Low: Another chapter in the seemingly never-ending Copar Quarries saga occurred when members of the Comolli family, which owns the land where Copar Quarries operates, said that measures approved by the Westerly Town Council to prohibit quarry operations in areas zoned for residential use and to ban the use of heavy commercial vehicles on Quarry Road were aimed at putting them out of business. “I feel that what’s happening here is the Town Council ... is trying to close me down, is trying to close Copar corporation down,” said family patriarch Richard Comolli. Town Council President Diana Serra said the council was not trying to put “anyone out of business,” but instead is committed to protecting the health of Bradford residents. Meanwhile, next door in Charlestown, the Planning and Zoning Commission started work on a new excavation ordinance in response to residents’ complaints about noise, dust and blasting at the quarry site. “We’d be writing an ordinance basically that would help regulate (Copar),” Town Planner Ashley Hahn said.
High: Donna Simmons, the only female member of Bluff Avenue LLC, the group behind the preservation and restoration of the Ocean House, was named to the board of directors of The United Way of Rhode Island. “I am humbled, honored and proud to become a board member,” Simmons, a Watch Hill resident, said. “It is an organization that has proven over and over that it can mobilize the caring power of our local communities to improve the lives of people in need.” Simmons co-chairs, along with Nancy Loney, an initiative called Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children. It was created about a year ago to promote childhood literacy and support out-of-school programs.
Low: The Stonington Board of Finance voted 5-1 to table the K-12 School Building Committee’s request for $50,000 to hire an architect — the next step in its proposed elementary schools renovation and expansion project. “It squeezes us a little in our timeline,” said Robert Marseglia, the committee’s chairman. “We didn’t have much margin to work with. We’ll just have to work a little harder and faster once the decision is made.” The committee, working on plans to renovate and expand West Vine Street and Deans Mill schools, is facing a deadline of June 30, 2014, to submit a project application to the state for consideration. If the June 30 deadline is missed, Stonington must wait another year to apply.
High: Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, a veterans advocacy group, has started construction on a housing project for disabled, low-income veterans and their families on Pierce Street in Westerly, and expects the work to be completed by the end of 2014. In addition to providing housing, the community center will be staffed with Operation Stand Down personnel to provide services to any veterans in the area. Services will include job training and placement, assistance in obtaining disability services, and referrals and coordination for mental health services. “This is going to be quite the place,” said Erik B. Wallin, executive director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.
High and Low: Classroom size at the kindergarten level is at capacity at all four of Westerly’s elementary schools. Out of the district’s 11 kindergarten classes, eight have 20 students and Bradford, Dunn’s Corners and State Street schools each have one class with 21 students. But on the flip side, overall enrollment across the district — has dropped by 27 students from a year ago, according to the released data. The decline is part of a slow but steady trend for Westerly Public Schools over the last decade, Superintendent Roy Seitsinger Jr. said.