Looking Back at 2012, part 4

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Dec. 26, 2012
The Rev. Lindsey Levenson became the new pastor at Buckingham Congregational Church. File photos.
The Rev. Lindsey Levenson became the new pastor at Buckingham Congregational Church. File photos.

'Back to school' had a new meaning for several local students, as the new home of the Glastonbury/East Hartford Magnet School opened its doors to students. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, and it was the first chance for many to tour the state-of-the-art facility.

GEHEMS Principal Glen Peterson said he was overwhelmed by the opening of the school building and excited about the first day of school. “This has been a long time coming,” he said. “It's spectacular. It's fantastic just seeing the happy faces on the kids.”

Glastonbury resident Kevin Ollie was named the new coach of the UConn Huskies men's basketball team, as 26-year coach Jim Calhoun stepped down.  “I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but right here,” Ollie said. “This is my dream job. I was made for this job.”

National Senior Citizen Center Month was celebrated at Glastonbury's own center, including a  special event recognizing those 90 and older. “You are proof that the older individual can live a useful, active and productive life,” Skoronski told the nonagenarians (and a couple of centenarians), at the Sept. 27 event.

The 38th annual Apple Harvest Festival was a huge success, as thousands came to Riverfront Park to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes over the weekend of Oct. 13-14. While many enjoyed the vendor booths, exhibitions and rides at the midway, others said the biggest attraction was the food. “Everything was great,” said Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ellen Dombrowski.

“The quicker you know of an issue, the quicker you can mitigate it,” said Sgt. Rich McKeon of the Glastonbury Police Department's computer crime lab, as he spoke to parents at Smith Middle School, on Oct. 18, about what teens are doing on the Internet and how they can intervene and possibly prevent bullying behavior.

“This is the issue that I think we all struggle with – what to tell our kids if they are witnessing that,” McKeon said. “The right answer is they need to get involved and tell the kid to knock it off. That's hard for some kids to do, but that's what they need to do.”

While most of the damage from hurricane-then-storm Sandy was done in New York, New Jersey and along the Connecticut shore, Glastonbury didn't go unscathed from the event. “There were a lot of scattered outages,” town officials said. “There's really not much destruction to look at.” At the peak after the storm about 60 percent of the town was without power, but it was restored after just a few days, in part due to the lessons learned from the October snowstorm of 2011.  “Part of it is resources to bring to bear after you've identified what the problem is, and it takes a lot of resources,” said Town Manager Richard Johnson about the power-restoration and cleanup efforts.

The Glastonbury Alcohol and Drug Council (GLAD) held an informal round-table discussion about bullying in November. Much of the discussion was about how the schools are trying to create a safer climate. “It's hard for schools, because it's what schools consider to be an unfunded mandate,” said Sheryl Sprague, GLAD president. “In other words, you have to do this, but we're not going to give you any more money to do it. You're going to have to educate all of your staff on what bullying is and how to report it.”

GHS sports teams fared well yet again.The boys' soccer team had an impresseive 13-2-1 season, but was nicked by one goal in the first round of the CIAC Class LL tournament. The field hockey team went 12-2-1-1 in the regular season and made it to the quarterfinal round. The GHS football team capped a 9-1 season with a run to the Class LL semifinals. The girls' soccer team had a perfect 16-0 record in the regular season and returned to the state finals where the Tomahawks lost a heart-breaker to Newtown, 2-1. The Tomahawks had allowed just four goals for the entire season, while scoring 75 in the regular season and 11 in five tournament games.

Coach Joe Finocchiaro said it was just a couple of unlucky bounces that cost the Tomahawks' in the final game.

“We just ran out of luck,” Finocchiaro said. “I’m very proud of this team. They played their hearts out the entire season.”

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