Columbia-Hebron Police activity June 15-22, 2011 – criminal impersonation, wrecked guard rail

June 29, 2011 Local News No Comments

handcuffed-hands-grain

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Coreta Culpepper, 29, of Columbus, OH, was arrested on an outstanding PRAWN warrant originating out of Madison, CT for failure to respond to an infraction, following an investigation of a suspicious vehicle with reports of people selling items door-to-door on Scarborough Road in Hebron, CT. Police say that upon running the personal information of two individuals, it was found that Culpepper had an outstanding warrant. She was also charged under the name of Jessica Johnson for criminal impersonation and second-degree forgery.

On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Tania Robles, 36, of 203 East St., Hebron, CT was arrested for disorderly conduct, criminal violation of a protective order and third-degree assault following a verbal altercation that escalated to an assault on the victim.

On Friday, June 17, 2011, Gregory Stevens, 26, of Middletown, CT was cited for failure to drive (on the) right following an accident on Jones St., Hebron, CT where police say he lost control while attempting to negotiate a curve on wet pavement and hit a guard rail on the opposite side of the street. The vehicle sustained front-end damage and approximately ten feet of wire guard rail was uprooted. There were no injuries.

On Sunday, June 19, 2011, Garth Senechal, 41, of Lebanon, CT was arrested in Columbia, CT for breach of peace, third-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Posted 6-29-2011

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Columbia part of planning for Route 6 development

route-6-signA panel researching development opportunities for Route 6 invites the public to a workshop Wednesday, June 29, during which they will seek input about project plans.

The Route 6 Regional Economic Development Council was formed by town leaders from Andover, Columbia, Coventry and Bolton in 2005 to look into economic opportunities for the Hop River Corridor, an approximately 12-mile stretch of Route 6 that runs through the four towns.

The workshop will be hosted by the REDC at 7 p.m. on June 29 in the community room at Andover Town Hall. Residents from all four towns – and others – are welcome to attend.

REDC members include Coventry Town Planner Eric Trott, Coventry Town Manager John Elsesser, Andover First Selectmen Robert Burbank, Columbia Town Planner Jana Butts, also a senior planner at the Windham Region Council of Governments, and Bolton Town Administrator Joyce Stille, who chairs the REDC.

The council has made numerous “traffic calming” suggestions based on a traffic study done by the Capital Region Council of Governments ( CRCOG). These will be discussed during the workshop.

One suggestion made by REDC members was to plant a median at the Hebron Road intersection in Andover.

They have also discussed realigning major roads by Lighthouse Ford on Route 6 in Columbia as well as possibly creating a traffic circle in the town.

Andover First Selectmen Robert Burbank said these and other changes are being proposed to improve traffic flow, which could enhance economic development.

“It’s part of the long-term proposal,” Burbank said.

Once plans are finalized, the council will get the state Department of Transportation involved further.

Burbank anticipated that discussions with the DOT might be complicated. “They can be pretty rigid on what they want,” he said.

The project, which the council expects to span 20 years, is multi­faceted.

The main goal of the Route 6 project is trying to dispel its nickname of “Suicide 6,” given to the roadway due to its hazardous conditions, by investigating the cultural, economic and historic opportunities of the area.

In addition to traffic considerations, economic development opportunities are being examined. A study, funded by a $195,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) Grant, investigated these economic opportunities.

Mark Waterhouse of Garnet Consulting in Barkhamsted and LADA, P. C. Land Planners in Simsbury helped with the study.

Andover plans include improving the façade of one of the buildings in the Andover Plaza as well as making the recreational Hop River Trail more pedestrian friendly.

In Bolton, the group hopes to connect Route 6 to Route 44 near Munson’s at 174 Hop River Road.

Coventry plans include developing a property off South Street, referred to as the “Holistic Center” property.

As part of its plans, REDC members are also looking into uniform zoning regulations among the four towns.

“We’re going a couple different directions at the same time,” Burbank said.

For more information, visit www.theroute6hoprivercorridor.com.

Posted June 29, 2011

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Columbia School Report – Enrollment to decrease 30 percent

June 28, 2011 Local News No Comments

studyingA report projects enrollment in the school district to drop by nearly 30 percent over the next 10 years, continuing a trend from the past decade.

