The Westerly Land Trust has been celebrating its 30th anniversary all year, but Sunday was a special event marking the milestone with a day-long Harvest Festival and 5K road race at the Avondale Farm Preserve. Thanks to the passion and determination of a few residents — Cynthia Lafferty, Jonathan Eckel, Harvey Perry, Calvert Groton, Theodore Goodchild, David Panciera and Clement Griscom — the land trust has grown into a vital organization that has ensured the protection of 30 properties and 1,600 acres in Westerly, the vast majority open for public use. Westerly residents, and those in the surrounding towns are fortunate to have such a group supporting this kind of quality of life concept.
Without a doubt one of the highlights of the week was the story about Richmond Department of Public Works Director Scott Barber and his rather offbeat method of getting National Grid to respond to power line damage in his town after the Oct. 29-30 storm. He told the Town Council last week that the utility’s lack of communication as of Tuesday, two days after the storm hit, led him to keep a tree crew — under contract to the utility for routine trimming and using the DPW lot courtesy of the town — from accessing their trucks until National Grid responded. Barber’s primary responsibility is to residents of the town and his unorthodox move was justified.
Students and teachers across the region hosted special programs to honor veterans in their communities. Events at Ashaway and Dunns Corners elementary schools were featured in our coverage as was a program hosted by the Westerly Armory that allowed Westerly High School students and local Vietnam veterans to discuss the war and the veterans’ experiences in an informal roundtable discussion format that included lunch. These oral history events provide a wonderful learning experience for students and a good alternative to the routine classroom curriculum.
Sounds like we anyone planning a lunch meeting should consider the South County Room at Chariho Tech where students are turning out fine restaurant quality meals as part of their curriculum. Chef Sara Reilly, who is in her first year of running the culinary arts program and is a veteran of restaurant kitchens, is being credited with bringing a certain level of sophistication to the menu. Everything is made from scratch, and Reilly has the students plan the menu based on the skills they’re learning at the time. The dining room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sounds like it’s worth a try.