EDITORIAL: 9 Things we liked this week, 5 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 9 Things we liked this week, 5 we didn’t

We liked this week

Meriden’s Maloney High School hosted a disaster relief fundraiser last Friday night in partnership with Casa Boricua de Meriden and the Disaster Relief Committee of Meriden. The fundraiser was to benefit families affected by Hurricane Maria, both in Puerto Rico and those that have relocated to Meriden, as well as those affected by the Sept. 19 earthquake in Mexico.

Horse-drawn carriages brimming with children circled Meriden’sHubbard Park as other children sang carols during the Christmas in the Park celebration on Tuesday night. The rain moved the festivities to the parking lot between the pool and playground. “Rain or shine, it’s good for the community to come together and support our kids,” said JoshylnOvitt, of Meriden.

Students and teachers at Israel Putnam School in Meriden took time from their lessons to make cards and activity books for children diagnosed with cancer and to recognize a classmate diagnosed with brain cancer. Ethan Heng, 6, left Israel Putnam in January to begin treatment at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. On Friday, he received a super reader award for reading every day of the month.

Kindergartners from Moses Y. Beach Elementary School in Wallingford enjoyed their once-a-month, three-hour visit to Choate Rosemary Hall’sKohler Environmental Center for hands-on learning in the woods. The Kinderwoods program started as a pilot program funded by the Wallingford Education Foundation last year with only one class. Six classes now get to take a trip to the woods nine times a year, October through May.

Medical students and staff at Quinnipiac University began this semester in a new $2 million state-of-the-art research facility in North Haven. The 6,000-square-foot laboratory opened in August as part of the Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine on the North Haven campus, which houses the university’s graduate programs.

A Berlin man has been paying tribute to his favorite NFL team for the past few years with a larger-than-life light-up holiday display in his front yard. “People really like it,” said David Edelson about the attention his New England Patriots display on Deming Road receives. He was recently contacted by the Patriots, who saw his display on Facebook. “That was amazing, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

The Suzio York Hill Co. plans to add a new concrete recycling facility to its Westfield Road operation in Meriden. The facility will sort concrete, stone and sand so the materials can be used for other purposes, indicative of an industry trend toward more sustainable practices.

The Pratt & Whitney site in North Haven once had baseball fields alongside the manufacturing plant, and images of workers running the bases are part of a new photo display in Town Hall. Former Pratt employee Bill Richards donated aerial photos of the factory complex from 1962, photos of employees playing baseball in the 1950s and a commemorative employee photo from 1977, to the North Haven Historical Society earlier this year.

Gov. DannelP. Malloy directed all U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to be lowered to half-staff Thursday in remembrance of the children and educators killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, five years ago.

We didn’t like this week

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre sounded alarms nationally about gaps in mental health care and led to calls for better screening and services, especially for young people showing a propensity for violence, but some key reforms enacted in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting depend on funding that has yet to be delivered by Congress. 

Connecticut’s finances remain in disarray. Gov. DannelP. Malloy on Wednesday shared a deficit mitigation plan with lawmakers that would put the state budget on pace for a $95 million surplus. The plan, and legislative approval, are required because the budget is currently projected for a $208 million deficit, an amount that exceeds the threshold that bars Malloy from taking action unilaterally.

Connecticut municipalities continue to prepare for cuts in state aid. Meriden is projected to face a deficit of between $1.68 million and $2.32 million by the end of the year, according to figures presented by the city manager and finance director to the City Council finance committee Tuesday night. State cuts account for a loss of about $2 million in revenue for the city. Cheshire Town Manager Michael Milone outlined possible cuts to offset the loss of state funding at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, a series of suggestions that included unfilled positions, spending freezes, and deferred purchases. The town lost nearly $1 million in state aid recently.

The statewide affordability gap on home energy bills has reached $450 million, an increase of $51 million from last year. Operation Fuel, Inc., a nonprofit that provides aid to residents struggling with energy bills, said the increase is due to rising energy costs, particularly for home heating gas and electricity.

More than $520,000 seized by police in drug and money laundering cases did not make it into state coffers during 2015 and 2016, according to an audit of the state Criminal Justice Division. The audit for 2015 and 2016 found that more than $108,000 that was supposed to be turned over from local and state police departments to the prosecutors’ office was more than a year overdue. And more than $28,000 should have been received over a decade ago. 

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