The report – used as a tool by school officials – cites numerous reasons for the decline, including a stagnant housing economy and slight migration from the school district.

It also projects enrollment at Horace W. Porter School in 2020 to be half of the 2000 figure.

The report, available on the school district’s web site, columbiaschoolsystem.webs.com, also projects the num­ber of high school students from the district to drop by 29.7 percent by 2020.

A 2007 report also showed a decline, but not actual sta­tistics showed a sharper drop over the last three years.

Columbia school board Chairman Lauren Perrotti-Verboven said the school board uses the projections, which are conducted every few years, when planning class sizes and building use.

“I have a lot of faith in our superintendent (to use the data),” she said.

Superintendent Francine Coss could not be reached for comment.

Peter Prowda, a consultant who does enrollment pro­jections for school districts across the state, completed the report in January and said the decline is based on a number of factors.

One of the biggest factors has been a decline in birth rates over the last few years, but Prowda said in the report even that can be the result of other factors.

He said new home construc­tion and sales of existing homes, both of which are impacted by the economy, are down in both in Columbia and across the state.

Based on U.S. Census data for 2000 and projections for 2009, Columbia’s population grew by 7.6 percent, which ranked the town 42nd in the state.

The state average was only 3.1 percent.

But much of that growth was earlier in the decade and Prowda’s report shows new home construc­tion and sales of existing homes were down sharply over the last five years.

But Prowda said the decline is also partly due to students leaving the district, the result of families with children leaving town or placing their children in private school.

He also said he expects the trend to continue and enrollment at Porter School to drop from 539 students in 2010 to a projected 376 in 2020, a decline of 39.2 percent.

The projected 2020 enrollment would also be a 48.1 percent decrease from 724 students at the school in 2000.

Prowda said it would be the first time enrollment dropped below 400 since 1961.

The report also states public high school enrollment, which peaked at 306 in 2005 and was 278 in 2009, will drop to a pro­jected 180 students in 2020, a decrease of 35.3 percent.

Columbia currently sends stu­dents to Windham, Bolton, Ly­man Memorial, E.O. Smith and Windham Technical high schools. “We’re hoping the stats, of course, are not entirely accurate,” Perrotti-Verboven said of the pro­jections.

She said the school board can try to halt the decline by attract­ing families with young children to Columbia, adding the school district is one of the reasons she moved from South Windham.

“That’s the number one reason why I live here,” she said.

Perrotti-Verboven said the sch­ool district and other town depart­ments currently have programs that reach out to children in sur­rounding towns and she hopes those parents will become attract­ed to the school district.

She also said the town is work­ing to encourage economic devel­opment and keep taxes down.

Perotti-Verboven said she hopes that will also attract young fami­lies to move to Columbia.

But Perrotti-Verboven said the school is working to address the decline at the same time, including consolidating some classes when enrollment figures warrant it.

She also said the school is “built very well” and she is not wor­ried about Porter School becom­ing inefficient in terms of cost to operate as the hallways become less crowded.

Perrotti-Verboven said Porter School contains a series of wings that would allow school officials to consolidate operations to por­tions of the building if necessary. She also said the town could use portions of the school for other uses, such as storage, if space was unused because it is a town building.

Posted 6-28-2011

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Solar panels going up at Columbia's Town Hall

June 27, 2011 Local News No Comments

bright-sun-in-blue-sky-600x400The first in a series of solar panel systems resulting from an agreement last fall is currently being installed at town hall.

Columbia Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said DCS Solar Energy Solutions, based in Glastonbury, has already installed a solar panel at the Adella G. Urban town offices and is working to install all the necessary wiring.

Selectmen agreed in October to work with DCS to find potential sites for solar panels and the company ultimately decided to place pan­els at the Urban town offices and four other loca­tions. “The town is looking to take advantage of ways to save money on utilities,” Luiz said, adding selectmen are also searching for ways to use alternative energy sources.

Luiz said DCS energy will also install panels on the roofs of the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department’s station and the old fire station and on the grounds at the transfer station and town garage.

