Winners and Losers

We liked this week

Connecticut police released thousands of pages from their investigation into the Dec. 14, 2012 Newtown massacre, not only providing the most detailed and disturbing picture yet of the rampage and Adam Lanza’s fascination with murder, but also depicting school employees’ brave and clearheaded attempts to protect the children.

Attention is not something Town Councilor Rosemary Rascati craves. Although she has served the town in several facets since the late 1950s, Rascati has never been one to seek praise for her accomplishments. Longtime Wallingford public servant Rascati, 87, has retired after four consecutive terms on the Town Council. There is no one in the town who can match Rascati’s insight into myriad topics, said Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., who used words like “wonderful,” “caring,” “sincere,” “likable,” “intelligent” and “honest.” “She wouldn’t miss a meeting for hell or high water,” said Council Chairman Bob Parisi.

Ending a longtime discriminatory practice against the unemployed topped a list of recommendations from the state legislature’s chief investigative panel, the Program Review and Investigations Committee, to help more of Connecticut’s older residents find work. Many older workers have the attributes employers surveyed are seeking the most, noted Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, co-chairwoman of the panel, which also recommended expanding education and training opportunities for seniors.

Area residents could see plenty of construction in 2014, including new Meriden high schools and a redeveloped downtown, a shopping complex in Cheshire, renovated middle schools in Southington and a new fire station in Wallingford.

The state has renewed the city health department’s $62,000 smoking cessation grant for 2014. The funding from the state Tobacco and Health Trust Fund will allow the department to add a group cessation program in Spanish. Individual and group programs are currently available in English. The money will also be used to continue direct nicotine replacement, including patches, gum and lozenges, and the position of smoking cessation counselor Geralyn Laut.

Southington residents can now access the town’s Code of Ordinances online and on their mobile devices after the code was recently reorganized and republished. The Code of Ordinances is a listing of the laws that govern the town. Reorganizing the code was spearheaded by Town Clerk Leslie Cotton, who will be retiring from the position this month after 20 years, and Town Attorney Mark Sciota. The Town Council agreed with Cotton that it was time to update the document. “Everyone agreed it made a lot of sense,” Cotton said.

A transmission agreement between the Wallingford Electric Division and the Connecticut Municipal Energy and Electric Cooperative has been extended through June 2014. “The agreement provides for CMEEC to continue to provide all the necessary services for us to keep the communication link going till such time the Electric Division has its own means,” said Public Utilities Director George Adair. A dispute between the division and the cooperative nearly caused a gap in the transmission of data vital to maintaining the regional electric grid. The town is no longer under contract with CMEEC, but had been from 1994 through 2013.

The first Meriden baby of the new year is also the first baby for Amy and Rich A. Zinck. Patrice Anne Zinck was born at 8:23 a.m. New Year’s Day at the Mid-State Medical Center Birthing Center. “She’s our first and she’s beautiful,” said Rich Zinck, looking at his daughter sleeping under the heating lamp in their darkened hospital room. “She’s perfect.” The 7-pound, 5-ounce little girl was swaddled in baby blankets and a pink and blue striped cap and put in her mother’s arms, where she continued sleeping. “She’s my little princess,” Amy Zinck said, caressing her daughter’s belly through the blankets. “I just want her to be happy and healthy and be whatever she wants.”

The state’s merged public college system released details last week on merit pay increases, which averaged 2 percent for each of 278 officials and administrators. The raises, which were awarded Friday but are retroactive to early September, are in addition to the 3 percent cost-of-living increase the Board of Regents for Higher Education granted these nonunion employees in July. Two leaders of the legislature’s Higher Education Committee and an open government group comprising news media executives — The Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information — had criticized the system’s initial reluctance to disclose the raises.

We didn’t like this week

More than 1 million Americans braced for a harrowing, post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits came to a sudden halt last weekend, with potentially significant implications for the recovering U.S. economy. A tense political battle likely looms when Congress reconvenes in the new, midterm election year.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and one of his chief GOP rivals, Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, ended 2013 as they began it — battling over Connecticut’s hefty credit card debt. The Fairfield lawmaker has been citing a new report that undercuts one of the governor’s chief defenses: that overall debt is less than when he took office three years ago. “As I stand before you today, we have less bonded debt,” Malloy told Capitol reporters on Sept. 27. But the latest report from the treasurer, which covers October, shows the bonded debt had risen by month’s end to $20.9 billion.



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