Police Colonel Stephen Lynch said his proudest achievement from 2018 was the continued development of his professional police force.
“Seeing the growth of younger officers becoming more and more capable, thorough, and refining their professionalism. Seeing our more experienced members still bringing their energy and solid work ethic day in and day out,” said Lynch. “Seeing our sergeants emerge as solid, accountable and exemplary leaders within the department. Seeing our command staff out in front on so many impactful issues and setting great example for all members.”
Supt Michael Sollitto and School Committee Chairman Mark Brizard provided a joint response, citing implementation of a new math program at the elementary level called Eureka Math; the establishment of Project Lead the Way Gateway programs at the middle school; expansion of Career and Technical Education Programs at Burrillville High School; High Five Fridays and the 5 SPARK grants awarded to the district by the RI Foundation.
“Some of the grant funds will be used to establish after-school robotics clubs for elementary schools. Our high school and middle school robotics teams will assist with these clubs,” the school leaders noted.
Wood said the most interesting challenge he expects to encounter in 2019 will be the disposition of the Invenergy power plant.
“I believe the town has done a remarkable job as a whole to expose the problems and negatives associated with this project and to enlist assistance statewide to make our case,” Wood said. “A committed local constituency has been extremely helpful.”
“Our legal team and experts are excellent and we have done very well in the EFSB hearings thus far; to the point where I believe we have made the case – to date – not to permit the plant,” Wood added. “That being said, politics in Rhode Island are always in play. There are a number of powerful groups, some with very little stake in the game, who are supporting the project politically.”
“I believe if the facts rule and are the basis for the EFSB decision – as they should be – the Invenergy power plant will not be permitted. Regardless, the Town Council is prepared for any turn of events and is prepared to respond as needed,” said Wood.
Sollitto and Brizard cited ongoing improvements in the town’s public education as a focus going forward.
“Our biggest challenge for 2019 will be to continue promoting and improving our K-12 programs while keeping a student-centered approach and responding to individual student needs,” they said.
Lynch said his greatest challenge in the upcoming year will be, “keeping this community, our schools and our members safe.”
“We live in a world where lives are changed in seconds and police officers are murdered because they are police officers responding to calls for service,” said Lynch. “That reality makes for a tough but rewarding profession in light of the growth as mentioned.”