He said the town would be able to use the energy produced by the panels, but DCS would own the rights to any energy returned to the power grid and be able to claim the tax credits associated with production.

Under the agreement, DCS will install the solar panels and allow the town to utilize the energy for five years, at which point the town can purchase the panels for $1 each.

Luiz also said he reached out to other towns reaching the same agreement with DCS, including Lebanon, before Columbia finalized its arrangement.

He said he visited Lebanon to see its solar panels and also saw pictures of panels in East Hampton and talked with officials in other towns across the state.

“I have only been able to report a positive experience in Lebanon,” Luiz said, adding officials in other towns also gave DCS favor­able reviews.

DCS installed solar panels at Lebanon’s senior center and town garage last year, and town officials were also hoping for systems at the library, town hall and community center.

But solar panel systems require buildings that face south with new, non-metallic roofs that can support panels.

Posted 6-27-2011

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Cheaper electric rates on the way for Columbia

electric-meterAfter hearing area towns found an agreement to offer discount electricity rates to property owners was successful, selectmen Tuesday (June 22) unanimously approved renewing the arrange­ment for another year.

The agreement with Direct En­ergy also includes a reduction in the rates, which are available to both residents and business own­ers.

The rates will be offered to resi­dents who signed up for the “Direct Choice” program, which was first eligible to those in Columbia after selectmen ” piggy backed” onto Coventry’s agreement, Columbia Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said.

Windham, Hebron, Hampton and Colchester also joined the agreement after Coventry made the initial agreement with Direct Energy last year.

The agreement established dis­counted rates through July 31 and the new deal means those in the program will see a reduced rate beginning Aug. 1.

Those in the program will pay 7.99 cents per kilowatt hour from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2012, when the new agreement expires, down from 9.29 cents per kilowatt hour currently.

The program also includes a spe­cial rate for seniors over 65, who would pay 7.89 cents per kilowatt hour, down from 8.99 cents per kilowatt hour currently.

The new pact includes an option to purchase renewable energy at a rate of 8.59 cents per kilowatt hour, something not available in the agreement running through the end of July.

Luiz told selectmen an estimated 56 “entities,” both residents and businesses, in Columbia entered the program with Direct Energy so far.

While residents can try to find the lowest rates from electricity companies on their own, Luiz said the program allows Direct Energy to put the town’s seal on letters and other marketing to residents.

He said giving the town’s “seal of approval” to a specific company is a way of urging more companies to provide the lowest rates pos­sible.

Coventry Town Manager John Elsesser, meanwhile, said the agreement allows the towns to do research on the companies and ensure residents are getting a good deal. “I think it cuts through the clutter of the various vendors out there,” he said, adding residents do not incur a termination fee in the program.

He also said the towns them­selves do not gain anything by entering the agreement because they already have existing con­tracts to purchase electricity for municipal needs.

Posted 6-24-2011

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This weekend – CoventryFest, Celebrate America, Blues Fest and more

Saturday, June 25

ANNUAL TAG SALE – ST. COLUMBA CHURCH
St. Columba Church, junction of routes 66 and 87, Columbia, will be holding its annual tag sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: (860) 228- 2050. Donations accepted.

THRIFT SHOP AND KID’S BOUTIQUE
The Thrift Shop and Kid’s Boutique is open Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon at the First Congregational Church on 199 Valley St., Willimantic. New items every week. Spring items have ar rived. The shops will be closed Saturday, July 2, for the holiday weekend. Info: ( 860) 423- 6827 or visit www.churchw.org.

ANNUAL SUMMER BOOK SALE
The Friends of the Mansfield Library will hold their summer book sale at the Mansfield Library located on Route 89 in Mansfield Center. The doors open at 9 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Mansfield Library. For the convenience of the public, a shuttle bus will operate from the Southeast Elementary School (Route 89) parking lot on Saturday, only. Anyone wishing to submit donations of books is encouraged to do so throughout the year. Books may be dropped off in the delivery service entrance at the front of the Mansfield Library, 54 Warrenville Road, Mansfield Center.

