EDITORIAL: 12 Things we liked this week, 7 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 12 Things we liked this week, 7 we didn’t

We liked this week

A controversial plan to consolidate Connecticut’s 12 community colleges into a single accredited institution would shed nearly 190 people in top administrative positions by 2021. The plan would cut out each institution’s president, budget staff and other administrative positions and form an integrated staff for all the community colleges. It would not close any of the campuses or cut any faculty or student support functions, such as advisor and counselor positions.

Meriden City Manager Guy Scaife is calling the recent release of the city’s budget deficit by the finance department, originally estimated to be about $3 million, premature. “It was premature to release that and ill-advised in that the number is not $3 million,” Scaife said at Monday’s City Council meeting. “It’s probably $2.2 million or $2 million on the low side.”

Wallingford’s Chris Cirri’s invention will be produced and marketed in stores around the world next Christmas season. It’s a toy mailbox that lets children place letters to Santa inside, but unlike other decorative Christmas mailboxes, Cirri’s invention makes the letter “magically disappear to the North Pole” after the child closes the mailbox and raises the flag. “Kids just love seeing their letter disappear,” Cirri said.

Temperatures in the 50s and blue skies helped bring a record turnout to the streets of South Meriden Saturday for the annual Christmas in the Village event. ”You couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Ed Haberli, a member of the event committee.

Wallingford has put down millings for a new temporary parking lot along Wallace Avenue that will add 79 spaces in the town center. While the lot is not striped yet, it is open to public use.

Cheshire resident and former state representative Alfred Adinolfi has been selected for induction into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame. Adinolfi, who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War era, was inducted in a ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Choate Rosemary Hall planned to host a concert Friday to benefit the Spanish Community of Wallingford. The concert, titled “Noche de Musica,” featured the Villalobos Brothers, a Mexican trio of violinists and singer-songwriters who have previously performed at Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.

After years of not having a skating rink, the Southington parks department has plans to once again allow skating on Memorial Park’s pond. Meriden will also be opening its outdoor skating rink at City Park once the weather allows.

Wallingford children had the opportunity to tell Santa Claus their Christmas wishes during the town’s annual Seasons of Celebrations event last weekend. The children were ushered into the lobby of Town Hall by elves and toy soldiers, including Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., who sounded his bugle to welcome each guest.

The Meriden Housing Authority and the city have filed another application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant. The Choice Neighborhood grant is designed to help implement a plan “that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood,” according to HUD’s website.

The smell of apple cider filled the air around the bonfire at Plantsville’s Faith Living Church last weekend as revelers warmed themselves, enjoying chestnuts while Girl Scouts sang Christmas carols. Cecilia DiGovanni, 5, of Southington, flipped on the lights at the Plantsville Green as part of the White Christmas in the Community, held simultaneously in downtown Plantsville and Southington.

Wallingford streets were crowded with people enjoying free holiday goodies and discounts during the ninth annual Holiday Stroll last Friday evening. Shops and businesses on Center Street, Quinnipiac Street and Simpson Court provided complimentary refreshments and discounts.

We didn’t like this week

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo projected the state is on pace for a $207.8 million deficit, a hole that requires legislative action. The budget hole was reported in his monthly letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Municipal leaders fear more cuts depleting already diminished budgets, especially after already seeing reductions since the state budget was adopted.

The U.S. Senate last Saturday passed a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code that would end the deductibility of state income taxes and eliminate other popular tax breaks while lowering tax rates for individuals and corporations. The Senate package must be reconciled with a tax package the House approved earlier this month. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., joined other Democrats in calling the bill a giveaway to the wealthy. Blumenthal said, “This measure is rotten to the core.”

The more than 127 students from Puerto Rico who entered the Meriden school system after the devastating Hurricane Maria swept through that island began arriving here just days after the enrollment deadline had passed, Oct. 1, so no Education Cost Sharing money was allocated by the state for them. Meriden school administrators are seeking state and federal aid to help pay the cost. 

Meriden City Manager Guy Scaife informed the City Council he no longer plans to use legal advice from Corporation Counsel Michael Quinn, notifying them in an email that he instead intends to either hire an outside law firm or use a staff attorney, rather than Quinn. However, under the City Code, Scaife does not have the power to hire outside legal counsel without City Council approval.

Connecticut’s cash-starved transportation program would need to scrap some rail services, drive up fares, suspend 40 percent of planned capital projects and defer major highway rebuilds like the Hartford viaduct, to remain solvent over the next five years, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration warned.

For second time in two months, wind-driven fires tore through California communities around Los Angeles, leaving rows of homes and a psychiatric hospital in ruins Tuesday and sending tens of thousands of people fleeing for their lives.

President Donald Trump on Monday took the rare step of scaling back two national monuments in Utah, declaring that “public lands will once again be for public use” in a move cheered by Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they considered overly broad. The decision marks the first time in a half century that a president has undone these types of land protections.


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