Spring highlights from the year 2013

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Thu., Dec. 19, 2013
Roland Baillargeon played in front of Jeremiah's at Putnam's 'Spring is a Circus' First Friday in May. File photos by D. Coffey.
Roland Baillargeon played in front of Jeremiah's at Putnam's 'Spring is a Circus' First Friday in May. File photos by D. Coffey.

The 2013 NASCAR season started up in April at the Thompson International Speedway. The 2014 season in Thompson may be looking very different after owners paved a separate 1.7-mile track. They want to attract race club members for private events and high-performance driving schools.

According to The Last Green Valley, 80 percent of the forest and farm land in the 35 towns that make up the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor are privately owned. Protecting that mosaic of land is vital to the large ecosystem. Some of the organizations involved in conservation measures in the quiet corner include the Connecticut Audubon Society, Connecticut Forest and Parks Association, Wolf Den Land Trust, Joshua's Trust, Connecticut Farmland Trust, Nature Conservancy, Wyndham Land Trust, Northern Connecticut Land Trust and New Roxbury Land Trust. 

It was hard for many people to watch the slow sell-off of items from Wonderland Books during the month of April. The store had been a Putnam fixture for almost 20 years. Owner Patti Rodin kept its shelves stocked with an eclectic array of books, educational toys, puzzles, jewelry and cards. Putnam’s Main Street lost a treasure when it closed.

Taking a cue from the Passport to Connecticut Farm Wineries Program, the town of Thompson instituted a Farm Passport Program in the spring. Several of the town’s 20 farms joined together to offer recreational activities and family friendly events to area residents. Thompson’s Agriculture Commission member Lynn Landry said bringing people to the farms made sense because agriculture is a cornerstone of the town, and many towns in northeastern Connecticut.

Speaking of agriculture, it was with great pleasure that shoppers greeted the first farmers' market of the season at the Putnam pavilion on Kennedy Drive. Farm fresh produce, artisan breads and baked goods, flowers, vegetables, herbs, cheese, goat milk soap, maple products and more were for sale throughout the summer months in four locations throughout the Quiet Corner.

Putnam hosted its first First Friday of the year with “Spring is a Circus” on May 3. This was the third year of the art-based street festival. The popular event has become a fixture on many a summer calendar.

Putnam High students staged “Our Town,” a play that Director Rae-Anne Laprade called “storytelling at its essence.” The students would have made author Thornton Wilder proud.

There were more than 259 hikes, walks, paddles, bike and horseback rides scheduled throughout the state for Connecticut Trails Day on June 1.  One-hundred-fifty-two cities and towns in the state sponsored an event during the weekend.

Interfaith Human Services of Putnam, a pillar of strength to those in need, provided $80,000 worth of services during the past year. The all-volunteer organization oversees the operation of the Daily Bread Food Pantry, the Clothing Closet, and the Diaper Bank of Northeastern Connecticut. They provide fuel and heating assistance, homelessness prevention funds, Thanksgiving baskets and offer free meals to children in the summer.

Quarter midget racers took to Little T Speedway for the season. While the cars are small and the racers young, it is a competitive sport strong on safety and driving skill. Older, experienced, upper division racers can reach speeds close to 65 mph.

The seventh annual Particle Accelerator concert brought music and hope to Putnam. Grace and Jack Young, Sr., organized the concert in memory of their son, Jack Young, Jr., who died of suicide in 2007. Their goal is to honor his art, raise awareness about suicide and remember all those lost to it.

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