Winners and Losers , 4-5-2014

We liked this week

Organizers of the second annual Sandy Hook Memorial Softball Tournament need donations to pay for food and supplies for next weekend’s event. This year, 26 teams are participating in the softball tournament, said Jimmy Russo, a town resident and student at Southern Connecticut State University. The majority of the teams are from Connecticut, but Russo said five of the women’s teams are from New York and a men’s team is from Massachusetts. Proceeds from the event will also go toward My Sandy Hook Family Fund in Newtown, which helps defray expenses related to trauma recovery.

Cheshire Adult Education is sponsoring a one-night introductory voice acting class on April 8 by Voice Coaches, an Albany-based voiceover-training firm with 20 years in the business.

A Washington Middle School teacher will take a trip to Morocco this summer after winning a Fulbright scholarship. Sarah Stolfi, a social studies teacher in Meriden for nine years, said she was intrigued by the University of New Haven grant that will allow her to travel to the North African country. Stolfi will travel with 11 others to participate in UNH’s Global Classrooms and Cultural Connections for the 21st Century Learners: Morocco’s Bountiful Perspectives program.

Connecticut officials said the state’s health insurance marketplace experienced a surge in last-minute enrollees and was on track to sign up about 200,000 people in health plans by Monday’s enrollment deadline, double the original goal of 100,000. As of Sunday night, 191,961 people had signed up for coverage, with 74,000 in private health plans and the rest in government-funded Medicaid plans, said Access Health CT’s CEO Kevin Counihan.

While high school graduation can be a time of adjustment for any family, it poses specific challenges for families of students with special needs. The fifth annual transition expo helped those families prepare for the challenges ahead. The expo, held at Meriden’s Four Points by Sheraton hotel, brought a host of state, college, and career services under one roof to help parents navigate the next steps for their students. This year the expo had booths from more than 40 agencies, including ARC of Meriden-Wallingford, local probate courts, the state Department of Developmental Services, and the developmental disabilities education department at the University of Connecticut.

A point of view that echoed throughout the Meriden Rod and Gun Club last Saturday afternoon was that guns are not bad and the people that use them aren’t either. More than 350 people huddled under tents outside to avoid the rain and packed the inside of the club for the annual St. Jude Shoot-a-Thon. For the past 20 years the club has hosted the event with the organization CT Shooting Sportsmen For St. Jude to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The organization has raised nearly $700,000 through the years at events such as the Shoot-a-Thon.

We didn’t like this week

As the deaths are tallied from General Motors’ delayed recall of compact cars, one thing is becoming clear: Of those killed, the majority were young. Low-priced cars like the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion were marketed to young, first-time buyers and parents shopping for their kids. The faulty ignition switches behind the recall can shut off the engine while the car is in motion. When that happens, power-assisted steering and power brakes are lost, and the air bags won’t inflate in a crash. In such a situation, inexperienced drivers are more likely to panic and be overwhelmed by the extra effort needed to control the car, safety experts say. GM has linked 13 deaths to the problem.

Helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations it violated federal law and inflated the cost of spare parts to the Army, federal prosecutors said Monday. From 2008 to 2011, Sikorsky did not disclose accurate, complete and current cost and pricing data to the Army purchasing unit that buys spare parts for the manufacturer’s Black Hawk helicopter. When determining the prices to be charged to the government, Sikorsky failed to disclose it had lower prices for certain parts. Thus, the government paid artificially excessive prices.

A fond farewell

Vern A. Hunter, founder of Hunter’s Ambulance in Meriden, will be remembered as a pioneer in the field of emergency medical services, for his dedication to the city, and his larger-than-life personality. Hunter died Sunday at the age of 82. We echo the sentiments of his daughter, Donna Hunter, who observed: “He made an immeasurable impact on many lives, and even surpassed his own expectations in that sense.” Our condolences to his family and friends. A grateful community is the beneficiary of his enduring legacy.



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