THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

CANDIDATES DEBATE

The five men looking to be Norwich’s next mayor gather last night at Norwich Free Academy to debate the issues. Economic development, taxes, and the city’s ethics laws were all on the table, as was how long a work week it should be for the mayor, which is technically a part-time position, paying 45-thousand dollars a year.  Petitioning candidate Jon Oldfield pledges to work at least 40 hours a week.  Libertarian candidate Bill Russell thinks Norwich’s mayor should not only be full-time, but also there’s no need for a city manager.  Republican hopeful Peter Nystrom says the city charter doesn’t call for a full-time mayor but that’s open to change and he’s ok with letting voters decide.  Nystrom works full-time at UPS, and would keep his job there if elected mayor, as he did when he was in that elected position from 2009 to 2013 Democrat Derell Wilson and Petitioning candidate Joseph Radecki also believe the mayor should be a full-time job.. Another mayoral debate is scheduled for Tuesday night at the Kelly Middle School.

ARTS PAYS OFF

The Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition has released the results of a new study analyzing the economic impact of arts organizations on the region. The data shows that the 70 non-profit groups which took part in the survey contribute 168-million dollars to the local economy every year. The study also shows non-profit arts organizations support almost 45-hundred jobs in southeastern Connecticut.

TOO EXPENSIVE

Money issues mean Norwich’s school department will not be sending representatives to Washington, D.C., next month to accept a national award given to Mahan School. An awards ceremony is slated for Nov. 6th and 7th in Washington. Norwich Superintendent of Schools Abby Dolliver said the district can’t afford the $2,500 to $3,000 estimated price tag this year to send three people on the trip. In place of a trip, the school plans to hold its own lunch celebration from 1 to 2 p.m. this afternoon.

BAIT SHOP CLOSING

If you’ve ever been to Mike’s Bait and Tackle, the one-story bait shop in Voluntown, you know it’s been a local institution since it opened in 1963. The shop on Church Street has offered up supplies to both loyal locals and traveling outdoorsmen. Fifty-four years later, both will have to find a new place to pick up their fishing supplies. Owner Steve Smith said people don’t have the time or the extra money anymore to be spent on pastimes like fishing. And if they do, chain stores or online purchasing often offer a cheap alternative. Smith said everything, including inventory and the building, will be up for auction later this month.

WHEN NOT IF

A grim picture was painted last night for people who live in or near flood zones, as they learned that flooding in their house and on roads is a matter of “when,” not “if.” A panel of three experts spoke at the La Grua Center in Stonington outlining Connecticut’s risk of damage from more extreme and frequent hurricanes and storms. Jim O’Donnell, the executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), recommended that government officials in Connecticut plan for the high end of the possible impact of rising carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere and to start planning for sea levels by 2050 that are 50 centimeters higher than it is now.

PROGRESS MADE

Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey delivered her final State of Norwich address Wednesday, telling area business leaders the city has made progress.  That includes the work to rehabilitate Ponemah Mill in Taftville into housing, a former Little League field behind the Taftville Fire station was rebuilt into a playscape, and downtown, buildings on Broadway are in the process of being renovated for future commercial and residential uses. As her last address as a public official, Hinchey called her last eight years in public office “a tremendous learning experience.”