TAG SALE – ASHFORD
The Lake Chaffee Improvement Association will be holding a tag sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chaffee Hall, 15 Old Town Road, Ashford. Multiple families will be involved.

SCOTLAND SENIORS BAKE & TAG SALE
The Scotland Seniors will be conducting a bake and tag sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Scotland Green, Route 14, Scotland from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Space available and costs $10 each. Proceeds to benefit Scotland Community Hall. Rain date June 26. Info: Alice Bury (860) 546- 9572.

HARDY PLANT SOCIETY SUMMER PICNIC AND PROGRAM
The Hardy Plant Society will host a 1 p. m. picnic/program featur­ing Joann Vieira, curator, Tower Hill Botanic Garden. Program called “Wildflowers and Companions.” Lunch is noon. Rain date Sunday, June 26. All welcome. Bring a dish to share and a chair. Location: Quack in Grass Nursery, 16 Laurel Hill Road, Brooklyn, from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m.

VICTORIAN BAZAAR
Willimantic Camp Meeting Association, 1 mile south of Frog Bridge on Route 32, will host a Victorian bazaar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food, crafts, plants, white elephant and more. Proceeds go to maintain histori­cal buildings, Vacation Bible school, port-a-potties at playground/pond area. Info: (860) 942-8499.

DRAGONFLIES AT THE GOODWIN CENTER
The Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center and the Goodwin State Forest will host an exploration to learn more about the fascinating world of Dragonflies, from 10 a.m. to noon. The center is located off of Route 6 at 23 Potter Road, Hampton. Pre-registration is requested but not required. For more information or to register: (860) 455- 9534 or juan.sanchezjr@ct.gov.

SPRING CARNIVAL – COLUMBIA
Columbia Rec Park, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., moon bounce, kickball, Wiffle ball, volleyball and carnival games for all ages. Sponsored by Columbia Leo Club, proceeds to support Columbia charities.

COVENTRYFEST
Come join the fun at this year’s annual CoventryFest, held on Coventry Lake at Patriot’s Park. The rain date is Sunday, June 26. The family-oriented event begins at 3 p.m. with a f ireworks display over Coventry Lake after sundown. Free admission, however, donations are accepted to help defer the cost of the event and to help support future CoventryFest activities.

PUPPET SHOW – UCONN
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, UConn’s Depot campus, will host a puppet show at 4 p.m. Event to feature Travis Lope and Leah Sylvain, The Enchanted Vanity Set. Show to feature an expertly crafted toy theater full of magical transformations. Show will also feature Travis Lope, Foolish Fortunes. A gypsy for tune-teller reveals the future to lucky members of the audience. Admission $3 for children, $5 for adults.

CELEBRATE AMERICA – HEBRON
The Hebron Lions Club will “Celebrate America” with fireworks at the Hebron Fair grounds. Gate opens at 5 p.m., $ 10 per car (rain date Sunday June 26). Fireworks, live band, food and games will be featured.

SHABOO BLUES FESTIVAL/ WINDHAM HOSPITAL BENEFIT
The Auxiliary to Windham Hospital presents ” The Shaboo Blues Festival” on Sat., June 25, 2011 at Jillson Square in Willimantic. Music 5 to 11 p.m. The concert is a benefit for a new out-patient and oncology suite at Windham Hospital. Sponsored in part by the Lester E. & Phyllis M. Foster Foundation, the event fea­tures Elvin Bishop, James Cotton, and the David Foster & the Shaboo All-Stars and celebrates the 40th anniversary of the opening of the legendary Shaboo Inn.

SUMMER DANCE – COLUMBIA
The Town of Columbia is hosting a summer dance at Columbia Town Hall, Route 87, Columbia, from 8 to 11 p.m. Featuring Columbia Five Star Band. Cost is $11/per­son. Benefits Columbia Recreation Department Info: www.columbiact.org or call (860) 228-8513.

Sunday, June 26

BUFFET BREAKFAST – WINDHAM
Knights of Columbus Council 14, 41 Club Road, Windham, is hosting a buffet breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Children under 5 free, 6-12, $5.50, seniors $6 and adults $6.50. Take-outs available.

