Looking back at 2013 in Manchester: Part 1

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Dec. 26, 2013
Mayor Leo Diana waiting for Chuckles’ VIII big announcement on Groundhog Day. File photo by Jennifer Coe.
Mayor Leo Diana waiting for Chuckles’ VIII big announcement on Groundhog Day. File photo by Jennifer Coe.

The first half of the year 2013 was highlighted by two high schools winning state championships.  The co-op hockey team consisting of Newington/Berlin/Manchester took home the Division III title on the ice, while on the court, the East Catholic boys' tennis team captured the Class S title.

In response to the 2012 drowning of Manchester High School freshman Malvrick Donkor, interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Kisiel announced in January that additional safety measures will be implemented at the MHS pool. These included the addition of another adult on the pool deck at all times and the requirement of all students to pass a swimming test before they are allowed in the deep end of the pool. Also, a new lifeguard chair was installed at the pool.

After 40 years of lending a helping hand to teenagers in need of assistance, New Hope Manor closed its doors. New Hope Manor was based in Manchester but served clients throughout the state. Roughly 130 staff members learned of the closing near the end of January. Staff members were told by administrators that the shutdown was due to reductions in state funding.

Chuckles the groundhog made her weather prediction on Saturday, Feb. 2, calling for six more weeks of winter.  A crowd of about 100 people gathered at the Lutz Children’s Museum to hear the big announcement from “Chuckles VIII.”

Two Manchester High School senior football players made history on Feb. 6, when they signed their letters of intent to play Division I football.  Andrew Isaacs, a tight end and linebacker, signed on with Maryland, while quarterback Marquis Little signed with Boston College. This marks the first time that two football players have received Division I scholarships in the same year.

The Newington/Berlin/Manchester hockey team edged the Bolton/Coventry/Rockville squad by a score of 1-0 on March 16 to claim the CIAC Division III hockey state championship.  NBM’s Marco DiPaola scored the game's only goal with 2:34 to go in the second period. 

About 100 boats took part in the 35th annual Hockanum River Canoe and Kayak Race on the first weekend in April.  Proceeds from the race benefit the Hockanum River Linear Park Committee.

On May 9, former Manchester mayor Peter DiRosa was sentenced to 57 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for wire fraud.  DiRosa was elected mayor in 1985 and served as mayor until 1989.

The fourth annual Taste of Manchester was held on Tuesday, May 14, as nearly 400 people tasted the culinary cuisines of various town establishments. The event featured more than 20 restaurants, grocery stores and caterers.  Proceeds from the event benefited the Manchester Dog Owners Group, or MDOG. “Our organization educates the public on responsible dog ownership and the importance of canine recreation,” said Alysha Duke, president of MDOG.

The first half of the year wrapped up with another high school sports state championship; this time it was the East Catholic boys’ varsity tennis team claiming the Class S title.  East Catholic defeated Weston High School to end its 11-year run as the Class S state champions.

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