Looking Back at 2012, part 3

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Dec. 26, 2012
Jonathan Rico performs as the Scarecrow in 'The Wiz.' File photos.
Jonathan Rico performs as the Scarecrow in 'The Wiz.' File photos.

The summer of 2012 began with a few celebrations.

Manny Jimenez – a member of the U.S. Marines who was injured in Afghanistan – was welcomed to Glastonbury, as his home on Addison Road was completed through the Purple Heart Homes program, along with help from the town and countless volunteers.
Jimenez fought tears as he accepted the key to his new home. “I want to thank the town of Glastonbury for taking on this project,” Jimenez said, adding that he had also gotten a lot of support from his family since his life-changing injury.

“Once I got hurt, my mom pretty much dropped everything and came to my bedside,” he said, adding that he has stayed at his mother's home since leaving the hospital. “Now that I'm leaving [there],” he said, “I have the support of the town of Glastonbury, which has joined my family.”

Glastonbury teen Jaine' Coann Lefebvre earned the title of Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen at the Miss Connecticut pageant in late June. Lefebvre, a student at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts, performed an operatic vocal and spread her platform on the importance of wearing helmets and pads while playing sports to more children in Connecticut. “It's one of those things that people don't think about too much,” she said, “but it's something that kids need to be encouraged to do.” Lefebvre went on to become first runner-up in the national Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition in August.

In a very different pageant, the Parks and Recreation Department's Pooch Pageant on July 9, Selina Soule, 11, and her German short-haired pointer Johnny earned the Best in Show. Johnny's costume had an aquatic theme, complete with life jacket, as well as a personal platform of water safety for everyone – adults, children and canines.

At a public hearing, supporters of the next phase for Riverfront Park came out in droves to speak on behalf of the proposed river access, boathouse, basketball court, ice rink and other amenities planned for the missing link between the park's completed areas. “I look at the cost of this project, and I see that we're going to pay for this over 20 years, but we're really going to get several generations of lifetime use out of this,” said resident Charlie Smith. The Glastonbury Town Council voted to hold a referendum on the project on Election Day, where it later passed.

Several local farmers convened at a farmers' market on the Hubbard Green in late July. Although there are other farmers' markets in town, this new collaborative effort was the first for many. "As a start-up [farm], we’re feeling a lot of growing pains," said Chris Ackerman, owner of Woolly Acres. "This is great for us to network with other farmers and learn, and for getting our name out there – letting people know we’re up there, and what we do.”

Many families enjoyed time together at the Riverfront Music Series, which included a rainy-but-enjoyable show by Changes in Latitudes, among the many acts this summer. Some families also enjoyed more active outings, taking part in the Family Fun Runs, held at Glastonbury High School on summer Tuesdays.

Madeline, 4, has been running the mile race, but has recently run the 2.4-mile run with her mother, Danielle O'Connell. "We did it together,” O'Connell said. “It's fun and it's a great way to get the kids interested in it. Everyone's really supportive and a lot of people cheer each other on.”

On Friday, Aug. 10, a strong storm hit southeastern parts of Glastonbury at about 4:45 p.m. A tornado warning was issued, but it was later determined that it was a micro-burst. No one was hurt, but several homes were damaged, as were power lines. Glastonbury Director of Civil Preparedness Bobby Dibella said power was out at about 2,000 homes, but most of those had been restored within 24 hours.

“CL&P responded immediately,” Dibella said. “They were great. They even brought in extra crews - line crews and tree crews. They started on the downed power lines right away.”

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