SPORTING CLAYS FUN SHOOT
The Connecticut Waterfowlers Association will host a clay pigeon fun shoot at the Fin, Fur & Feather Club, Chaplin, rain or shine. Open to all. Event starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration, 9:30 a.m. with a shot­gun start. Fees are $75 adults/$45 ages 17 and younger. Info: John Pawelec at (860) 429-7033 or www.ctwaterfowlers.org.

ANNUAL SUMMER BOOK SALE
The Friends of the Mansfield Library will host its summer book sale at the Mansfield Library, located on Route 89 in Mansfield Center. The doors open at 9 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Mansfield Library. Anyone wishing to submit donations of books are encouraged to do so throughout the year. Books may be dropped off in the delivery service entrance at the front of the Mansfield Library, 54 Warrenville Road, Mansfield Center.

CHURCH OF THE HOLY FAMILY MOTORCYCLE POKER RUN
The Church of the Holy Family in Hebron will sponsor its 11th annual Padre’s Run to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project, an orga­nization that provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civil­ian life. Registration: 9 to 11 a.m. in the church hall. There will be a memorial mass at 9:30 a.m., followed by a motorcycle poker run with three different stops across the state. For those choosing not to ride, they may attend the dinner for $10 per adult, $5 per child and children under age of 3 are free. Info: (860) 228-0096 or online www.holyfami­lyhebron.org.

ASHFORD FARMERS MARKET
The Ashford Farmers Market is held at Pompey Hollow Park off Route 44 across from Ashford Town Hall. The market will run every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October. Info: Loretta at birdeye123@earthlink.net.

COVENTRY FARMERS MARKET
The Coventry Farmers Market is held at the Nathan Hale Homestead at 2299 South St. The market will run every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October. Info: www.coventryfarmersmarket.com.

OPEN HOUSE – SOUTH WINDHAM FIRE DEPARTMENT
South Windham Fire Department, 41 Machine Shop Hill Road, South Windham will be hosting an open house to celebrate 100 years of service to the community from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring fire prevention, blood pressure screening, apparatus review and history displays.

Posted 6-24-2011

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Marchers recreate pivotal moment in the American Revolution

Laura Mack, Daniel Clesowich and David Fagerberg stop to discuss their route from Willimantic to Bolton on June 22. They are part of a group rec­reating Rochambeau’s Revolutionary War march from Rhode Island to Virginia. Photo by Roxanne Pandolfi

Laura Mack, Daniel Clesowich and David Fagerberg stop to discuss their route from Willimantic to Bolton on June 22. They are part of a group rec­reating Rochambeau’s Revolutionary War march from Rhode Island to Virginia. Photo by Roxanne Pandolfi

Marching through the countryside, a group of historians – along with members of AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps – is helping to remind people of an important moment in American history.

They are following the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Trail in commemoration of the French and American forces that followed the same route in 1781, when French and American troops won at Yorktown and the Revolutionary War ended.

The full route stretches from Newport, R.I, to Yorktown, Va., and was designated a National Historic Trail in 2009.

It stretches through eastern Connecticut at the Rhode Island line and through the Windham region.

On Wednesday (June 22), the marchers traveled down Main Street in Willimantic. They included three members of AmeriCorps NCCC: Dan Clesowich of Lebanon, David Pergamit of Oregon and Amanda Skalicky of Minnesota.

Marching is a different experience than driving, according to Pergamit. “Walking allows you to notice the little things a lot more,” he said.

When they’re not walking, they’re camping out.

Being able to experience the historic march first-hand makes it mean more, said Clesowich.

This year marks the 230th anniversary of Lt. Gen. Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau’s march with 7,000 French troops to join the U. S. Continental Army at Philipsburg, N. Y.

From there, they marched to Yorktown and ultimately defeated the British.

The recreation of this trek actually will be completed by three teams of marchers over the course of several months.

The first team – which was seen marching in Scotland and Windham earlier this week – marches from Newport, R.I. and arrives in Philipsburg on July 7.

They then take a five- week break before a second team picks up the trail from Philipsburg to Maryland.

The third team completes the nearly 700-mile march from Maryland to Yorktown Oct. 9.

