EDITORIAL: 9 Things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 9 Things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

We liked this week

Connecticut’s prison population fell below 14,000 inmates, to its lowest level since 1994, largely due to a change in the way the criminal justice system treats young offenders, the governor’s office said. The Department of Correction reported that it had 13,921 people incarcerated in the system, which is down from a high of about 19,900 in 2008. Mike Lawlor, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy, said the biggest reduction was in the population of inmates under 30.

Connecticut lawmakers were urged Tuesday to consider ways to possibly avoid or mitigate any future contract impasses between insurance companies and health care systems, like the seven-week dispute between Hartford HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that affected tens of thousands of residents. Some Anthem customers didn’t know there was a dispute until their medical procedure was canceled.

The Wallingford Town Council on Tuesday approved a $19,640 agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office after the town removed a section of the Center Street Cemetery wall last year. The town will not have to replace the section of the wall it removed. As mitigation for removing a 15-foot-section of the wall, the town has agreed to pay a local firm to repair other deteriorated parts of the 106-year-old wall, according to a memorandum of understanding between the town and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). 

Mild weather and some fun surprises made shopping at small businesses along Colony, Center and North Main Streets in Wallingford a worthwhile venture last weekend. Shoppers took advantage of Small Business Saturday specials to support local businesses. Since its inception in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become a signature event for many small retailers.

The Southington Police Department is raising money for its No Shave November and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month campaign. All proceeds will go to the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. The campaign continues until Dec. 11. 

It’s been nearly four years since Congress approved turning Hartford’s Coltsville neighborhood into a national park, but there has been progress. The National Park Service hopes to take some major steps soon, including the hiring of a permanent, full-time park ranger and the establishment of a temporary visitors center at the park that honors the innovative entrepreneurship of Sam and Elizabeth Colt.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday the state and two federally recognized tribes are suing the federal government for failing to act on their revenue sharing agreement before a new casino can be built to compete with the MGM casino in Massachusetts. Malloy said the lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Department of Interior and Secretary Ryan Zinke by the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

White lights went up in downtown Southington and Plantsville as businesses prepare for Friday’s second White Christmas in the Community celebration. “It’s quintessential New England at holiday time,” said Southington Town Councilor Dawn Miceli.

The Cheshire Town Council voted in favor of a state grant program that’s already underway providing money for home safety and health improvements. Cheshire received the $400,000 grant last year from the state Department of Housing. Last week the council unanimously approved a redrafting and rewording of the approval as required by the state.

We didn’t like this week

ESPN is eliminating 150 production and technical employees as the sports broadcasting giant continues to shift its focus to a more digital future. The company says the layoffs, which were announced Wednesday morning in a memo to employees, don’t include on-air talent and will have a minimal impact on the network’s signature SportsCenter news program. “The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources,” ESPN president John Skipper wrote in memo.

The builders who proposed a medical building on West Street in Southington may choose a different location after strong opinions from some Planning and Zoning Commission members regarding the proposal’s aesthetics. Garry Capitanio, of Borghesi Building & Engineering, had an informal discussion with commission members about a two-story medical building at the corner of West and Curtiss streets. However, property owner Roger Tolles said he hadn’t been contacted by Borghesi about purchasing his land for development. “Nobody’s approached me. I know nothing of it,” Tolles said Tuesday. 

A cybersecurity company said Tuesday it found top secret files related to classified Army communications systems sitting unprotected online for anyone to see. The data belonged to the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command, a division of both the Army and the National Security Agency. It's the latest known setback linked to the NSA where former agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed a cache of classified material in 2013. 

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