a zoning commissioner, it is alarming that the well-established fact that zoning can be and has been used as a tool of discrimination is controversial to the town council. I simply cannot watch a fellow commissioner be treated so poorly and I have no interest or ability to participate in the politicization of the Ledyard PZC."
Capon echoed Woody's comments. "We have people who are dedicated volunteers, and Hilary is one of them," he said. "If we start politicizing our boards and commissions, we're going to find that the kind of people that we want on our boards and commissions will simply not serve, and the people who do serve will be people who have personal agendas that motivate them."
If you would like to see these discussions for yourself or for more information:
To watch the full January 12, 2022 Town Council Meeting video, it is available here:
The January 12, 2022 Town Council Admin Meeting Video is also a must watch and will help provide context for what occurred in the subsequent Town Council meeting:
From State Representative Christine Conley and Senator Cathy Osten:
The Department of Transportation has announced a project to upgrade traffic signals at various locations across the state. Construction for these projects is scheduled to begin in April 2022.
Ledyard will receive upgrades at the following locations (also see image):
Ledyard-Route 12 at Military Highway & Shopping Center Drive (Intersection No. 071-205)
Ledyard-Route 12 at Hurlbutt Road & Shopping Center Drive (Intersection No. 071-228)
The community input from the recent Town Council meeting is a MUST WATCH. This week's TC Admin meeting and Board of Education meeting are also chock full of important information.
Stay informed of town news and the decisions being made by town leaders by watching any one or more of this week's meeting videos!
To watch the full Town Council Meeting video, it is available here:
The recent Town Council Admin Meeting Video is also a must watch and will help provide context for what occurred in the subsequent Town Council meeting:
Wednesday's Board of Education meeting featured Supt. Hartling presenting the proposed school budget for next year. WATCH:
(Mr. Hartling starts his budget presentation at minute 52)
Please be sure to watch at the 1 hr. 1 minute mark, when Mr. Hartling shows how our district's funding compares to our neighboring funding. See image.
**The BOE is still accepting input on this budget. Send your input, ideas, and thoughts to:
BOE@ledyard.net, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, AND email@example.com.
Our Board of education incumbents and candidates' goals include:
- ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTING INVOLVEMENT AND INPUT FROM STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS TO MAKE POLICIES IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR STUDENTS.
- Insisting on TRANSPARENCY, CLEAR COMMUNICATION, AND COLLABORATION between the Administration, staff, parents, and students.
- Implementing policies that will help INCREASE THE RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN OUR TEACHER/STAFF population. Over 25% of Ledyard High School graduates are Black and Brown, while our teachers do not come close to matching that ratio.
- Empowering students and teachers to have HONEST, OPEN DISCUSSIONS about history and culture.
- CONSULT with our local INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES on curriculums to ACCURATELY and APPROPRIATELY teach and represent indigenous people.
- Fully APPRECIATING THE VIBRANT DIVERSITY IN OUR STUDENT BODY and celebrating all that makes us unique as well as all that unites us.
As stated by current BOE vice chair Kate Di-Palma-Herb, “our staff should be representative of our student body and currently it is not. We are making progress toward our goal of a more diverse staff, but we are not done. Every student should see themselves represented in the staff and find trusted adults that they can lean on for guidance, mentorship, and understanding. I will continue to advocate for staffing goals that include diversity in hiring and an environment of inclusion.” (Source: https://www.vote411.org/ballot)
To be absolutely clear, do ANY of our candidates advocate teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Ledyard Public Schools? Absolutely not - because there is no curriculum for CRT in grade schools. CRT is a collegiate and law school-level academic framework that examines how systems, policies, and the law perpetuate systemic racism.
We hope this helps to clarify our candidates’ positions. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Even after the shocking events of January 6 and the clear threat posed to our democracy, the Ledyard Republican Town Committee still bought into the "Big Lie" promoted by the former president.
They hosted "Fight Voter Fraud" at their March RTC meeting, a discredited organization whose frivolous lawsuits have been consistently thrown out in court (see comments for more info/links). The RTC's chosen speaker was "scolded for filing invalid complaints."
