Looking back at some of the highlights from early 2013
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Thu., Dec. 19, 2013
The year 2013 brought with it the openings and expansions of several key institutions serving northeast Connecticut. In January, the United Services Center for Autism had a grand opening of its 6,000-square-foot facility in Wauregan. It provides assessments and evaluations, tutoring, vocational training and social and recreational opportunities for individuals of all ages on the autism spectrum. The center is the only comprehensive provider in all of eastern Connecticut.
In Dayville, construction continued on Ellis Tech’s $8.4 million renovation. The school will be able to accommodate 792 students once culinary arts and a two-person architectural technology shop come on-line. Completed construction is slated for 2015.
Lest we forget, a Point In Time homelessness count was conducted on Jan. 29. The PIT counts are conducted every two years and provide data on which federal funding is granted to area agencies to serve the homeless.
In February, Cindy Parsons, of Danielson, represented more than 130 northeastern Connecticut women in the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection Fashion Show in New York City. Parsons had lost 77 pounds, lowered her resting heart rate, blood pressure and body mass index while participating in a nine-month heart health initiative funded with a $100,000 grant from the Heart Truth, and sponsorship of the Northeast District Department of Health and HealthQuest Northeast Connecticut.
School security upgrades were discussed by boards of educations and towns in the weeks and months following the Newtown tragedy. The Killingly BOE held a forum that began with a silent three-minute video honoring the Newtown students and staff. In the back of the auditorium, 26 chairs were marked with green ribbons. Both served as stark reminders of a reality that's pushed itself to the forefront of discussions about the measures communities can take to safeguard their children. In Plainfield, the BOF unanimously approved a $49,000 request to upgrade security in four schools.
The Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society held its third annual interfaith community Seder in March. The celebration brought together more than 80 community members of different faith traditions to join together in worship and praise.
The Killingly Agriculture Commission sponsored the first of its outreach programs in February. KAG member and bee aficionado Byron Martin led a bee-keeping session. It was the first of many agricultural programs scheduled for the year that included growing vegetables, raising pigs, chickens and goats.
UConn’s Center for Land Use Education and Research held a program for municipal officials at the NECCOG offices in March. CLEAR is recognized as the state’s official certification program in basic land use education for local officials. And it’s a good thing northeast Connecticut has it. TLGV Deputy Executive Director Lois Bruinooge said the program was important on a variety of levels. “The regulatory scheme is not easy to jump into. This is a good way to get volunteers basic training,” said Bruinooge.