Highs and lows from last week

Highs and lows from last week

The Westerly Sun

High: The Whalerock property in Charlestown, once slated for a housing development, and more recently, as the site of two giant wind turbines, is now owned by the town and will be preserved as open space. The deal on the 75-acre property was closed on Wednesday, and no one was happier than Town Council President Thomas Gentz. “I’m absolutely thrilled,” he said. “I think that [land] is Charlestown. That piece of property, when you drive into Charlestown on Route 1, it makes you decompress, and it demonstrates the whole character and nature of our town.”

Low: A low-flying helicopter with armed individuals hanging out of its sides firing high-powered weapons in Charlestown sent neighbors to their phones to alert authorities. Police enlisted the help of the Federal Aviation Administration in Boston and Washington, as well as the state attorney general’s office and Rhode Island State Police, in their investigation into the incident, in which the shooters used a junked vehicle at a gravel bank for target practice. Later, Dean F. Scalera, the licensed pilot, was contrite. “I apologized up and down,” he said, adding he and his friends thought “it would be cool to do this, but we won’t do it again.”

High: More than 60 congregation members of St. Andrew Lutheran Church sang and celebrated as they burned the church’s mortgage, which was paid off after 25 years. “We’re here to celebrate being debt free and free to serve,” the Rev. Lisa Stoen Hazelwood said. “This is a huge turning point in the life of the church.” St. Andrew, which began in 1986, needed only two years of a three-year capital appeal to reach its goal of paying off the mortgage. “We’re just amazed at the generosity of our congregation,” Hazelwood said.

High: Nearly three years after a group of former Westerly Public School educators started The Supper Table, which is open to anyone, is volunteer-run and relies on financial contributions from the community, officials are looking to expand its bus service so more people can partake. The weekly dinner is free, chef-prepared and serves as a reminder of the role dinner can play in getting families to sit down together. “We always want to be here for people,” said Sylvia Blanda, who helped create The Supper Table in December 2010. “We know there are more people out there who we could be serving. If we could expand, they could enjoy this, too.” To add bus routes, though, The Supper Table needs more donations and residents to help officials pinpoint the areas with the greatest need for service.

High: Printing Plus owner Colin Donahue has taken over the former Soucy Tire Center at 179 Main St., and he has a lot of plans for the space, including expanded services such as engraving and photography printing. Donahue added he hopes the renovations to the new building will inspire others on the street to update their properties. “We think this building is pretty important as far as revitalizing Main Street,” he said. “Once someone starts to fix things up, it can be an incentive for neighbors to do the same.” Donahue expects Printing Plus to be settled in at its new home by the end of the year.


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