The Daily Five: Seidel Family Benefit, School Security, 40 Under 40, and Generous Donations

Five things to know for East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lyme on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1. Today will be cloudy with a high temperature of 41 degrees, according to weather.com, but the real action happens tonight when a wintry mix blows in bringing rain, freezing rain, and sleet as temperatures drop to 31 degrees. 

2. There's never been a better time or a better reason to order pizza than today. Pizza Cucina by Flanders Four Corners in East Lyme will be donating all the profits it makes during the dinner hours to longtime employee Kate Seidel, whose husband 34-year-old Kyle was found shot to death in the parking lot of Waterford's Family Bowl on December 21.

All the money raised will go to help out Seidel and the couple's three young children. Pizza Cucina is encouraging people to come in or order takeout from a special menu (attached as a PDF) from 4 p.m. until 8 or 9 p.m.  

3. Heather Harris, 31, is the office manager for Niantic's Sport Fishing operation, Black Hawk II, but she does much more than that. Four years ago, she started the "Black Hawk and the Community" program, which has donated pounds upon pounds of fish to the local food bank, organized fishing trips for the "Make a Wish Foundation" and helped collect clothes for kids in need. This Groton resident also works as a special education teacher in Mystic. Given everything she does, it's not hard to see why she made Connecticut Magazine's 40 Under 40 Class of 2013's list this year.  

4. Education funding represents a large portion of every town's budget but local schools also benefit from donations. Last night, East Lyme's Board of Education gratefully accepted two: the first from Oakdale Fire Company for $1,800 for the East Lyme High School Drama Club and the second for $1,000 from the Pfizer Foundation Volunteer Program on behalf of Robert Mauthe for the East Lyme High School Girls' Swim/Dive Team.

East Lyme Superintendent James Lombardo also announced a third donation, this time coming from the East Lyme Rotary Club for $15,000 to pay for a new sign for East Lyme High School.

5. Since the school shooting at Sandy Hook, a number of school districts in the state have beefed up security, in some cases hiring security guards for every school. Schools in East Lyme and in the Lyme-Old Lyme School District haven't gone that far, but both districts are continuing to review security policies and striving to find ways to address security issues raised at recent community forums on school safety.

School Superintendents for both Lyme-Old Lyme and East Lyme say that although all staff are trained in emergency procedures, the districts need to do more to ensure that substitute teachers and school volunteers are also up to speed on security protocols.

Both districts are also trying to decide how to handle school security after hours. During the day, schools in East Lyme, Old Lyme and Lyme are now locked and every visitor has to be granted access on an individual basis. After hours, however, the schools are open and used by the community at large.

"I don't have the answer to that one," said Lombardo, who added that the hard part is striking the right balance between keeping schools open and accessible to all, and secure at the same time. He did say, however, that the proposed school budget for East Lyme includes $50,000 that would be earmarked for additional security.


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