FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

NEW LONDON GETS NEW SUPER

Cynthia Ritchie

The city of New London has a new school superintendent. Cynthia Ritchie was appointed by the Board of Education during its meeting last night. Ritchie says she’s looking forward to leading the New London school district. She has served as assistant superintendent in East Hartford for the past four years. Before that, she worked for the Salem school district as a principal and administrator. Ritchie replaces Stephen Tracy, who took over for Manuel Rivera last year following his sudden retirement. A 15-member search committee recommended Ritchie after conducting a nationwide search that lasted several months.

FAMILY DISPLACED BY FIRE

(The Bulletin)

Canterbury firefighters responded to a home at 1 North Canterbury Road that was destroyed by fire around 12:15 Thursday afternoon. Firefighters from several towns were called in to battle the fire that displaced a family of two adults and three children. The first units on scene encountered a first floor that was completely involved. It took firefighters almost two hours to get the fire under control. Officials say no one was home, and no injuries were reported. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

KELLY SEARCHED FOR DRUGS, NOTHING FOUND

Norwich police officers and K-9 units from several police departments conducted a narcotics sweep of hallways and common areas at Kelly Middle School in Norwich on Thursday morning. School superintendent Abby Dolliver reported that nothing was found. She said the search was routine and not in response to any suspected drug problems at the school but wanted to be proactive. Kelly houses 687 students in the seventh and eighth grades this year.

WATER LINE WORK ALMOST READY

Ten years ago, Sprague’s main drinking water well failed when it became clogged by sediment. Construction of a 10,000 foot, $5 million dollar pipeline that will provide an emergency water supply to the town will begin soon. The state has offered to subsidize 50 percent of the project’s cost through a $2.5 million grant, and the remaining $2.5 million will be covered by a two percent loan to be paid back over 20 years. The state views the project as a “regional asset.”

NON-PROFITS FIGHTING BACK

Earlier this week Norwich Tax Asses­sor Donna Ral­ston announced many religious, educational, veteran and non profits would be de­nied tax-ex­empt sta­tus, more than half of them for failing to file state­ments re­quired ev­ery four years by state law. While those de­nials were au­to­matic, Ral­ston also de­cided to deny ex­emp­tions for many other or­ga­ni­za­tions, some for check­ing a box on the form that states: “prop­erty is not be­ing used for statu­tory ex­empt pur­poses.” Sev­eral Nor­wich non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions are now gear­ing up to chal­lenge the as­ses­sor’s de­nial of their prop­erty tax-ex­empt sta­tus, in court if nec­es­sary.

HORSES MAY GET TAX EXEMPT STATUS

The North Stonington Board of Selectmen has unanimously expressed their support for moving forward a measure that would make horses, that are housed in town, tax exempt. Residents will more than likely have the ability to vote on giving horses tax exempt status at a town meeting that is anticipated for late next month. First Selectman Mike Urgo said that taxing horses currently generates less than $2,000 in revenue. Currently horses that are housed in North Stonington are assessed as personal property, however, if the owner files a personal property declaration, there is an exemption of up to $1,000. Also, if horses are used in a farming operation, they can be totally exempt, provided they meet certain criteria.

BLEACHERS APPROVED

Pre­ston vot­ers Thurs­day ap­proved by a 36-23 margin to spend up to $35,000 from the town’s cap­i­tal plan to re­place the bleach­ers at Pre­ston Veter­ans’ Me­mo­rial School with new ones that would bet­ter meet fed­eral hand­i­capped-ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards. The town’s $3.65 mil­lion cap­i­tal plan, ap­proved by vot­ers in a Feb. 6th ref­er­en­dum, in­cluded $118,000 to re­place the gym floor. It only cost $81,000 for the project. Left over money was approved by last night’s vote for the new bleachers.

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