Year in review: Happy Birthday, Town of Plainville

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TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The year 2019 marked Plainville’s 150th anniversary since they incorporated as a town in 1869, and that seemed to serve as the theme throughout much of the year with events and programs scheduled throughout the the little town with a vast history.

But that isn’t all that happened in 2019. The Plainville Observer’s headlines were scattered with stories about business, schools, and community. The budget was a big story in the spring that drew voters to the polls and that kicked off an election year that culminated in November with a municipal election.

Here are a few of last year’s headlines:

January

Mark DeVoe, Plainville’s director of planning and economic development, announced that he would be leaving the town after nearly 20 years of employment. In his wake, Cal Hauburger was named the economic development coordinator, and Garrett Daigle was named the town planner.

Town officials hosted a State of the Town meeting, where the past decades worth of budgets were discussed. In that time the mill rate had increased 7.6 mills, and the budget saw an increase of 14%.

On Jan. 23, 2019, Toffolon Elementary School art teacher Michael Zaba was awarded a Milken Educator Award, along with $25,000 unrestricted funds.

February

State Rep. William Petit Jr. (R-22) spoke out against Senate Bill 454, which proposed the regionalization of school districts across the state.

Plainville Funeral Home was awarded the Kristen Jensen Jr., Memorial Beautification Award by the Plainville Economic Development Agency.

March

The Plainville Blue Devils co-ed cheerleading squad was named the top in Connecticut when they won the state championship.

PARC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and supporting individuals with disabilities, held their annual spring dance. During the event two individuals were awarded the John Sullivan award – Marilyn Badner and The Office Works.

As part of the 150th celebrations, the Plainville Historical Society took time to showcase Plainville’s women in politics, government, and public service.

April

The Step Saver/ Observer and Republican American mourned the death of longtime publisher William J. Pape II. In December 2019, it was reported that his wife, Patricia Moran Pape, also passed.

The all day budget vote was held at the end of the month. The general town budget was passed but the Board of Education budget was voted down, with voters saying the proposed amount was too high. The BOE was asked by the council to reduce their budget by $100,000. A second referendum was held the following month, where the BOE budget (total of $38,229,105) was passed by Plainville voters.

May

Plainville Community Schools announced that superintendent Dr. Maureen Brummett would be leaving the district after 20 years in various roles. In her wake, assistant superintendent Steven LePage was named as her successor. Later in the summer, LePage would hire David Levenduski to serve as the assistant superintendent.

June

Several Plainville High School students were awarded scholarships during the Main Street Community Foundation scholarship reception. They included Maciej Kossuth, Cheyenne Gregory, Matthew Erb, Victoria Kulak, Andrew Kane, Jared Demmons, Jason Demmons, Gregory Sileo, Emanuel Yawin, Jordan Brunelle, and Collin Casinghino.

July

Plainville was incorporated in July of 1869, and 150 years later, town officials and members of several community groups worked together to celebrate the town’s rich history. A family picnic was organized to take place in Norton Park. The historical society arranged a tour of several historical sites in town. The tours were postponed until the fall, due to severe weather.

In honor of the anniversary celebration Plainville Youth Services and Healthy Plainville introduced the “Let’s Get Healthy 150” challenge, which asked student-aged residents to be active for 150 minutes (about two and a half hours) a week for nine weeks straight.

Matthew Catania, Plainville’s Chief of Police, was named Connecticut’s Police Chief of the Year during the annual Community Law Enforcement Awards and Recognition dinner.

August

Businesses and residents across the state began their eco-friendly shopping as the plastic bag law came into effect. Introduced in June in Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget, all shoppers would be charged ten cents per single use plastic bag they used.

Former legislator, Betty Boukus, will forever be remembered in Norton Park. Members of the Boukus family and town staff gathered at the park as a commemorative plaque was unveiled.

Representatives from the Connecticut Department of Transportation updated town councilors on the progress of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. Funding became available for the project in January, and though the proposed construction schedule is subject to change depending on permitting and tweaking the proposed trail alignment, construction on phase one is set to begin in 2022, phase two in 2023, and phase three in 2024.

September

The Plainville Democratic and Republican Town Committees finalized their list of candidates after the GOP held their primary on Sept. 10. The following day, the ballot lottery was held in the Plainville Municipal Building, and with that, the November election ballot was set in stone.

Plainville was just one of 14 towns that chose to join the Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee housed at Covanta Bristol. The collective of towns entered into a contract with Murphy Road Recycling, LLC, in response to the hike in cost associated with recycling.

Jeff Davis, owner of Phase to Phase Electric, was one of several young business people honored by the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce during the PYVOT (Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow) Emerging Leaders awards banquet. Davis, along with wife Laura, are the owners of The Light Hangar Company, a lighting company also located in Plainville.

October

With the candidates and ballot finalized, The Observer team asked the candidates a couple of questions about the upcoming election and the issues they would be focusing on should they be elected. Throughout much of the month, their responses were shared with readers in an effort to keep them informed as it came time to cast their ballots.

The 5th annual Plainville Pumpkin Festival brought thousands to the center of town. After watching the children’s costume parade, attendees were invited to guess the weight of a giant pumpkin, grown by resident Gary Vincent.

Exchange Clubs of Connecticut gathered at the Aqua Turf Club to honor firefighters and fire departments from across the state. Plainville’s own Capt. David Massey was named the Plainville Firefighter of the year.

November

Election Day came and went, and Plainville voters maintained much of what was already happening in town.

The Republican party maintained controlled of the town council with only one official newly elected (David Underwood, R). The Democratic Party took control of the Board of Education, and welcomed two newly elected members (Brent Davenport and Rebecca Martinez, Dem.)

Superintendent Steven LePage made sure that Plainville students would learn about the importance of Veterans Day, and so, none of the Plainville Community Schools were closed. Instead, community veterans were invited into the schools to share in a commemorative breakfast, and were treated to presentations made by the school communities.

Courtney Hewett was named as Plainville’s new recreation department director.

December

The Plainville Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants Association brought the 27th annual tree lighting and holiday stroll back to Plainville’s downtown. And while the weather forced much of the event indoors, many residents and their children crowded into the Plainville Fire House to watch as Brittany Gutierrez, a Wheeler Elementary School first grader, flipped the switch to light up the night and call Santa Claus into town.

It was a year of anniversaries, and the Plainville Choral Society kicked off their 50th anniversary celebrations as they rang in the Christmas holiday with their performance, “As in Olden Days.” 50th anniversary performances will continue into 2020.

When the BOE budget was reduced in the spring, one of the items that was removed was the spring sports program at the Middle School of Plainville. Superintendent LePage stated that that particular program was chosen because there would be time to raise the funds necessary to run the programming. During the December meeting of the BOE, it was announced that the funding needed had been secured, and that the Middle School of Plainville will be able to run their spring athletics programs.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.