The Ledyard RTC are too extreme for Ledyard.
Enough is enough. We need a town government that is:
View our platform and candidate info on our website at www.ledyarddtc.com/candidates.
Republicans like to say they are the party of fiscal responsibility and accountability, but under their leadership, Ledyard's school renovation project has dragged on, costing us taxpayers hundreds of thousands of extra dollars, while they repeatedly deflect blame.
The school renovation project has been badly managed by Republican leadership, who have not held irresponsible contractors accountable for fulfilling their contracts in a timely manner.
Since we have been unable to close out these projects when they were supposed to have been already finished, it is costing our town tens of thousands of dollars EVERY MONTH that this project stays open.
Ledyard Republicans have been unable to come up with solutions. Instead, they consistently try to blame others and downplay the seriousness of the problems.
Enough is enough. We need a town government that is:
View the Democratic candidates' platform at www.ledyarddtc.com/platform and learn more at: www.ledyarddtc.com/candidates!
COVID-19 is a valid reason for using an Absentee Ballot in 2021. All the info you need, including the application links and addresses for all Town Clerks, are at ctdems.org/absentee. Ledyard's Town Clerk can be reached at 464-3257 - call and ask for an application if you want to vote absentee!
Information on the Democratic candidates for Board of Education and Town Council is now live on our website! Read about the candidates at www.ledyarddtc.com/candidates.
The candidates are (in alphabetical order):
For Board of Education: Kate DiPalma-Herb, Carmen Garcia-Irizarry, Mary Harris, Joanne Kelley, Nakai Northup, and Alex Rode.
For Town Council: Nicole Cruz-Glacken, Hilary Evans, Mary McGrattan, Naomi Rodriguez, and Bill Saums.
There are so many ways for you to help elect this impressive slate of candidates!
Help fund the campaign - pay for signs, doorhangers, ads, postcards, and more: www.ledyarddtc.com/donate.html
Let us know how you would like to be involved at www.bit.ly/LedyardDemsCampaign2021: Host signs in your yard, write letters to editors, help with voter outreach, plan or attend events, share social media - whether you have more time or less - there's something for everyone!
At a recent special meeting, the DTC voted unanimously to put forth a second candidate for the seat, following the Council's denial of Nicole Cruz-Glacken for the vacancy.
While the Town Council makes the final decision of who to appoint to fill a vacancy, as designated by Ledyard's charter, the LDTC Bylaws require that we take action when a vacancy occurs in an elective position. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our party's voice is fully represented on the Town Council, including recommending the candidate(s) that we feel best represent our values and will best serve the town.
Hilary Evans has years of experience on the Ledyard Conservation and Planning & Zoning Commissions, as well as the Ledyard Housing Authority. She is currently the chair of the Conservation Commission and treasurer for the Housing Authority. She was instrumental in bringing in grants to the Housing Authority and improving its financial standing. She serves as the DTC Vice-Chair and ran for Town Council in 2019. She is also on the Board of Charity Challenge, a group that organizes events to raise money for local charities that help veterans, victims of domestic violence, and those struggling with addiction.
Hilary has a degree in Political Science, with a concentration in legal studies and a minor in American History. She works in the insurance industry. Through her employer, she is a member of the Bouvier Brigade, which raises money and does volunteer work for a variety of causes, including suicide prevention, food insecurity, mental illness, and addiction.
Hilary's extensive municipal experience has given her the skills to work well on a bipartisan basis and develop well-balanced policy. Hilary will bring a depth of knowledge about the town and fresh ideas to the Council that will serve Ledyard well.
Nicole continues to have the DTC's full support and confidence. We thank her for volunteering to fill this seat, and look forward to her serving in other leadership capacities in the near future. The decision to nominate Hilary does not reflect in any way on Nicole. We believe that in rejecting Nicole, the Council missed an opportunity to demonstrate graceful bipartisanship and welcome a compelling, insightful voice to their ranks.
Hilary and Nicole are just two of the leading Democratic voices in town, among a growing group of residents who bring energy, talent, and a desire to serve Ledyard.