Winners and Losers


We liked this week

Nothing like a big win to draw big crowds. But back-to-back victories bring out the biggest. Hundreds of thousands of University of Connecticut fans jammed the streets of downtown Hartford on Sunday screaming for their victorious UConn Huskies. Police described the outpouring — more than 200,000 people — as the largest event anyone could remember in the city of Hartford — bigger than the St. Patrick’s Day parade, bigger than the 2004 UConn basketball celebration.

Students in one fifth-grade class at Meriden’s Hanover School have been reading voraciously this year as part of the city-wide accelerated reading program, stacking up 765 different books and more than 25 million words. Any elementary or middle school student who reads 1 million words becomes part of a “million-word club” and is celebrated in class. For a book to count toward that million-word goal, a student must get at least 75 percent of a comprehension quiz correct. Read on!

Congratulations to retired teacher Jan Galati, who has been named the next chairwoman of the Southington Education Foundation. Galati previously served on the foundation’s executive board and as secretary and vice-chairwoman. She succeeds Dawn Miceli, who held the position for two years.

For being the first hospital in Connecticut to use a solar thermal heating system, Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford will receive the 2014 Environmental Energy Leadership Award from People’s Action for Clean Energy. The group is an all-volunteer non-profit public health organization that promotes clean energy education and promotes the use of alternative energy. The hospital will be recognized at an event on April 29.

On his last day, Southington School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. visited all 11 schools to say goodbye to students, staff and members of the community. Many people came in throughout the day to have one final conversation. “I very rarely get uncomfortable, and it is uncomfortable for me today,” Erardi said. “I don’t do goodbyes well. I guess it is good to know your strengths and weaknesses and it is a deficit in my professional cache.” After seven years as Southington’s superintendent, Erardi took a job as school superintendent in Newtown. We wish him well in his new post.

The new bridge at the exit of Meriden’s Hubbard Park is nearing completion and expected to be ready for the start of the Daffodil Festival, which has preliminary activities beginning this weekend. The bridge at the West Main Street exit of the park was closed in early January due to concerns that it had been failing in recent years. The bridge had noticeably sunken and a long-term fix was needed, said Parks and Recreation Director Mark Zebora. It’ll be good to have it safe and sound for festival traffic.

Local probate judge and attorney Brian Mahon was recently elected as the first-vice president of the state Probate Assembly. Mahon, a Meriden native, graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1973 and was admitted to the Connecticut Bar Association in the same year. He has been a member of the Connecticut Probate Assembly for almost 10 years. “I am honored to have been elected by the 54 judges of the Probate Assembly to serve as first vice president-judge,” Mahon said. We wish him well in his work on behalf of Connecticut citizens.

We didn’t like this week

A map submitted by the York Hill Trap Rock Quarry Co. as part of a state permit application is heightening concerns about the future of Chauncey Peak overlooking Meriden’s Giuffrida Park. Conservationists are hoping to meet with company officials after the map showed an outer limit for the quarry that would encompass considerably more of the ridgeline along the park, land currently used for passive recreation and often considered part of the park itself.

The installation of an electronic billboard has created drainage problems at one of the ball fields at Meriden’s Benjamin Nessing Field on Murdock Avenue. If the outfield and area around home plate are covered in water at field one, it could impact Meriden Amateur Softball League activities.

A 31-year-old woman was quickly caught after trying to rob a downtown Meriden bank Tuesday morning, police said. Priscilla Jones was charged with criminal attempt to commit second-degree larceny, criminal attempt to commit third-degree larceny and breach of peace. She was being held on $50,000 bond. Sgt. Darrin McKay, police spokesman, said police were called about a robbery at Wells Fargo Bank, 43 E. Main Street, about 10:37 a.m. A bank teller told police a woman, identified later as Jones, lunged over the counter, shoved the teller out of the way and tried to take money from a cash drawer. Jones fled the bank when she heard police had been called.



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