SOUTHINGTON – The town of Southington saw some major shakeups this year, while continuing to push ahead.
At the start of the year, following the Democrats taking the majority in the town council last year, several influential Republicans, including the entire Republican membership of the Board of Education, resigned from the Republican Town Committee. Their resignations came after an executive decision to remove more than 20 members.
Ed Pocock III referred to the event as the committee’s version of “The Night of the Long Knives.”
“This was a purge of people who don’t agree with every position that the leadership holds,” said Pocock.
Councilor Victoria Triano, who did not resign, said that the decision was “almost unanimous” and that it wasn’t a populist poll. She said it was “presented as being an important vote for the reasons of keeping the party moving forward.”
On Aug. 20, Lincoln College of New England announced that it would not be enrolling students for a fall term and that it would be closing Dec. 31. Current students were able to transfer their credits to Goodwin College.
Jim Vernon, president of the college, said that the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Inc. had informed him that the college would not be reaccredited. The town council, along with Dennis Terwilliger, president of Briarwood Realty Inc. said that they are looking to find a new tenant for the property and that ideally it would be another school.
Another change in town was the leadership of the Southington Chamber of Commerce. Taylor Crofton, who was serving as interim director after her predecessor Elizabeth Hyatt announced her resignation last year, was appointed as executive director Jan. 15. Crofton said at the time that she was committed to the growth and success of area businesses while promoting a friendly community to live in.
The council also passed a new “excessive call ordinance” Sept. 24 intended to make the town a better place to live. It states that once a business makes 20 calls to police, fire or ambulances in a year police will meet with property owners to determine if there is a way to mitigate the problem.
Once it gets to 25 calls, there can be fines after an appeal period of up to $250 per call. Calls related to crimes in progress, domestic violence, trespassing and mental health emergencies would not count toward the limit.
The discussion of excessive police calls was brought on by residents of Birchcrest Drive, who have been complaining for years of disruptions they blame on the Bridge Family Center, which cares for teenage girls taken out of abusive situations.
On a positive note, the town saw record turnout at the 50th Annual Apple Harvest Festival. Melissa Cocuzza, event organizer, said that 10,000 people came on the first Saturday of the two-week festival alone to see Bowling for Soup perform, followed by a fireworks show.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.