I am not one to cry over spilt paint. However, I know there is more important news to be placed on the front page than one about paint ball (R-J, 2-27). I think a more appropriate location is in the “Local News.” Please, let us not dumb down our Record-Journal.
This year in Connecticut it is estimated that 22,070 people will be diagnosed with cancer. For them, the cuts to cancer research that took place as a result of the sequester last year hit close to home. Because of these cuts, 1,000 fewer people were able to enroll in potentially lifesaving clinical trials last past year and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research center, lost more than $1.5 billion, a reality felt by cancer research labs across the country.
I’m asking Congress to do what’s right for cancer patients and their families by supporting an increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute at NIH.
There are nearly 14 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today because of past cancer research breakthroughs. But resting on past progress is a dangerous proposition. Leaving these cuts to federal research in place could cost us the progress made in the fight against cancer.
I urge members of Congress to consider what’s at stake for families impacted by cancer that might be counting on the next big breakthrough in treatment or relying on federally funded local programs for cancer screenings. Let’s give a little hope to the millions of patients and their families impacted by this disease and not continue to jeopardize progress in the fight against cancer. (The writer is a volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.)
Betty Berger, Meriden
Why is it that when 89 percent of the people on Meriden’s Hourigan Drive are against the proposed sewer it is still looming ominously over our heads? This plan should have been dead in the water at the first engineering department meeting, when 89 percent of homeowners voiced our opposition because of the personal hardships it will cause to all people living on Hourigan.
The town engineer stated that water and sewer problems can be solved without involving everyone on Hourigan. I believe that there is one household that is putting their personal interests above all else. It’s my opinion that the City of Meriden wants this to go through, after what I consider to be mistakes made with the Westfort Drive project that may have caused water problems. (It is my understanding that the city did not provide a swale to channel water away from some homes on Hourigan.) I do not think that the city should force the Hourigan sewer job to go through and make the people of Hourigan pay the entire tab. (The assessments are outrageous and may prove to be higher than proposed.)
We have widows, retirees, single parents, families with children in college, people who have upgraded their systems who are already paying loans and would be unable to take on new 15-year loans. This would also sabotage the retirements of people nearing retirement age. I hope that the mayor and councilors will listen to the 89 percent majority and stop the funding for the proposed sewer on Hourigan.
Gordon R. Gottlieb, Meriden
On February 25, one TV channel’s evening news had a segment about half-way houses and the early release programs. I was totally taken aback when I heard this. The politicians who voted for this are putting the citizens in harm’s way. Some of the early-releasers just walk away from the half-way houses and become nowhere to be found — and the authorities very seldom go looking for them. Some reappear and go after their victim, or the same one they hurt before prison time, for revenge.
The politicians that voted for this program should be held accountable, and maybe house them at their residences for safe keeping. Then the shoe may be on the other foot. Our governor cut programs for the disabled, such as group homes and independent homes, but votes on an early release program. What a flip side — not to mention the gun laws that are treating our law-abiding citizens like felons. Good job, politicians.
Then you have another set of rules — one for law enforcement officers and one for politicians. In this state, the good guys finish last and the law-abiding folks get the shaft. I remember at the end of June 2012, in Meriden, that Ibrahim Ghazal got murdered by an early release (Frankie Resto) when his store got robbed. He was shot point blank after he gave him all the money he had. Why did this innocent man have to die? If Resto wasn’t out on early release program that gentleman would still be alive today. Our politicians have turned into puppets. Remember this next time you vote for anyone. There is one more thing: All of our well-paying jobs are moving out of Connecticut and going to other states. Can you tell me why that is happening?
Benjamin Belancik Sr., Meriden
Front page (R-J, 2-24) — a photo of an educated (Choate and Harvard) US hockey player dragging the American flag along the ground. Also, I believe that our flag should be held up and in front of the person. This is a disgrace!
Cynthia Ayers, Southington
Wants vs. needs
After reading Karen Ostby’s response (R-J, 2-20) to my recent letter, it’s obvious we have a difference of opinion as to the appropriateness of Gov. Malloy’s attempt to “make nice” with one of the state’s most politically influential special interest groups by providing tax breaks to its members shortly after instituting the largest tax increase in state history (and in view of the state’s precarious finances).
