This is that time of year when writers and bloggers seem to have a desire to publish lists. While some lists are predictions for the New Year, most are simply a compilation of what the author feels are the top news story in his genre or niche. Since Ledyard is what I write about most, it seemed only right that I end the year with a blog post of what I consider the top news stories in Ledyard.
I asked for a little help from my friends at the Facebook Ledyard/Gales Ferry Community Forum and there were plenty of suggestions. Coming up with top stories was easy. Deciding which made the cut and then putting them in numerical order was the difficult part. I’m sure depending where you sit, the choices would have been different.
10. Ledyard High School Graduation - One privilege of serving on the Ledyard Town Council is having the ability to sit on the field during high school graduation ceremonies. The class of 2013 included Michael Daggett, a blind student who was a source of inspiration to faculty, students and anyone who knows Michael’s story.
9. Change in School Administration – Mike Graner, the popular Superintendent of Ledyard Public Schools, accepted a job as superintendent in Groton and starts working there in 2014. It recently took the Groton Board of Education 5 tries to elect a new chairman, I’d say Mike has his work cut out for him in Groton but I’m sure he is up for the challenge!
8. Structural Fires – There were a number of structural fires in town in 2013 including one during the February Nor’easter as emergency volunteers performed their jobs quite admirably under miserable conditions. The Ledyard Community came together to do what they do best and gave overwhelming support to the Munger family who lost their home on Nutmeg Drive during the storm.
7. February Nor’easter – The Blizzard of 2013 dumped about 20 inches of snow on Ledyard and yes, the Mayor was out of town for the event. Mayor Rodolico seldom goes on vacation but when he does we do seem to have weather of biblical proportions. Hurricane Sandy and our recent earthquake both happened while I was serving as Acting Mayor, begging the question is it him or me to blame?
6. Ledyard Dispatch – The decision was made for Ledyard Dispatch to remain in town for now but there is still work to be done and CT Legislative decisions on regional collaboration bear watching.
5. The Ledyard Gales Ferry Community Forum on Facebook – The forum is deserving of a place in the top 5 as it has made the local news on numerous occasions. The almost 1500 members of the forum continue to do good work including finding lost dogs, rescuing cats from trees, promoting community events and answering questions on a daily basis. In an amazing last minute effort, members of the forum put together Ledyard’s first Trunk or Treat event. The forum demonstrates the “neighbors helping neighbors” spirit every day and members are active in forming and contributing to other volunteer groups in town.
4. The Blight Ordinance – After years and years of trying, Ledyard has a Blight Ordinance, a Blight Enforcement Officer and a Blight Appeals Committee made up of volunteers. For those involved in town government – Never, never, never give up.
3. A New Police Building - In May, voters approved a new $6.4 million new police station to replace the ancient facility on Lorenz Parkway. The new station will be built at 737 Col. Ledyard Highway, next to Town Hall. A project for the renovations and addition to the Middle School was approved by the Town Council but removed from the same ballot when questions were raised at the state level about qualification for reimbursement. The questions were clarified but not in time to get the project back on the ballot. The Permanent Municipal Building Committee continues to work on both projects.
2. The Ledyard Lizard - When Stephanie Calhoun saw a strange reptile near Spicer Hill Road on July 14th, she took a picture and posted it on Facebook with the words, “OMG. This is what I saw in the side of the road in Spicer Hill about 1:15pm Sunday. It was about 3 feet long. SO GROSS!!!!!” Those familiar with such reptiles identified it as a Monitor Lizard and it quickly became known as simply “The Ledyard Lizard.” The story would mesmerize the Ledyard Facebook Forum for weeks as sightings (some not true and some just for fun) were posted. Sadly, things ended badly for the Ledyard Lizard and the news went viral as the Lizard’s demise was reported by the Associated Press as well as Channel 3 Eyewitness News. Tee Shirts soon followed.
1. Ledyard's victory in AC Coin Case - It has been 7 years since the Ledyard Town Council made the decision to pursue collection of personal property taxes on the slot machines leased to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. A lawsuit from the Tribe followed and the case made its way slowly through the courts while the Town of Ledyard incurred significant legal costs. In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, ruled in a 3-0 decision in favor of the Town in the case Mashantucket Pequot Tribe v. Town of Ledyard. The Tribe has yet to comment on whether they will seek to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
I have been a member of the Town Council throughout the process and I couldn’t be more proud of my fellow councilors who despite criticism in some circles, were determined to pursue a fair decision that had less to due with slot machines and more to do with the future of the Town of Ledyard. I decided to list this story #1 due to the “precedent -setting decision in favor of state and local governments”.
Linda Davis is a blogger, politician, real estate broker, technology trainer, wannabe photographer and golfer. She simply loves the Town of Ledyard!