EDITORIAL: 12 Things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t 

EDITORIAL: 12 Things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t 

We liked this week

Well before any rockets gave off a red glare at Wednesday night’s Meriden fireworks display, hundreds of people spent the final hours of warm sunshine lolling around Hubbard Park. People camped and ate and listened to music at the bandshell, indulging in the perfect indolence of the beginning of a long summer weekend. “It’s just a good thing to do on a summer’s day,” said Nadine Ruta, from Yalesville.

Wallingford Electric Division customers won’t see a rate hike for at least six months after the Public Utilities Commission voted to absorb an increase in the cost of wholesale electricity. Rick Hendershot, town public utilities director, said the Electric Division will use about $748,000 to prevent a $1.96 increase to the typical residential customer's monthly bill.

The Southington Fire Department has hired two new career firefighters with long-requested funding added earlier this year by the Town Council. Fire Chief Richard Butler said they’ll start training in August and be ready for shifts in December. “We’ll be using them to help offset some of the overtime and increase crew efficiency,” Butler said. 

Connecticut highway rest areas returned to full-time operations Monday, just in time for some of the busiest travel days of the year. Rest areas in Wallingford, Southington, Middletown, Danbury, North Stonington and Willington were affected. For the past three years, motorists had to use outdoor portable toilets if they stopped between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The City Council’s Finance Committee will hold a public hearing Monday on a $9.3 million plan to renovate and expand the Meriden Public Library. The plan calls for a full renovation of the current facility and a 9,000-square-foot addition on an adjacent Catlin Street property.

Eddie Rivera has been painting the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and other characters from “Alice in Wonderland” on an exterior wall of the Downtown Coffee Shop in Meriden. “I wanted to make something that kids and the older generation could relate to,” Rivera said.

A team of volunteers from House of Heroes, a national organization that provides no-cost home repairs for members of the armed services or public safety organizations who face financial or physical challenges, has constructed an access ramp at the home of Army veteran Paul Lewoc. “It’s kind of overwhelming, seeing it happen. There is a lot of good in the world and this shows it,” said Aidan Lewoc, Paul’s grandson.

In an effort to promote bicycle safety, Wallingford police are “pulling over” children who wear bike helmets to reward them with a prize. During the “Get Caught Wearing a Bike Helmet” program, designated officers will stop children who are riding a bicycle. If a child is wearing a helmet, they will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone. The program will run until the end of August. 

A podcast has re-ignited interest in a 31-year-old Wallingford missing-person cold case, but police officials remain tight-lipped on what they’re doing with any new information. The second season of “Faded Out,” which debuted in January, explores the case of Doreen Jane Vincent, a 12-year-old girl who disappeared from her father’s Wallingford home in 1988.

The Wallingford Symphony Orchestra will offer music with a broad international flavor at its annual Pops Concert on Sunday at 7 p.m. on the lawn in front of Seymour St. John Chapel at Choate Rosemary Hall. The free concert is sponsored by the Wallingford Parks and Recreation Department, the Wadsworth Family Foundation and the Ulbrich Corporation.

It’s been a hot week, but Meriden children have been able to cool down under a fountain at the City of Meriden Lions Club water park on Park Avenue. The splash pad is open Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Historical re-enactments, the opening of a time capsule and virtual tours are just a few of the activities Wallingford residents can look forward to during the town’s 350th Jubilee celebration next year. The committee overseeing the celebration finalized the details of several events at a meeting Tuesday night. 

We didn’t like this week

Today is the 75th anniversary of a tragic day in Connecticut history. On July 6, 1944, a blaze that ignited the tent of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford claimed 168 lives, including five Meriden residents. Many of the victims were young children. The big top had been waterproofed with a mixture of paraffin wax and gasoline. The State Armory was used as a temporary morgue. The cause of ignition was never determined, but the flames spread quickly, engulfing the tent. This became known as “the day the clowns cried.”

A water-main break closed several downtown streets Wednesday afternoon. The 16-inch water main broke at the intersection of East Main and State streets, but the Meriden Water Department was able to switch surrounding residents to an adjacent main and restore service to all customers.

Residents living in a multifamily house in Meriden near a growing sinkhole were moved out Wednesday by the city. The sinkhole in the rear of 170 Liberty St. was discovered on Easter Sunday. It is now more than 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, and close to the foundation. “We’ve determined that the building is unsafe and are moving the tenants out,” City Manager Tim Coon said.