Holiday celebrations have been announced in area communities for the coming days — from Wallingford’s Holiday Celebration on the Linear Trail, to Southington’s Santa in the Park, both Sunday; to several performances of Scrooge’s Christmas at Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden, starting Thursday; to the Downtown Wallingford Holiday Stroll and Southington’s White Christmas in the Community, both on Dec. 1; to South Meriden’s Christmas in the Village and Wallingford’s Reindeer Rally and Seasons of Celebration, both on Dec. 2; to the Cheshire Tree Lighting, on Dec 3.
The city has received a $2 million grant and a $2 million loan to clean up the abandoned Meriden-Wallingford Hospital on Cook Avenue in order to redevelop the property into a market-rate senior housing and commercial development. “It’s really great news,” said outgoing Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski.
Hartford Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield reached a three-year agreement on Saturday, ending a contract dispute that started last month. The agreement comes after health care advocates called for state action to force mediation between the two companies. The dispute left Anthem customers in a broad swath of eastern Connecticut unable to get covered care at regional hospitals.
Wallingford’s Kiwanis Turkey Trot had a good turnout Sunday. With the addition of the 5k run, this year’s trot had one of its largest turnouts, with 160 pre-registering and another 40 registering Sunday morning.
The new Meriden train station’s platforms and pedestrian bridge are open, but there’s still work to finish before the station is officially complete. ”Amtrak trains are now pulling up to the new platforms and the (pedestrian bridge) is open to customers,” said John Bernick, assistant rail administrator. The station opened last weekend with little fanfare.
A wellness grant from the Bradley Barnes trust will help local groups educate teachers on drug trends, fund treatment for addicted youth and provide more counseling for families. Main Street Community Foundation, which oversees the Bradley Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust, gave $25,600 to LISA Inc., a local nonprofit which is partnering with the Southington Town-Wide Effort to Promote Success and the town’s Youth Services.
In Cheshire on Saturday, 727 runners leapt out of Norton Elementary School for a 5k race to raise money for local adults with learning disabilities. Abilities Without Boundaries is a Cheshire-based charity providing employment training, day programs and other services for local disabled adults. The charity organized the race to raise money to help the 65 individuals in its programs.
Children dressed as angels and shepherds led the living nativity procession at the Franciscan Life Center’s Christmas Fair on Saturday as visitors took pictures. The 26th annual event is one of the center’s major fundraisers and draws thousands from area towns. “We’re so grateful for all the people who come back year after year,” said Sister Barbara Johnson, executive director of the center.
Two area high school marching bands ranked in this year’s USBands New England State Championships last month. Wallingford’s Lyman Hall High School earned first place with a score of 90.5 out of 100. Meriden’s Maloney High School finished a close second at 89.938 in the 5A class. This is Lyman Hall’s first time breaking a score of 90 at the state competition.
For the first time in over three months, undocumented Meriden resident Marco Reyes set foot outside the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven after being granted a temporary reprieve from deportation while his case remains pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals. “It is a recognition of American values,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
The Southington Community YMCA held its annual fundraising gala “Forever in Blue Jeans” at the Aqua Turf Club last weekend. The event encouraged attendees to wear blue jeans as they bid for almost 300 silent and live auction items. The money raised will go to providing financial assistance to people in the Southington community to be able to participate in YMCA camps, childcare and memberships. This year’s gala fundraising goal was $80,000.
As Connecticut lawmakers made last-minute fixes last week to the newly passed, two-year, $41.3 billion state budget, they learned the bipartisan tax-and-spending plan is already in the red. Consensus revenue estimates released by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office and the General Assembly’s nonpartisan fiscal office project the current fiscal year will end $178.4 million in deficit, while the new fiscal year beginning July 1 will be $147.1 million in the red.