EDITORIAL: 13 things we liked this week, 2 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 13 things we liked this week, 2 we didn’t

We liked this week

Children and parents lined the Meriden Green Tuesday to collect free backpacks, school supplies and books during the 15th annual Back to School Expo. Ryan Gilhuly, firefighter and event organizer, said students from kindergarten through seventh grade received a backpack filled with school supplies and a free lunch. More than 40 off-duty firefighters volunteered for the event.

Looming clouds and a forecast of rain Saturday did not stop Southington police from kicking off the first annual Stuff-A-Cruiser back-to-school supplies drive. Officers Chad Butler and Tom Atterrato, event coordinators, said that while there have been many Stuff-A-Cruiser events in the past, this is the first year a donation drive was held for back-to-school supplies. They said some parents in the community might not have enough money to get new clothes for the school year.

Wallingford and Cheshire public works officials say they will seek financial reimbursement for overtime and equipment after the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it would provide disaster assistance to towns and cities in New Haven County following May’s storm. FEMA said a payment of at least 75 percent of eligible costs will be made for repairing damaged public facilities and “emergency protective measures” taken to save lives and protect public health.

An Air Force sergeant from Windsor Locks who gave his life in 2002 while trying to rescue a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House on Wednesday by President Donald Trump, who lauded the airman’s “final act of supreme courage.” Trump presented the nation’s highest military honor to Valerie Nessel, the widow of Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman.

After a five-day hiatus, a Facebook group for Wallingford residents boasting more than 16,000 members has reopened with a new name emphasizing a new direction. The former Wallingford CT Community Forum Facebook reopened Monday under the name Positively Wallingford. Administrator Wayne Harriman said he hoped the rebranding would help promote a new attitude within the forum.

New Haven became what officials called “ground zero” Monday for efforts to shine a light on the dangers of drugs, as President Donald Trump’s nominee for drug czar visited a city reeling from more than 100 recent overdoses on synthetic marijuana. Jim Carroll met with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Toni Harp and first responders to discuss the overdoses, as well as the country’s opioid crisis.

Two butterfly gardens and a memorial garden will be part of the West Main Street trail crossing thanks to a local group formed earlier this year. Cheshire West Community Butterfly Gardens, and other volunteers, have nearly finished the gardens, located near where state crews are connecting the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in the center of town. The group is planting milkweed because it’s the only plant on which monarch butterflies will lay eggs. Other native plants were chosen to encourage the presence of bees, hummingbirds and other creatures.

Veterans who served in or during the Vietnam War will be honored at a ceremony this November in Southington, organized by the town’s Veterans Committee. The committee began planning the ceremony, which will take place at the Calendar House, after successfully applying to become a commemorative partner with the U.S. Department of Defense. Families of the nine soldiers from Southington who lost their lives in the conflict will also be invited. 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has cut a ribbon marking the imminent completion of a major project to widen Interstate 84 in Waterbury. State transportation officials say three completed eastbound lanes should open this week, and the westbound lanes should open next month, a year ahead of schedule. The project to add a third travel lane and full width shoulders in each direction along a 3-mile stretch of the highway cost an estimated $330 million.

The TWIST youth soccer tournament concluded on Monday with championship matches at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. Two area teams were victorious and crowned champions of their age group. The U14 Wallingford girls defeated WSA Force Schmitt of Warwick, Rhode Island, 3-1. The Meriden U13 girls dominated Thomaston, 3-0.

Teams from around the region participated in the 32nd annual Mud Volleyball tournament, held Saturday at Zoar Pond in Middletown, to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation.

Connecticut received Monday what is likely to be a federal overseer’s final assessment of the progress made by the Department of Children and Families during the tenure of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Commissioner Joette Katz, saying the state is closer than ever to ending nearly three decades of federal supervision. However, DCF still will be under federal supervision when the next governor takes office on Jan. 9, 2019.

Parents and children were busy shopping Monday, seeking back-to-school deals during the annual sales tax-free week. Most individual clothing and footwear items priced under $100 were exempt from the state’s 6.35 percent sales tax through today. The tax break began Sunday.

We didn’t like this week

Edible Arrangements announced Tuesday it will move its headquarters from Wallingford to Atlanta by the end of the year. “Edible’s Wallingford, CT office is an important part of the brand’s history and heritage, and we will always have a presence in the community,” CEO Mike Rotondo said in a statement.

Connecticut officials say the state is plagued by millions of dead or dying trees at risk of falling, potentially putting the public at risk. The Hartford Courant reports many of the trees are suffering from years of drought and damage from invasive insects such as the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer. University of Connecticut Extension System associate professor Tom Worthley says if the trees aren’t removed soon, someone will get hurt or killed.


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