Connor Wayne Albert, 10, of Bristol, passed away surrounded by his loving family at CT Children’s Medical Center on Monday (December 11, 2017). Connor was born in New Britain on February 9, 2007 to Wayne and Kelly (Brown) Albert. …
By BRIAN JENNINGS STAFF WRITER 2016-17 REGULAR SEASON Overall Record—17-3 (7-2 home, 10-1 away). Division I Record—0-0. Division II Record—3-3. Division III Record—14-0. CCC South Division Record/Ranking—9-3/2nd/7. CCC South Champion—Farmington Valley (16-4, 11-1). CCC South Runner-Up—Wethersfield-Middletown-Rocky Hill-Plainville (17-3, 9-3). 2016-17…
By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The students of Plainville High School’s engineering program were able to make independent mobility available to children and families on a local level.
GoBabyGo! is a program that originated at the University of Delaware. “At GoBabyGo! we are committed to a single, urgent vision: all people exploring their world via independent mobility,” reads the official website of the program. Through fundraising efforts and the success of past GoBabyGo! events, students this year were able to modify nine ride-on toy cars for children with limited mobility and disabilities.
Unified Arts teachers, Mark Chase and David Gaignard, partnered with their students as well as students from the Plainville Middle School and Central Connecticut State University, and an occupational therapist from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to accurately modify these cars in order for each one to be customized to the needs of each recipient.
About four years ago, Chase and a professor at CCSU decided that the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Lab at PHS would be a great space to host a GoBabyGo! event. “It was all new to me,” said Chase. “The college had done some previous ones but I decided to bring it into the Plainville community and get our kids involved.”
Through the fundraiser ‘Drive One 4Ur School’ with the Crowley Auto Group, who donated $20 for every car driven, PHS was able to buy four of the cars, with the additionally five coming from CCSU and their efforts with GoBabyGo!
“We certainly saw it fit into our curriculum instructionally,” said Gaignard. “And, we saw a lot of the benefits not only with tools, equipment and the engineering side of it but more of the personal community involvement and community outreach to all sorts of places including the hospital for special care, CCMC and all of the relationships that are needed in order to make this program successful.”
Chase worked closely with an occupational therapist from CCMC, who selected nine children who would most benefit from a modified car. The specific needs of each child were then sent to Chase and Gaignard, and from there the team had two days to tailor-modify each car to an individual child’s needs.
Three students from Chase’s and Gaignard’s engineering class, Marlee Susco, Ethan Keen and Derek Tribuiani, were a part of the event and all of them seemed to have enjoyed working on a project that directly impacted a member of their community.
“It was a different kind of challenge knowing that I was building something for someone else,” said Keen. “How the product came out really affected them and I wanted to make the best product I could so that it would be something they enjoyed.”
And, knowing that these cars would become an important part of someone’s life seemed to add a bit of pressure, as Tribuiani said that making the cars safe and reliable added the most stress. But the stress didn’t hamper the fun or the underlying importance of events such as GoBabyGo! or the important skills that students are learning through STEM classes.
“I think it’s great because the skills that the kids are learning within my classes they’re able to apply in a real-world scenario or situations,” said Chase. “And then, to have the children benefit from that is very rewarding not only for our students but for the program, to see them actually be able to apply these skills in a useful or meaningful way.”
PHOTOS by JANELLE MORELLI
By SHERIDAN CYR
Residents of Plainville bundled up and headed down to the center of town Friday night for the annual tree lighting and holiday stroll, eager to see Santa come flying by on a roaring fire truck and for a chance to win some exciting raffle prizes.
The Plainville High School band and Kids in the Middle, a Plainville Youth Services and United Way initiative to help middle school students transition to high school and young adulthood, kicked off the two-day holiday event with a carol sing-a-long, passing out handmade songbooks for all to follow along. Christmas classics played as people gathered around the firehouse.
State Representative Dr. William Petit welcomed everyone. “It’s that time of year to remember the positive things in our lives and our town, and to be thankful and help others who are less fortunate,” he said.
One of the instrumental driving forces behind the event, Terri Battaglia from River Wellness, encouraged all to support local businesses. The holiday stroll encourages residents to visit each store on the event map, inviting them in with an array of activities and specials. Those who visited all 18 stores before 4 p.m. Saturday earned a chance to win big in the raffle.
“These local merchants work hard to earn our support,” said Town Council chair Kathy Pugliese. “Each one offers a unique, personalized experience to our town.”
Town Manager Robert Lee echoed Pugliese’s remarks. “They need our support to grow.” He thanked the downtown merchants for their work.
Fire Chief Kevin Toner and Lt. Eric Peterson from the Plainville Police Department reminded Plainville to stay safe this holiday season. Don’t drink and drive, blow out your candles, keep an eye on your oven and exercise caution overall, they said.
Toffolon student Noah Olson was given the responsibility of turning on the lights. He flipped the switch to illuminate the tree and shouted out, “Merry Christmas!” just before calling out to Santa Claus. The fire engine then blared its horn and lights as it barreled down West Main Street towards an eager group of children, with Santa waving out the window.
After the excitement and commotion, residents dispersed through the nearby streets to begin the holiday stroll. Horse drawn carriages clicked their heels up and down Whiting Street. Bradley Mountain Farm goats greeted friends and families at the corner of Whiting Street and Maple Street.
Co-owner of Refurnish, a local furniture store on Whiting St., invited kids to come in and write letters to Santa.
“This is our second year participating in the stroll and we love it,” said Vanessa Troche. “People sometimes forget that the downtown has so much to offer. This event shows them there are fun, new, exciting things to look forward to here.”
Troche and her husband collect the letters and mail them off to the North Pole for the kids. “It’s nice because they get to meet Santa down at the firehouse, then come here and write to him, too. It heightens the experience.”
PHOTOS by JANELLE MORELLI
State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) have joined their Republican legislative colleagues in the House of Representatives in calling for an immediate convening of the Connecticut General Assembly to restore funding to the Medicare Savings…