Winners and Losers , 10-5-2013

We liked this week

The faith-based nonprofit Master’s Manna plans to move its operations from Wallingford to Meriden after getting unanimous approval Tuesday night from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Master’s Manna offers numerous services, including helping the needy with food, clothing and medical services. It also tutors students and works with people who have special needs. We wish them well in their new location and community service.

Within the last year, the Wallingford school system received over $260,000 in grants from the state to purchase a variety of technology, such as video conferencing equipment and a system that would allow the schools to stream video. The school system was awarded two grants by the state’s Public, Educational and Governmental Programming and Educational Technology Investment Account Grant Program.

Dozens of people used the warm Sunday afternoon to explore the newest section of Meriden’s linear trail, which runs from the Platt High School parking lot to Dossin Beach. Several stopped to stare as a bald eagle swooped across the pond, perching in a maple tree with bright orange leaves. Fall colors are just beginning to show. The winding path features two bridges over small streams, where fishermen tried their luck. A small dirt path splits from the trail to hug the edge of the pond. Egrets, a great blue heron and several other birds hunted and frolicked in the pond. The grand opening of the trail is scheduled for Oct. 13.

Congratulations to Wallingford’s Jerry Farrell Jr., who was recently knighted by Italian royalty. Farrell, a former town councilor, was named a Knight Official of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus during a visit to Vatican City earlier this month. The honor was bestowed upon Farrell by Prince Victor Emmanuel IV of Savoy. Farrell’s work as commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection from 2006 to 2011 brought him before Italian royalty. Farrell was crucial in passing olive oil regulations in 2008. At the time, Connecticut was the first state to regulate the sale of olive oil, and the impact was felt worldwide as international grocery chains began demanding a higher quality product.

With a shiny tiara and a bouquet of flowers, Southington High School senior Sarah DiBenedetto was crowned Apple Harvest Festival’s new queen. Congratulations!

About 40 people representing construction contractors filled seats in the City Council chambers Monday, learning more about the Hub redevelopment project. The city is accepting bids for the work, scheduled to begin in late October or early November, after years and years of planning. “We are very excited that this project is moving forward,” said Public Works Director Robert Bass. “I’m absolutely delighted to see a full house of people interested in this project. As we move forward with all of the bridges that need work and the retention pond that needs to be constructed, I hope this interest continues and keeps up.” The Hub redevelopment is part of the city’s effort to reduce flooding, especially in the downtown area. It’s good to see widespread interest.

We didn’t like this week

Southington has an illegal sign problem, according to Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Robert Salka. Salka said the only private signs that may be posted outside private property in town are those that will be up for a defined duration, such as political signs during campaign season and home service company signs during periods when the company is performing contracted work at a residential site. Salka said the town is having a particular problem with illegal signs being posted on telephone poles, especially ones that advertise a specific home buying service.

With a growing client list, the Cheshire Food Pantry has outgrown its location on Railroad Avenue and is now looking for a new home. “We knew at some point we’d run out of space and right now this is not a site designed for optimum efficiency,” said Patty Hartmann, food bank director. “We’re going through the exploratory stage, looking at what’s available via the state at this time.” The pantry lacks shelves and storage space, Hartmann said. At times, they’ve had to give food to other organizations because don’t have room to store it. We hope they find a positive solution for their invaluable service.

First, the Cheshire High School library was supposed to open two weeks before school started. Then, the date was changed to Oct. 1 because bookshelves hadn’t arrived. Now the bookshelves are there, but they’re the wrong ones. If the right ones do come in, the library might be open by November. The library was completely renovated during summer break. About 13,000 books for the library are stacked in boxes on pallets waiting to be housed in the redesigned library.



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