The marchers are wearing 18th­century military uniforms representing known regiments that were involved in the march.

They will also be enduring the elements in canvas tent encampments at known historic campsites wherever and whenever possible.

Dave Fagerberg, the operations manager of the marchers, said the goal is to bring awareness of this historic event to communities and connect them to their local history.

The group’s project manager, Damon Rodnac, did not walk through Windham as Rodnac was supporting the first leg of the nearly 700-mile trip.

Rodnac was the person who contacted AmeriCorps NCCC to get the volunteers involved with the march, according to Fagerberg.

The March to Yorktown is sponsored by the Living History Education Foundation based in Buchanan, N.Y.

Even with this support, the success of the marchers depends on contributions from individuals and organizations that believe in their mission.

In fact, they received a cash donation from one generous Windham resident who believes in their mission.

Those who would like to support the marchers can send donations to: Living History Education Foundation, 11 Lake Drive, Buchanan, N. Y. 10511.

The marchers’ progress can be followed at www. facebook. com/ TheMarchers.

Posted June 23, 2011

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Columbia unable to hire new attorney

June 22, 2011 Local News No Comments

columbia-town-hall-graphicThe town will continue using its current legal firm after a motion to hire a new town attorney Tuesday did not get the number of votes required.

The three Democratic select­men said they were looking for a way to reduce the town’s legal fee expenses, but could not get a fourth vote needed to approve the change as required by the town charter.

Selectmen Richard Szegda, Robert Hellstrom and William O’Brien all voted to switch firms, but First Selectman Carmen Vance voted against the motion and Selectman Rebecca Stearns abstained.

They both said they did not think the town would save money by switching firms and Stearns said she abstained because she felt the town needed to do a better job reducing its use of the town attorney.

Selectmen had been discussing whether to stick with its current firm, Halloran & Sage, LLP, or switch to a new firm, with a focus on Rose Kallor, LLP.

Szegda said he wanted select­men to look into switching firms because the town overspent its legal budget in recent years.

The town budgeted $40,000 for legal expenses, including for costs associated with legal advice from the town attorney and litigation involving the town.

But Szegda also said the town has spent an average of $74,000 annually for legal expenses the last three years, including a pro­jection of about $87,000 for the current fiscal year ending June 30. “I do have concerns about the cost of legal services for the town of Columbia over the last few years,” he said.

Szegda also said a representative from Rose Kallor estimated the firm could provide a year’s worth of legal service for $17,000, while Halloran & Sage said the figure would be in the range of $35,000 to $40,000.

O’Brien and Hellstrom agreed and said they did not think the town needed to hire a firm as large as Halloran & Sage, which has offices across the state and in Washington, D.C.

But Vance questioned the esti­mate from Kallor, saying the estimate was based on a small number of hours of usage, and the firm’s hourly rates were roughly the same as Halloran & Sage.

Rose Kallor proposed a rate of $165 per hour if one of the firm’s partners handled an issue and $145 per hour for an associ­ate, while Halloran & Sage pro­posed between $155 and $175 per hour for a partner and $125 for an associate.

She also said the town’s legal costs were so high because of “several big litigation cases” for the town, and not because of Halloran & Sage’s fees.

Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said the town uses its attor­ney for review of any contracts and documents, as well as legal advice or guidance on land use and other issues.

He told selectmen the town used its attorney for approximately 50 hours per month in the current fiscal year, although Luiz said this morning the figure was closer to 44 hours a month.

Stearns also said the town would likely overspend its legal budget based on the hourly rates of both firms, and said the town “needs to be a little bit smarter on how we use” the town attorney.

Posted 6-22-2011

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Columbia-Hebron Police Activity for June 8-14, 2011

June 22, 2011 Local News No Comments

policecar3On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, Karl Powers, 51, of Bethany, CT was pulled over by police on Route 66 in Columbia, CT for speeding. Further investigation revealed he was driving under suspension and driving while intoxicated, according to police. He was arrested and charged with speeding, driving while under suspension and driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, James Gauthier, 45, of Vernon, CT was arrested in Columbia for driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, making an improper turn and evading.

