Winners and Losers , 4-12-2014

We liked this week

The smallest volunteer fire company in Wallingford has the largest membership, acting Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd said Friday while sitting in the training room at Engine Company 8, otherwise known as the East Wallingford Volunteer Fire Department. The station is “small by anyone’s standards,” Heidgerd said. A project to expand the station’s living quarters was announced as part of Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.’s proposed $151.7 million budget for 2014-15. Dickinson is requesting the Town Council appropriate $150,000 from the town’s 2012-13 budget surplus to fund the project. Heidgerd said the project is small scale, and would include a 1,100-square-foot addition which would be used for meeting space and offices. It could also aid in cutting response times.

For the past 50 years Kratzert, Jones and Associates Inc. has worked on hundreds of projects throughout Southington, from small houses to large business developments. “We plan to work hard another 50 years to serve the community that we’ve been blessed to be in,” said Severino Bovino, the co-owner and vice president of the company. This year, the company is happy to celebrate its golden anniversary.

At the end of the month, the Southington Genealogical Society Inc. will celebrate its 30th anniversary. In February 1984, former Southington residents Ray Thomas and Lorraine Dupuis decided to form a genealogy group after they tired of traveling to Tolland’s French-Canadian Genealogical Society. Since then, the local society has had hundreds of members. About 90 remain active.

Michael Lambert usually wears a tuxedo to the Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation Gala, but a fedora, black shirt, pocket square and faux cigar was a new look for him. His 1920s get-up matched the flapper dress, long necklace and red feather headpiece of his date, Jan Neri, as they attended the gala Saturday. Its theme this year was “ Flappers & Dappers,” and the dress code was creative black tie. The formal Southington gala at the Aqua Turf Club is the foundation’s primary fundraiser. Last year, the nonprofit gave away $143,000 to town departments, schools, charitable organizations and nursing homes.

Middlefield has received three bids on a project to excavate six areas of Lake Beseck while the lake remains drained for the nearly completed dam repair. The excavation project will involve clearing accumulated sand and muck washed into the manmade lake from four outfalls and two tributaries. The outfalls collect runoff from roads and storm basins and have pushed a lot of the remains of winter sanding into the lake. It’ll be good to have the project completed and the lake restored.

Planning is moving forward for the redevelopment of Mills Memorial Apartments as the City-Meriden Housing Authority Joint Planning Group held its second meeting since being awarded a $500,000 federal grant. The group has until November 2015 to develop a plan to close the high-rise low-income housing complex and create a blueprint on how to relocate tenants in the 140 units.

The National Association of Music Merchants has recognized Southington’s school system, presenting to it a 2014 Best Communities for Music Education award. The award is for school districts that have made an effort to keep music education in the forefront. Music merchants, a nonprofit organization with about 9,000 members worldwide, advocates for participation in music .

We didn’t like this week

Officials are looking into the causes of increased heating oil consumption at Southington’s DePaolo Middle School that could cost up to $80,000. Fred Cox, school director of operations, said school and construction officials are trying to determine how much of the extra expense was caused by the cold winter and how much is connected to ongoing renovations at DePaolo.

Numerous states, including Connecticut, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. The Connecticut medical examiner’s office says accidental deaths from heroin rose sharply between 2012 and 2013. Police in and around Hartford have started seeing a deadly form of heroin laced with the prescription painkiller fentanyl. And according to the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, heroin addiction currently ranks second behind alcohol as the reason people seek treatment.

Drivers will get the slightest of breaks on gasoline prices this summer, according to the Energy Department. The national average price is forecast to fall — by just one cent — to $3.57 a gallon between April and September, the months when Americans do most of their driving. Still, that would be the lowest average summer price since 2010. “A penny saved is a penny earned”?



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