NEWS NOTES

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Meeting held on proposed LNG facility

The Coast Guard sponsored a Port and Waterways Safety Assessment May 3 and 4 in Port Jefferson, N.Y., to assess waterway safety on Long Island Sound, including waterway safety issues associated with the proposed Broadwater Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Long Island Sound.

The PAWSA is a systematic assessment designed to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels, and evaluate potential mitigation measures to reduce risk for Long Island Sound and the approaches to Long Island Sound.

Participation in PAWSA was through invitation, and was designed to include waterways users and stakeholders such as representatives from marine pilots, tug and barge operators, passenger/ ferry vessel operators, recreational boaters, commercial fishermen, environmental groups, and local fire and marine law enforcement units. Additionally, representatives from several state agencies attended.

The Coast Guard and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plan to conduct public meetings in Connecticut and on Long Island later this summer to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the PAWSA and its findings.

FERC is the lead federal agency responsible for licensing LNG facilities located on shore and within state waters. The Coast Guard is a cooperating agency and will provide FERC an assessment on safety and security issues related to the proposed facility. The results of the PAWSA will form a basis for the safety assessment. The Coast Guard has begun the security assessment of the proposed project.

For information on the permitting process for LNG facilities, contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public information office at (202) 502-6088.

For information about the proposed LNG facility, contact the Shell/TransCanada Broadwater Project Office at (800) 798-6379.

For information on the PAWSA, contact Alan Blume at the Coast Guard Captain of the Port office for Long Island Sound at (203) 468-4504.

Lyme yachtsman dies at 93

Boaters in the lower Connecticut Valley who stored their craft at Reynolds’ Garage and Marine on Hamburg Cove will remember Leland Reynolds. For nearly 25 years, Reynolds owned the business, storing boats and helping haul them in and out of the water.

On May 10, Reynolds passed away at his home in the village of Hamburg located in the town of Lyme. He was 93.

When Reynolds took the business over from his father, Donald, in 1942, he realized that the automotive end of the operation — selling and servicing Studebakers, then Land Rovers and later Peugots — was most profitable.

“The only way you can make money with boat storage is to do the work yourself so you don’t have to pay for labor,” Reynolds once said.

But Reynolds stayed faithful to the marine portion of the business and continued using his 1928 Chevrolet tractor and 1900 Bridgeport automatic engine for hauling boats, long after surrounding marinas were using forklifts and dock hoists. Even after his son, Gary, took over the operation in 1976, Reynolds continued to visit the garage to ensure things were running smoothly.

Reynolds Garage and Marine has been in operation since 1859.

According to his obituary, Reynolds, a longtime yachtsman, was a founding and lifetime member of the Hamburg Cove Yacht Club. He often sailed with his wife, Laura, in Long Island Sound.

Reynolds was predeceased by Laura and by his sister, Carol Dunham. He is survived by his sisters, Doris Jewett and Donna Speirs; his son, Gary; his daughter, Carleen R. Gerber; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

— Jason Fell

Tragedy on whale-watching vessel

A 14-year-old boy is presumed dead after falling overboard from a charter vessel off Cape May, N.J.

Nicholas Johs was aboard the 90-foot Whale Watch II with his father, Steven, and members of Boy Scout Troop F of Staten Island, N.Y., April 30. According to eyewitness accounts, Johs and other troop members had been jumping up and down on the bow, apparently timing their jumps with the rising bow as the boat made its way through 2- to 4-foot swells.

Johs went over the 44-inch-high rail, plummeting into 49-degree water. The accident happened about 200 yards off Cape May Point in an area called “the rips,” where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Witnesses say the boys had ignored orders from crew-members and chaperones to stop playing the game.

According to news reports, witnesses saw Nicholas surface moments after he fell, floating face down and bleeding. That’s when 19-year-old Ralph Genovese, employed as a deckhand on the boat, dove into the water to try and save the boy. Genovese, apparently affected by the frigid water, had to be rescued.