On Friday, June 10, 2011, Steven Ortiz, 35, of 261 East St., Hebron, CT was issued a ticket for failure to obey a stop sign and traveling too fast for conditions following an accident on London Road, Hebron, CT at the intersection of East St., Hebron, CT. Police say Ortiz drove through the stop sign and struck a vehicle being driven by Carolyn Campbell, 62, of 21 Oak Farms Road, Andover, CT. Her vehicle rolled over and landed on Boston Hill Road. Campbell was injured and transported by Hebron Ambulance to Manchester Hospital. Ortiz also complained of back pain and was transported by Hebron Ambulance to the Marlborough Clinic.

On Sunday, June 12, 2011 Samuel Vasquez, 41, of119 Union St., Apt. 2b, Willimantic, CT was arrested in Columbia, CT for driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and failure to drive (on the) right.

Posted 6-21-2011

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Columbia seeks new blood for elections

June 20, 2011 Local News No Comments

votingWith nomina­tions for municipal elections com­ing next month and volunteers hard to come by, local Democrats and Republicans are both reaching out to unaffiliated voters interested in seeking local office.

Elected officials from both par­ties said unaffiliated voters can help provide new perspective and energy on town boards.

Plus, they can do so without hav­ing to align with a specific party.

“They wouldn’t have to join parties or they wouldn’t have to change parties,” said Selectman Richard Szegda.

Szegda is also chairman of the Democratic town committee’s nominating committee and said the party is always looking for people interesting in seeking elec­tion.

First Selectman Carmen Vance, a member of the Republican town committee, agreed.

Vance said small towns are find­ing it increasingly difficult to maintain a supply of willing volunteers.

“I think it’s harder and harder to get people in small towns to volun­teer,” she said.

Still, both parties said they have enough people willing to run dur­ing municipal elections, which occur in odd-numbered years like 2011, but they said finding new candidates is always important.

Szegda said both parties often find themselves relying on a “core group of leaders” to fill out ballots for November elections.

Vance added “part of the issue is people get tired” and others find they do not have the time with families or new jobs. She said maintaining a stream of potential candidates is important.

Vance and Szegda said the town can benefit when unaffiliated vot­ers can offer their ideas come elec­tion time.

“I think it’s always important to get some fresh blood and a new perspective,” Szegda said.

He added while Democrats may have enough candidates to fill almost all of their positions, he always welcomes people to come forward if they want a nomination. “To me, the party (of a candidate) isn’t terribly important, we just need good people,” he added.

Vance and Szegda said unaffili­ated voters interested in seeking a nomination from a party can reach out to members of that party.

Each party has to hold an event next month to decide its offi­cial ballot of candidates for the November elections.

Columbia Town Clerk Robin Kenefick said parties must do so between July 19 and July 26.

Town Democratic Chairman Noreen Steele said her party will nominate candidates July 20 at the Beckish Senior Center, while Vance said earlier this week she had not heard when Republicans would do so.

Residents interested in seeking a nomination can call Szegda, of the Democratic town committee, at (860) 228-0231, or Vance, of the Republican town committee, at (860) 336-8119.

Posted 6-20-2011

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Local day camps made a great summer for cancer patients families

CHILDREN RUNNING from Windham Hosp FB page

In addition, the Town of Coventry Parks and Recreation Camp and Camp Asto Wamah in Columbia, CT each offered free spaces for children of cancer patients.

Connecticut budget ends with $359 million surplus

Ben Barnes CT Budget Director

Personal income tax receipts were up $55.1 million over last month. The corporation tax also was revised upward by $15 million.

Future of local water supply is topic of public forum July 29

A forum focused on our water supply – including who decides how it’s used – will be hosted by The League of Women Voters of Northeastern Connecticut (formerly the League of Women Voters of Mansfield) and the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources (CIWR) on Monday, July 29 from 7-9 p.m. at the Elks Lodge (lower level), located at 198 Pleasant St. in Willimantic.

Questions about water sources, usage and quality have come into focus recently in light of the Storrs Center development, UConn’s plans to bring in water to support a new Tech Park and the concurrent needs of the towns in this region, particularly in terms of their own development plans.

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