Daily Five: Cheers to Dogs and School Daze

Five things to know for Friday, May 4, 2012

1. What’s the Weather? Temperatures will be noticeably warmer today, with a predicted high of 72 degrees, but there’s a 60 percent chance of rain with showers likely in the morning and possibly scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon and overnight. According to Weather.com, there’s a 30 percent chance of rain overnight, when temperatures are expected to drop to 56 degrees.

2. Gone to the Dogs: It will probably come as no big surprise to anyone that Durham’s Planning and Zoning Commission gave the Help Willy’s Friends Pet Fair a permit to hold its annual event at Coginchaug Regional High School on May 20.

This year there will be slightly fewer vendors (about 62 in all). Commissioners had no trouble with people selling homemade dog treats and flea collars, however, they did wonder why the event included a wine tasting. It all became clear when organizer Mark Paturzo explained that donates one dollar for every bottle of a particular wine sold all year round and sends quarterly donations to the cause. That alone seems like a pretty good reason to raise a glass and say cheers!

As events go, the well-organized pet fair is one that Planning and Zoning commissioners have routinely approved at the High School but at the May 2 meeting, commissioners were asked to consider setting guidelines for non-school related events that may be held on school grounds. The request came from attorney John Corona, who represents Coginchaug Regional High School neighbor .

“It’s a residential neighborhood,” said Corona. “It’s not a place where anything goes.”

To be clear, neighbors don’t object to normal school activities such as football games or track meets but they are concerned about potential problems caused, for instance, by car shows or loud rock bands performing at non-school related events on school grounds.

By June 30, Attorney Tim Hollister promised, the Board of Education would provide a revised policy for “non-school events,” which would clarify which facilities are subject to the policy, the criteria to define non-school events, and the District’s criteria for granting permission for an organization to use school facilities.

The District would also develop procedures for informing users of the rules, such as start times and policing of the grounds, and lay out expectations that the applicant obtain any necessary Planning and Zoning Commission permit or approval.  

Corona suggested that special permits should be required for events that use amplification for sound and artificial lighting, or that might bring additional traffic, require parking or security controls, or that might need emergency services. Events that necessitate providing infrastructure such
as shelter, food, water, or sanitary facilities, or events that need coordination between onsite and offsite events should also require special permits, Corona said.

If you’re curious, a list of events that have traditionally been held at Coginchaug Regional High School is available at Durham Town Hall.  

3. Got milk? How about cereal? The is running very low on soup, cereal, and jelly. If you’d like to help replenish this stock, please drop off items at the Social Services office in the Middlefield Community Center during business hours from Monday to Friday, or pop them in the box next to the office anytime. The Food Bank can’t accept dented, rusted, or outdated items, so please check the date before you donate.

4. Do you know about Project Graduation and are you helping? Project Graduation provides the graduating seniors of HKHS with a safe, alcohol- and substance-free venue to celebrate their achievements with their classmates. Please visit the Project Graduation web page to learn how you may help with this event. Without the community members who give their time, effort, products, food, beverages and donations, this event could not happen.

5. This day in history: On this date in 1776, Rhode Island became the first colony to declare its independence from British rule. It was, however, the last state to ratify the American Constitution some 14 years later.


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