Really, more snow?!?! If winter fatigue hadn’t set in, it has to have done so now. Heavy, wet snow fell Thursday morning, at times with flakes so big they looked like confetti in a ticker-tape parade. Then, much like the previous storm, it turned to rain and created a slushy mess. But Mother Nature wasn’t finished. Two days later, we had another storm, again with heavy, wet snow and, at times, near-whiteout conditions. It started a bit before 1 p.m. on Saturday and didn’t taper off until late in the evening. More snow plowing; more snow blowing; more snow shoveling. More stress on already-aching backs; more days added to school calendars; more strain on town budgets. According to Gary Lessor, assistant to the director of meteorological studies at the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, we’ve now had nine snowstorms this winter. Please, Mother Nature, enough is enough.
More than 30 people donned tutus, Speedos and 5-inch high heels last weekend in a fundraising parade of sorts from Handlebar Café to the Stonington Police Station and back. The event, dubbed the Stilettos and Speedos Benefit for Dorian Murray, raised money for the Westerly 6-year-old, who’s battling a resurgence of cancer. While the oddly dressed paraders were braving the weather, more than 50 crowded Handlebar, buying T-shirts and raffle tickets and showing support for Dorian. “This is a great example of how a local business comes out to help and brings people together in a time of need,” said Stonington First Selectman Ed Haberek, who dressed in casual clothes but added a purple wig. Handlebar owner Elizabeth Mitchell-Cipriano estimated that several thousand dollars were raised through the event, and said she hoped to host the fundraiser annually.
Stonington took a second step to righting a wrong: The Board of Finance approved $1.2 million not to just patch up the leaky Deans Mill School roof, but to replace it completely. “We don’t want to be visiting this two years from now, or three years, for the rest of the roof,” said Chairman John O’Brien. The funding request, approved Wednesday, moves to the Board of Selectmen, who must approve it before it goes before voters at a town meeting or referendum. If approved by voters, the roof work could begin during April vacation and be finished over the summer. “Kids shouldn’t be sitting in a leaking building,” said board member Sandy Grimes.
New England Science & Sailing was honored with U.S. Sailing’s 2013 Outstanding Community Sailing Program Award. The award is given based on growth in the number of students who take part in programs, program offerings and partnerships in the community. “It’s a major milestone for us,” said Spike Lobdell, president of the Stonington Borough sailing center, who noted that student growth in the local program has nearly doubled over the past year, from about 1,400 in 2012 to 2,700 last year. NESS also uses sailing to teach science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM subjects. “NESS is one of the few places in the country that combines a strong marine science foundation with the great sport of sailing,” said Jessica Servis, who manages the education program for U.S. Sailing.
Westerly Area Youth Lacrosse uses only a small portion of the 57-acre Bradford Preserve, but that’s apparently too much for some Bradford residents, who complained Monday to the Town Council that the league is overstepping its bounds by producing excessive noise, traffic and using too much fertilizer, as well as having created two fields instead of the stipulated one. “We want our old land preserve back,” said resident Deborah McCue, explaining that a historic stone wall was dismantled to set up the field, and that despite assurances to the contrary, fences, bleachers, goals and other items are left on the field at all times. Council President Diana Serra asked for a spirit of coexistence: “It’s nice that the field is there. Lacrosse has become a very popular sport and the council supports that, but at the same time we have to make sure that the quality of life in the neighborhood hasn’t changed.” Let’s hope the two sides can find a common ground.