Winners and Losers , 5-4-2014

We liked this week

The iconic clock tower is likely to stay atop Meriden City Hall as local officials and others shift their focus toward options for preserving the 107-year-old structure. The renovation of the clock tower is included in this year’s city budget at a cost of $350,000. While most city councilors voiced support for maintaining the clock tower, some had concerns about the steep price. After receiving cost estimates from an on-call architect, City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior said restoring rather than removing the tower makes the most sense. “It would be more expensive to remove the tower and cover the space over than it is to repair it,” Kendzior said. Let’s preserve it!

Veterans of the Vietnam War were honored in Wallingford Sunday during a welcome home celebration at Polish National Alliance Park. The celebration included a car show, live music, food and vendors, but those were just “icing on the cake,” said Mike Ruger, a member of the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day-CT committee that organized the event. Vietnam War veterans “never got the welcome home they deserved,” Ruger said. “This is a celebration for them.”

“Back to the 80s” was the theme of the 76th annual Southington Chamber of Commerce dinner and award ceremony at the Aqua Turf Club last Saturday, which was attended by approximately 400 people. “It was a huge success,” the event’s chair James Garstang said, adding that it was an especially good turnout considering the tough economy. “It just proves that the chamber is a vibrant and appreciated organization in town.”

If Brian Osborne learned one thing from the fire that destroyed his house but spared his children, his girlfriend and the family’s two dogs, it was this: “Life’s too short. There’s no point waiting when everything can be taken away tomorrow,” he said. One of the only items that survived the wind-driven blaze at 15 Chapman Lane in Gales Ferry on April 14 was the engagement ring Osborne planned to give his girlfriend, Megan Hunley, but hadn’t yet. He said he’ll never forget a firefighter finding the ring and holding out his gloved hand with the charred box. The ring was untouched. The couple returned to the burned house last weekend to get married in front of 40 friends and members of the Gales Ferry Volunteer Fire Co.

Land conservationists in Meriden are hoping to keep a trail along Chauncey Peak on Lamentation Mountain open. Recent concerns about a possible expansion of the adjacent quarry owned by the L. Suzio Cos. have spurred interest in preserving the trail and peak.

Meriden police officers in the neighborhood initiative unit are riding easier with new mountain bicycles, the first new bikes in decades. Lt. Steve Lespier, commander of the neighborhood initiative program, said Chief Jeffry Cossette approved the purchase of nine new mountain bikes from the asset forfeiture account. New uniforms for the officers who will be riding them were purchased as well. The plan is to have seven or eight of the officers on the bikes by next week riding through some of the common patrol areas. All of the officers riding the bikes have to be certified.

We didn’t like this week

Staff at Camp Claire, a summer camp in Old Lyme run by the First Congregational Church of Meriden, are facing an expensive cleanup after the camp was vandalized this month. Facilities manager Jeffrey McBride said vandals broke into six or seven cabins, breaking windows and doors and smashing TV screens, on the night of April 16.

A powerful storm system rumbled through the central and southern United States on Sunday, spawning several tornadoes, including one that killed two people in a small northeastern Oklahoma city and another that carved a path of destruction through several northern suburbs of Little Rock, Arkansas.

A 16-year-old girl stabbed at her high school on the day of her junior prom died of wounds to her torso and neck, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner said Sunday. The medical examiner’s office ruled that Maren Sanchez’s death was a homicide. A 16-year-old male classmate is charged with murder as a juvenile in the stabbing at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. The attack occurred last Friday morning, hours before the school’s prom, and authorities are investigating whether Sanchez was stabbed after turning down the boy’s invitation to the dance.



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