The fourth quarter represented the completion of our first full year as a civic organization. The quarter began with our October 9th meeting at the Town Hall. It was our debut; it brought further community awareness to who we are and what we hope to accomplish. The meeting also helped us learn more about ourselves. We never stop learning.

The quarter ended with a “before the fold” front page story in the December 26 issue of The New London Day, by Kimberly Drelich who had attended our weekly session the Friday before Christmas. It should be noted that we were favorably mentioned in the August/September “Newsletter from the First Selectwoman” by Bonnie Reemsnyder, who encouraged people to attend the October 9th meeting mentioned above. State Representative Marilyn Giuliano wrote a nice piece about MCCD last summer, in which she stressed the fact that our “roots are grounded in addressing basic needs in the local community.” Earlier, in July, there was an extensive article in “thelymes.patch” on the efforts extended by many, but especially John Forbis and Gerry Guild for their efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

In between were many developments – an important one being the addition of Jim Rice as a member of the board, bringing membership to ten. Jim has a long history with Old Lyme, having served as First Selectman for many years and as a resident state trooper before that. We also expanded the group of volunteers, including those to help mentoring in the Lyme Old Lyme school system.

The principal projects in which we are involved include:

The Gateway to the Arts: This project is headed up by Michael Perks and is assisted by John Forbis, BJ Bernblum and Jim Rice. They have engaged the volunteer services of landscaper Sarah McCracken. The group is working closely with First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. This will be a multi-year, multi-stage project with the immediate focus on the area where Hall’s Road crosses the Lieutenant River.

NESS (New England Sailing and Science): NESS is a 501(c)(3) organization with facilities on Stonington Harbor. A core mission is to assist underprivileged students develop personally and academically by exposing them to sailing and to hands on maritime science education. Michael Perks, Dick Shriver and BJ Bernblum continue to work with one of the IESC (International Executive Service Corps) people, Alice Fitzpatrick, in attempting to help the organization, which already works with hundreds of students in the Stonington-New London region, expand its reach.. The project is ongoing.

RTPEC (Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center): The MCCD, headed by John Forbis and BJ Bernblum, are working closely with the Audubon Society of Connecticut and others in the community to establish a center that would honor the late ornithologist and artist Mr. Peterson who lived and worked in Old Lyme for many years.

Lyme’s Senior Center: BJ Bernblum is helping them form a 501(c)(3) “friends of…” organization so they will be better able to solicit funds and receive grants.

Two other projects, both for-profit businesses, approached Dick Shriver about assistance. Dick has used these instances to call upon knowledgeable and well-connected individuals in the area, as a supplement to using the services of IESC.

We are consulting with a number of other small businesses.

We also completed and/or terminated some projects, including a major effort for a local business that has been completed successfully for the client.

We are excited about our prospects to help make our community, the region and the State sparkle, as we move into our second full year. As awareness about who we are and what we do spreads, we are getting increased calls for assistance and increased calls from those who would like to volunteer. We do not presume that we will satisfy everyone, but we welcome all comers.