(High) The Westerly Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force appears to be gaining good traction after a rough period and it comes at a critical time. With all area towns experiencing their share of the opioid-induced drug overdose crisis, the task force is getting the community talking about all aspects of this tragedy. During a community forum on Thursday, members of the Westerly Ambulance Corps and Westerly Police Department talked about their experiences responding to such calls, and those who have been directly affected shared stories and thoughts for addressing the crisis. A need for more addiction services, which has been mentioned in the past, continues to be discussed. Talking is an important step and we hope more services are the next step.
(High) It’s been a successful 12 months for the Westerly Education Center, the region’s job training and adult education facility. The variety of offerings has grown from the initial focus on workforce training to help Electric Boat fill positions in its submarine shipyard to courses offered by colleges across the state. And it appears that more growth is in the offing. “Our focus for 2018 will be the launch of the process technologist training program, as well as identifying and providing solutions for underserved workforce development and training needs. We’re a highly motivated team, driven by our desire to improve the educational training and job opportunities of our community,” said center director Amy Grzybowski in last Sunday’s story on the one year mark.
(High) Stonington is already home to the state’s biggest tourist draws in Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium, but town leaders are pushing for more commercial revenue to bulk up the grand list. The Economic Development Commission is in the process of evaluating submissions for a new logo as one element in an effort to attract more business. A moderate increase in commercial and light industry will help keep taxes in check, a concept we find appealing. With I-95 running through town and four exits from Mystic to Pawcatuck allowing easy access — with a good amount of land still available near the highway — this makes sense.
(Low) If you’re in the workforce you probably know a coworker who has been hit by the flu this season. This is one of the toughest seasons locally for full-blown cases of flu, but the message from healthcare professionals is that even this deep into the season, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The Westerly Hospital staff has treated 43 cases of flu since October as of last week. Statewide, there have been 203 flu-related hospital admissions, 94 just last week. Dr. Oliver Mayorga, chief medical officer at Westerly Hospital, is urging those who have not had the vaccination to get it. Flu season lasts until May.