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Week in Review: Empty Storefronts, Costa Rica, and the End of an Era

A recap of the week's stories on Stonington-Mystic Patch.

A sign of the times, perhaps, but empty storefronts are popping up all over the place in Downtown Mystic. The reasons are hard to pinpoint, but the constant disruption of the Mystic Streetscape project and the ongoing repairs to the Mystic River Drawbridge are two chief factors. Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce President Tricia Walsh, though, struck a hopeful note, observing that there are still more businesses operating than before the Main Block fire in 2000.

On a more hopeful note, the latest home price report by Fiserv Case-Shiller predicts that home values in New London County will shoot up an average of 7.1 percent per year over the next five years and become the strongest housing market in the state. According to the group's chief economist, homeowners in New London County pay only 12 percent of their income toward their mortgages, significantly lower than most other parts of the state and country.

Eighteen Stonington High School students and several more teachers and parents (and one grandparent!) recently traveled to Costa Rica on a trip organized by the Spanish Department. The group experienced Central American culture during the nine-day trip and explored cities and towns.

The Board of Finance on Wednesday night, slicing into a pie that would have meant a 1.1-mill tax increase. At least one board member expressed his wish to get the budget as close to a zero-increase as possible. This week, the board looks into the municipal portion of the budget.

Friday saw the curtain close on the editorship of Bree Shirvell, Stonington-Mystic Patch's inaugural steward. Bree did some tremendous work during her two-and-a-half years at the helm, and we're all sad to see her go but excited for her to succeed in her future endeavors.

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