Winners and Losers, 6-14-2014

We liked this week

Work has started on a Research Parkway building in Wallingford that will be the new home of a statewide food bank that supplies more than 650 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the future headquarters of the Connecticut Food Bank. Construction crews cleared the 10-acre site at 2 Research Parkway in preparation for an 82,000-square-foot building expected to open next year. The $15.7-million project received $2.5 million in state funds.

Nearly 200 colorful and unique classic cars decorated the lot of Robert’s Chrysler Dodge in Meriden Sunday for the dealership’s sixth annual car show, attracting over 1,500 spectators. The show was hosted by the Mopars in Motion car club, kicking off its season of shows and reuniting car aficionados from near and far.

For the first time since 1999, American employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for four straight months, offering more evidence that the U.S. economy is steadily growing while much of Europe and Asia struggle.

The Rev. Josef Herz, chaplain at Connecticut Valley Hospital, blessed graves during the annual ceremony to remember former mental patients at the hospital who are buried in its cemetery in Middletown.

Members of the Friends of Falcon Field LLC in Meriden are working with the city to clarify the group’s tax status and maintenance responsibilities, but there is some disagreement over the direction of the group. Friends of Falcon Field President Jason Nelson has met with city Corporation Counsel Michael Quinn about potential tax liability on fees collected for leasing the field. He also hopes to better define the roles of Friends of Falcon and the city in operating and maintaining the field, including janitorial work.

Pope Francis plunged head-first into Mideast peace-making Sunday, welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for a remarkable evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations collapsed.

About 300 veterans and others in the community gathered Sunday at American Legion Post 45 on Meriden’s Hanover Road to participate in the post’s annual flag-retirement ceremony, many being moved to tears as the flags were set ablaze. More than 4,000 flags were burned as a part of the official Watchfire event. The meaning of Watchfire, according to Tony Gianakos, the commander of Post 45, is that it’s a symbolic calling home of fallen soldiers. As each flag goes up in flames, the smoke calls home a dead or missing soldier.

Businesses are being asked to remove graffiti within two days as part of Southington’s ongoing anti-vandalism effort. The Town Council approved the graffiti policy unanimously on the understanding it could be modified by councilors before becoming an ordinance. The policy doesn’t carry the force of law, said Town Manager Garry Brumback, and might solve the problem without the need for an ordinance. Town employees will remove existing graffiti from buildings in downtown Southington and Plantsville on June 21. After that, it’s up to the business owners to clean graffiti.

We didn’t like this week

After seven years, the Southington Dog Park Association disbanded after members decided not to buy individual liability insurance. Members Bob Hickman and Jim Gura, the chairman of the association, said there is no animosity toward the town, but members did not want to have to pay for insurance or risk being sued without it.

As sewer bills begin to arrive, some Southington residents are, quite understandably, thinking about how to lower bills and prepare for a new billing system in July that increases rates for most homeowners. A new billing system was approved earlier this year to address revenue shortfalls at the wastewater treatment plant. Of the 9,665 sewer rate payers, about 1,200 will have their bill decrease while about 8,400 will pay an average of $100 more.

OSHA recently cited a Middletown carpet company on six violations following an investigation into the carbon monoxide poisoning death of a Meriden man in March. Custom Carpet, owned by Albert Hamrah, was cited and fined on May 21, according to information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.



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