Looking back at 2013 in East Hartford: Part 2

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Thu., Dec. 26, 2013
Nathan Quesnel, the superintendent of East Hartford public schools, was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s ‘40 under Forty’ list.  Photos by Corey AmEnde.
Nathan Quesnel, the superintendent of East Hartford public schools, was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s ‘40 under Forty’ list. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

The second half of 2013 began with the most tragic local story of the year, with the passing of two brothers killed in a car accident during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 14. Recent East Hartford High School graduate Robert Swain, 18, and his younger brother, La’Andrew Evans-Swain, 16, were passengers in a car that crashed into a tree on Forest Street just after 4 a.m.

Police said Robert was pronounced dead at the scene, while La’Andrew was pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital. Uyi Osunde, Robert’s guidance counselor at the high school, said Robert was “a fun-loving kid.”

Three arrests were made in connection with the fatal crash, including Eric Watson, 18, of 22 St. Regis St., in East Hartford, who was the driver of the car in which the brothers were riding.  

Robert was a three-sport athlete while at EHHS, where he was a member of the football, wrestling and volleyball teams.  He was honored during an emotional pre-game ceremony before the game against Hall on Friday, Oct. 11. “It’s very special to be coming here to celebrate the life of Robert and what he meant to these kids,” said his father, Robert Swain, Jr., after the ceremony.

Mayor Marcia Leclerc introduced Susan Hansen, the town’s new library director, during an August meeting of the Town Council.  Hansen has 25 years of experience in public libraries and took over during a busy time, with renovations taking place at Raymond Library.  A groundbreaking ceremony for the renovations took place on Oct. 31.

Superintendent of East Hartford Public Schools Nathan Quesnel was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s "40 under Forty" list.   The 35-year-old completed his first year as Superintendent of East Hartford Public Schools during the year.  He’s spent all of his 11 years in education in East Hartford, starting as an English teacher at the high school. 

When students returned to Synergy Alternative High School from summer break they were greeted by Dr. Craig Outhouse, their new principal. Outhouse has worked in the East Hartford school system since 2008 and took over as Synergy approaches its 40th anniversary.

Mayor Leclerc was re-elected during the November elections, defeating Republican challenger Jack Jacobs.  Leclerc was officially sworn in to her second term as mayor on Nov. 8.  Although this is her second elected term, Leclerc has been in the mayor’s seat since Jan. 20, 2011, after she was selected to fill the unexpired term of former mayor Melody Currey. 

Members of the Planning and Zoning commission voted 7-0 during their meeting on Nov. 13 to approve regulations for medical marijuana facilities.  P & Z Chair Anthony Kayser stressed that the regulations were strictly to address the potential for medical marijuana facilities applying to locate in town and that the move was, “a proactive measure on the part of the commission.”

Residents celebrated the 21st annual Holiday Fest from Dec. 6 through Dec. 9.  The four-day celebration featured 28 different events across town, was sponsored by the East Hartford Beautification Commission and is supported by numerous civic, community and town organizations.  All proceeds from the event went to support the local food banks.

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