Highs and lows from last week

Highs and lows from last week

The Westerly Sun

High: There have been plenty of horror stories about Healthcare.gov, the federal website that allows you to shop for health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” But there have been no such problems with HealthSource RI, the state’s own insurance exchange. And credit goes to HealthSource RI, which has helped educate consumers from the start by offering seminars and drop-in sessions like the one held Wednesday at the Westerly Public Library. “They’re learning a new language about insurance,” said HealthSource RI contractor Marti Rosenberg, of The Providence Plan. “People are getting it.” Rosenberg was “amazed and happy” at the turnout. In the first hour, about 10 people arrived and, at least, succesfully completed a health insurance application.

High: It was a veritable bonanza for book lovers Wednesday through Saturday at the Westerly Public Library. The Holiday Book Sale 2013, sponsored by the Friends of the Westerly Library, included thousands of books, notably a stellar collection of top-notch cookbooks that was donated by Weekapaug gourmand and former House & Gardens food editor Penelope Wartels. “If anyone likes giving cookbooks as gifts, this is the place to be,” said Margy Long, the longtime book sale coordinator. Several local interest books were another highlight of the sale, which also included CDs, games, puzzles, movies and plenty of children’s books. All proceeds from the sale went to a worthy cause: helping the library purchase new materials.

Low: Richmond, Charlestown and Hopkinton and have consistently been at odds when it comes to Chariho School District, and Richmond Town Council members vented their frustration at a Tuesday meeting, when the subject of closing Hope Valley Elementary School was proposed. “We keep rehashing the same things over and over again with no change, to the point of why are we having the omnibus meetings,” Councilor Erick Davis said. “If we propose changes, the other towns don’t seem to be interested in doing it. ... The Hope Valley School, I think, is a valid suggestion. The reality is, I think it’s going to end up in the same place that the other suggestions went to.” Council members also lamented the fact that no changes to the Chariho Act could be made unless all three towns agreed to support them. Said council member Paul Michaud: “It’s kind of like the United Nations Security Council. If they don’t all vote yes, then nothing can happen, which is one of the most stupid ideas anybody ever came up with.”

High: Jennifer Algieri’s original script, “Timeless,” was brought to life as a holiday compilation musical by Westerly High School’s Stagedogs. Algieri, a junior, completed writing the almost-40-page script in the fall. It chronicles the experiences of teens from different time periods who are on a quest to find the meaning of Christmas. “Finding the meaning of Christmas is an old idea,” Stagedogs director Jack Cottle said, “but (Jennifer’s) is a pretty good rendition of an old idea.” The play opened on Thursday and was performed twice more by the Stagedogs over the weekend.

Low: Stonington First Selectman Edward Haberek Jr. has been complaining to Connecticut Light & Power since July about the lack of light in downtown Pawcatuck, saying the company is not working fast enough to fix or replace defective or damaged streetlamps. On Wednesday night, Haberek’s frustration with the utility company grew even more when, in his opinion, there wasn’t enough light downtown for the annual holiday stroll. “The lighting was hazardous to patrons,” he wrote in an email to CL&P. “This not only provides a risk to pedestrians and the town; it is also an economic development deterrent.” A CL&P spokesman said the problem is repeated vandalism and that it “will once again repair those damaged lights as soon as possible and continue to work with the town on this issue.”


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