Winners and Losers , 11-9-2013

We liked this week

After close to 20 years of planning, city, state and federal officials broke ground on Meriden’s Hub redevelopment project, which will create 2.3 million cubic feet of floodwater detention in downtown and a central park for the city. The city’s downtown includes a long history with 11 major floods since the late 1860s, including two in the 1990s that resulted in $26 million in property damage. The flooding caused businesses and major employers to relocate out of downtown and led to the demise of the building on the Hub, formerly the Meriden Mall.

Motorists driving on Meriden’s Broad Street by the fire station are encouraged to stay out of the large white box painted on the roadway. The purpose of the white box with an “X” in the middle is to prevent motorists from stopping on it when the traffic light on Broad Street turns red. Fire officials said the initiative is going to make it easier for firetrucks to leave the station. We hope all motorists will observe the box and assist in fire station efforts.

A business in Southington recently added a public-use electric vehicle charging station, thanks to state money received as part of $135,946 worth of grants awarded by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to 56 Connecticut businesses. The new Southington station is part of a planned network of such sites within Connecticut, so that drivers of electric vehicles can travel throughout the state without worrying about running out of juice. More power to eco-conscious motorists!

Since October, the dining facility at Choate Rosemary Hall has stopped purchasing baked deserts, and instead donated money saved to the nonprofits Master’s Manna and Kids Against Hunger. Helping those less-fortunate while also promoting healthier diets: it’s a win-win fundraiser.

John Mastroianni, an educator of 32 years and Southington resident, says he constantly works on perfecting his craft. “I never think of myself as a great teacher,” he said. “I always try to get better.” The state evidently disagrees with Mastroianni’s self-evaluation, as he was named the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year last month. Congratulations!

Southington is considering uniform reimbursement and repair policies for residents whose mailboxes and driveways are damaged by snowplows. Town Manager Garry Brumback said the policies would apply to mailboxes and sections of driveways that are located in the town’s right of way. The plans were discussed at a meeting of the Public Works Committee in early October. At the meeting, Highway Superintendent Steve Wlodkowski estimated that 20 to 25 mailboxes are damaged each year by town snowplows. “You break it, you bought it.”

From the Green Monster to the Charles River, the bearded champions celebrated their improbable journey with another familiar sight in Boston: the World Series trophy. For the third time in 10 years, the Red Sox carried the prize through their city in a “rolling rally” of amphibious duck boats as thousands of fans lined the streets and the banks of the waterway that separates Boston from Cambridge. The most poignant moment occurred early in last Saturday’s trip, when the vehicles stopped at the Boston Marathon finish line, near where two explosions killed three spectators at the race on April 15.

For the past 18 years, Mike and Teresa Soltys have volunteered to help many organizations in the community. Because of their efforts, the Southington-Cheshire YMCA will recognize the couple as the recipients of the 2013 Compass Award. For more than seven years, members of the community have been awarded this honor for their “work in staying true to the YMCA focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility,” said a statement from the YMCA.

We didn’t like this week

A fungus targeting white pine forests has mutated and poses new threats more than a century after it first hit the United States, according to American and Canadian scientists. A mutant form of white pine blister rust was discovered by Cornell University researcher Kerik Cox in 2011 in Connecticut. After two years of study, scientists now believe a large number of host plants – called ribes (pronounced RYE-beez) – previously thought to be immune to the fungus are susceptible. Ribes include valuable niche crops like black currants and gooseberries that are used in products from jam to vodka. Spores from infected ribes are carried by wind to the pines where the fungus invades the tree, eventually killing it.

A man carrying a note that said he wanted to “kill TSA” pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding two others before he was subdued, authorities said.



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