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EG Stories To Watch In 2013

From the possible Fire District merger and the Greenwich Odeum to teacher contract negotiations and possible changes in school safety plans.


Merging Town and Fire District:
The 2-to-1 vote in favor of merging the East Greenwich Fire District with the Town of EG in November was just the beginning of what could be a long, possibly contentious, process. The Town Council approved a motion to have Town Manager Bill Sequino meet with EGFD Chief Peter Henrikson to talk about the mechanics of such a move. Meanwhile, the Fire District considered a motion against any action toward a merger, but pulled back, deciding to wait at least until after they meet with the Council in February.

Greenwich Odeum: The Main Street theater hosts its first official acts later this month but tension remains between the theater's longtime owner, Steve Erinakes, and the Odeum board. According to the board, the theater is owned by the Odeum Corp. and the promissory note is void since no payments were ever made. Erinakes disagrees. 

Moving the third grades: Many parents of young children are eager to learn if and how this transition will take place. The idea to move third graders from Frenchtown and Meadowbrook to Eldredge and Hanaford was shelved last year due to cost, but the School Committee committed to making it happen this year. 

Business development: East Greenwich has some significant properties that lie vacant, including the vast former Bostitch facility on South County Trail, and the former Sunoco station property on Main Street and First Avenue. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, develops for those sites.

Teacher contract: The teacher contract is up Aug. 30 and, if the recent past is any guide, negotiations will take place up to the end. The three-year contract was actually up last Aug. 30, but the union took advantage of the School Committee's failure to specifically request a start to negotiations, and so were able to gain another year to the contract. 

Comprehensive Plan re-zoning: Not many people beyond officials and the town planner may be paying attention to the adoption of the town's new Comprehensive Plan, but that could well change when the Town Council reviews such possibly contentious issues as re-zoning to commercial the largely residential strip of Post Road from Cedar Avenue to South Pierce.

School safety: In the wake of the awful school shootings in Newtown, Conn., that resulted in the deaths of 20 young children and 6 teachers, districts across the country are re-examining their safety precautions. East Greenwich is no exception. Police Chief Tom Coyle said he would be heading a team to look at each of the town's schools (including OLM), to review safety procedures and look for possible areas in need of improvement.

These are just some of the issues that come to mind for East Greenwich. If you have other thoughts about hot-button issues for the town in 2013, please leave them in the comments section, below.

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