The accident was reported to Coast Guard officials at about 2 p.m. According to a Coast Guard news release, numerous searches were conducted of the area by members of the Coast Guard, local and state police, a dive team and by a commercial salvage boat.

Two days later, investigators confirmed finding Nicholas’ black T-shirt wrapped around the boat’s propeller, state police said.

Federal requirements mandate that tour boats be equipped with at least one life jacket per person aboard but, under New Jersey state law, only children 12 and under are required to wear one. Nicholas was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.

— Jason Fell

Rare albino alligator at Norwalk aquarium

A large, 8-foot-long white alligator will be taking up residence in a special outdoor exhibit at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn.

The rare reptile will be joined by nearly two dozen typical-colored baby alligators.

The gators will only be at The Maritime Aquarium for the summer, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

American alligators primarily inhabit freshwater swamps and marshes, but they can sometimes be found in rivers and lakes.

Hunting of the reptiles for meat and skin, pollution and other threats put the American alligator’s survival in question by the middle of the 20th century, but the greatest danger facing the American alligator still is the loss of its wetland habitat.

A permitting process allows commercial alligator farmers to collect wild alligator eggs; nearly 20 percent of the hatchlings are returned to the wild. During a collection trip in 1992, a Louisiana alligator farmer collected eggs that yielded the world’s first known albino alligators.

Albino alligators, which lack any pigmentation in their bodies because of a genetic abnormality, are unlikely to survive in the wild. Their stark white color makes them easy prey, and they sunburn very quickly.

They are extremely rare — one in 100,000 American alligators are albinos, and only 40 are known to exist. www.maritimeaquarium.org

Conn. River slips will cost double

Boat owners in the lower Connecticut River Valley Town of Old Saybrook, Conn., received some bad news recently. According to a new fee schedule approved by residents, people who rent slips at the town dock will be expected to pay up to $150 more per year — nearly twice the regular fee.

Peter Frederickson, chairman of the town’s Harbor Management Commission, told news sources the fee hike will help pay for repairs at the ailing town dock. The dock is mostly used by the town’s few remaining commercial fishermen. The revised fees do not include state taxes.

The deteriorating condition of the dock was a hotly debated topic among residents last year. The issue also raised questions about the low fees being charged.

Since then, commission members have devised a $56,000 repair plan for the dock. But not everyone is convinced the new fee schedule is a good idea. Commission member Richard Goduti told news sources he thinks the repairs will cost more than anticipated, and that the fees are not “value-based.”

“I have no problem with subsidizing commercial fishermen [who use the facility], but not recreational boaters,” he says.

Proposed renovations include raising the grade level to prevent flooding, dredging the 24 slips, and replacing the wooden floating docks.

The dock was the landing for the Old Saybrook/Old Lyme ferry until 1911.

— Jason Fell

Hunter yachts to rendezvous in Maine

Owners of Hunter yachts will have a variety of Hunter rendezvous, regattas and events to choose from in 2005, in both the United States and Canada.

The rendezvous for the Northeast Region will take place July 16 to 30 at Ocean Point Marina inEast Boothbay, Maine. For information, call (207) 576-5433. www.mainehuntersailing.com

Arrested for illegal fishing

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection announced in May its Division of Environmental Conservation Police made an arrest in the alleged illegal taking of blackfish during the closed season, and for the illegal operation of a party fishing vessel. The arrest was made following an investigation prompted by a complaint received by EnCon Police at DEP Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn.

A complaint was received May 4 that the party fishing vessel James Joseph II out of Huntington, N.Y., was taking and keeping tautog (blackfish) during the closed season. The season for taking blackfish is closed by regulation from May 1 through June 14, both for commercial and recreational purposes.

State Environmental Conservation Police Officers responded with Norwalk Police Marine Unit and found the vessel, owned and operated by James W. Schneider, 42, in Connecticut waters. The officers reported they found nine blackfish aboard and that Schneider, vessel owner and operator, had not renewed his Connecticut party vessel license. Schneider was arrested for operating a party vessel without a license and nine counts of possession of blackfish during the closed season. He was released on a cash bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwalk superior court.