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Norwich - With four new members appointed Monday to the Norwich Ice Rink Authority and a celebrity figure skating "extravaganza" planned for Saturday, city officials hope the financial turnaround for the city-owned facility has begun.
The financially troubled rink was criticized this spring for growing deficits that led to $81,00 in taxpayer subsidies over the past two years and an outstanding debt to the city of $261,000. City officials gave the rink this fiscal year to make the turnaround and appointed council President Pro Tempore Francois "Pete" Desaulniers to the authority to track progress.
On Monday, the council appointed four new members - Patrice Jaskiewicz, Stephanie Davis, Michael Meakem and Joann Beguhl - and reappointed long-time chairman Michael Goldblatt and Cheryl Ritacco.
Davis' appointment, however, was criticized by resident Matthew Koehler, a hockey player and supporter of the ice rink. He told the council that Davis was a former rink employee and might have a conflict of interest for her past criticism of ice rink manager Mia Sanca.
But Sanca told the council she had no objections to Davis' appointment, saying differing opinions would be good for the rink. She praised Davis for her passion for the rink and her volunteer efforts to improve the facility.
"I also believe everyone chosen for the board will make the best decisions," she said.
The rink will host a Summer Skating Extravaganza on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. that will feature American and foreign skating stars. The lineup includes former U.S. National Team and Norwich Figure Skating Club member Sara Bailey, British National Champions and world and Olympic competitors Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, Mexican National Champions and world competitors Corenne Bruhns-Alonso and Ryan Van Natten and Georgian National Champion and world and Olympic competitors Otar Japardize and Angelina Telegina.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call the rink at (860) 892-2555 or go to www.norwichfsc.tix.com for information.