As these individuals are exempt from Social Security taxes, and therefore receive no SS benefits (they have their own retirement program) Malloy and Ostby somehow believe they are treated unfairly and deserve special tax consideration.
While Ostby states she has 3 degrees and was employed as a teacher for 35 years (irrelevant, as neither is justification for special consideration), she should be mindful that many private sector employees have multiple degrees and demanding jobs. These individuals are taxed at approximately the same percentage of their salaries for SS as Ostby paid toward her pension, and the overwhelming majority of them are employed by companies that do not provide pensions resulting in their retirement security dependent upon SS and personal savings. Unlike those in Ostby’s profession who are able to retire in their late 50’s at 70 percent of their 3 highest years average earnings, they are required to work until age 66 and receive SS benefits which at best are 30 percent of their income taxed for SS.
Given that disparity, one would be hard pressed to find a meaningful number of individuals who would rather remain in SS than opt for Ostby’s deal. I would rather see Malloy more concerned with retirement security of those who have the least than those with political influence who have the most. We should be less concerned with individual wants and more concerned with our neighbors’ needs.
Jim Seichter, Wallingford
Rings and wins
Regarding the syndicated news story (Cox Newspapers) by Dave George on the subject of Cassius Clay (see R-J, 2-23):
Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston. The story stated that “it would be silly for anyone to pretend now that they felt something historic coming on Feb. 25, 1964, the night Clay climbed into the ring at Miami Beach Convention Center with Sonny Liston, a crusher of men and of promotional pretense.” Well, I was a young kid back then and followed all Clay’s pro fights up to Liston. I read “Ring” magazine always. I bet three of my friends $5 each that Clay would win. I said, then: “He’s too fast, has a great jab, and he’s just as big as Liston.” I appreciated this news story, and I’m glad that I picked Clay 50 years ago.
Richard Casale, Southington
All Meriden City Councilors that I have asked for help in correcting the water problem on Hourigan Drive have replied to me except Councilor Battista. She supposedly represents Area 4, which includes Diamond Hill and Hourigan. I sent her a letter in August explaining the problem. Six months have passed since I asked my representative for help.
The City of Meriden installed three catch basins in the back yard of 39 Hourigan to carry water to the street drain. Two other neighbors were told they could not funnel water into the street. In my opinion, this is selective enforcement, which is patently wrong.
Health Department officials have inspected repairs to septic systems using existing D. Boxes and replacing tanks. Directors of health have issued approval papers for repairs completed. I checked that out in the records at the Health Department recently. The soil description mentioned in the repairs at 71 Hourigan is dark yellow/brown sand and gravel. This mixture replaces the poor percolation soil existing on Hourigan. I believe that 39 Hourigan should make similar repairs, rather than asking the 90 percent of us who have no problems with our systems to pay for sewers.
My understanding is that 8 Westfort Drive granted an easement to Meriden to alleviate a water condition pertaining to present problems on other properties in 1999. I believe that the city has done nothing to help the owner of 25 Hourigan, even though he has requested Mr. Bass for help, and received what I consider to be a caustic answer instead. Does the city only help 39? If so, I wonder why?
Thomas Fitzgibbons, Meriden
Mayor Manny Santos’ pre-election statement: “Let your voice be heard by expanding public comment at City Council meetings” has been accomplished. The Meriden City Council voted “yes.” Come on down to speak into the microphone.
Meriden City Council voted to purchase the Record-Journal building at 11 Crown Street. I do not know what the contract is or what the city will do with it. Santos objected to the purchase. I disapprove of spending taxpayers’ money for yet another piece of property or building. City Manager Larry Kendzior said that it is not city money. So where does the money come from — Wallingford or Stamford? Meriden owns too many buildings in disrepair or ready for destruction. Why? Fast forward: The Meriden Board of Education has an eight-year contract for space in our former WW II Hospital Building for $40,000 a year. The 20-year lease for the former WWII Memorial Hospital building is $1 — one dollar a year for 20 years.