Highs and lows from last week

Highs and lows from last week


(HIGH) There’s not much we love more than some Del’s Frozen Lemonade on a hot summer day, but the story on our Monday front page might qualify: Westerly residents Jason and Caylan Konturas have purchased the Del’s franchise in Richmond. The couple has big plans for “Extreme Freeze,” a play on their “Extreme Tan” store on Granite Street, and the franchise includes territory rights to the Ashaway, Hopkinton, Hope Valley and Exeter markets. They are busy readying three mobile Del’s trucks to cover this wide swath of South County, and we thirstily await the fruits of their labor. Watching these Westerly High graduates invest their time and money to build multiple businesses in the area — well, that’s even more refreshing than an ice-cold Del’s.

(LOW) The news out of Providence last Sunday was grim: eight acrobats were injured when a support frame that helped hold them during a hair-hanging stunt failed, sending them crashing to the ground on top of another acrobat less than an hour into the 11 a.m. performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Thankfully, none of the injuries were life-threatening, and the owners of the circus thanked the residents and first-responders of the City of Providence in a heartfelt letter later in the week. The incident begs the question: When the safety of the performers can’t even be guaranteed, can the circus remain a viable form of live entertainment? One of the injured acrobats told the Associated Press after being released from the hospital, “For me, you gotta get back up and do it again.” We’re not so sure about that, despite the fond memories of childhood the circus evokes in many of us.

(LOW) After North Stonington voters rejected a $46.99 million plan to improve the town’s three schools, the town finds itself still perilously pinched between the proverbial rock and a hard place. It would be hard to find anyone who would argue the schools do not need improvements, but many are casting a “no” vote because of the cost. Despite a slow but steady improvement in the economy, a good portion of the citizenry doesn’t want to take the property tax hit that a “yes” vote would set in motion. It’s a scenario that is being repeated in many towns across Connecticut and Rhode Island, including Stonington, which is just beginning to address its elementary school renovation needs. But at what point does ensuring a quality education for the next generation of children outweigh the monetary considerations? It’s a question fraught with implications, not the least of which is whether North Stonington remains a place where people feel comfortable raising a family.

(HIGH) Speaking of education, Stonington voters overwhelmingly passed a budget Tuesday night. But it was a bittersweet victory for parents who had fought hard to get money restored to the schools budget, an effort that yielded a $270,000 reduction in the amount the Board of Finance sought to cut but still left the administration in a $255,000 hole. Still, voters made the best of a bad situation — a “no” vote would have meant more cuts. On Thursday, the Board of Education slashed more jobs and programs to bring the budget in line. But it could have been worse, and sometimes even the smallest of victories is better than no victory at all.

(HIGH) We love our history around these parts. Living in some of the oldest settled lands in the country kind of does that to you. So we were delighted when workers preparing to paint the facade above Westerly Jewelry on High Street as part of the Benjamin Moore “Main Street Matters” program uncovered the old stained-glass sign for Stillman’s bookstore and stationery shop. It was a fleeting glimpse into Downtown Westerly’s glorious past, and a reminder of the vibrancy of its present. Here’s to making more history in the future.

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