Looking Back: Fall 2012

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester/Bolton - posted Thu., Dec. 27, 2012
Denise L'Heureux and Dr. Spaulding urged residents to reject the referendum for expanding Mary Cheney Library on Nov. 6. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.
Denise L'Heureux and Dr. Spaulding urged residents to reject the referendum for expanding Mary Cheney Library on Nov. 6. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.

Fall 2012 in Manchester and Bolton saw some fun and momentous events. Other moments were tumultuous, still others sorrowful.
Election Day ended a fierce and close campaign season at the national level, but in Manchester, a highly polarizing issue was finally put to rest, as residents rejected a referendum item that would have bonded $12.5 million to expand and renovate Mary Cheney Library.

Elected officials and a dedicated group of supporters favored the project, which would have added an addition to the north side of the library and offered relief to the crowded stacks. It also would have brought the entire structure up to code. Opponents vocally opposed the plan, which they believed encroached on Center Memorial Park, lacked adequate parking spots, and misdirected funds better used on schools. The project was defeated 13,000 to 9,500.

Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the east coast on Monday, Oct. 29, failed to live up to the hype for most residents of Manchester. About 7 percent of the town lost power, and many residents reported that their power was restored quickly. With inevitable comparisons made to tropical storm Irene and the October snowstorm of 2012, residents seemed unanimous in the opinion that CL&P had stepped up its game.

In Bolton, residents were not so lucky. About 80 percent of residents lost power, and many did not get it back for several days. However, a well-prepared team of town administrators rose to the challenge and provided shelter and food at the high school, as well as coordinating with ASPLUNDH crews and CL&P to repair power lines as soon as possible. Clear headway was made in time for Halloween: only 20 percent of the town was without power on Oct. 31.

The 76th Manchester Road Race, held Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, Nov. 22, attracted 15,000 registered runners and thousands more as spectators. The 4.748-mile race that starts and ends on Main Street was won this year by Aaron Braun of Arizona, who tied with record-holder Phillimon Hanneck with a time of 21:19.4.

However, Thanksgiving was not a joyful day for many in Manchester, as on the day before, Wednesday, Nov. 21, freshman student Malvrick Donkor drowned in the Manchester High School pool during gym class. His passing was strangely similar to the death of Marcum Asiamah, who drowned in the East Hartford High School pool on Jan. 11. Both boys were freshmen, and both were originally from Ghana.

Donkor's funeral ceremony was held Saturday, Dec. 15, following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown on Friday, Dec. 14, and underscoring the tragic loss of life for so many innocent young people.

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