I am writing on behalf of the Meriden Historical Society to submit “Britannia Park” for consideration as a new name for the Hub in downtown Meriden. The name has a prestigious ring, and relates strongly to the history of the site and the city. The Hub site was originally developed in 1852 by the Meriden Britannia Company. Britannia is a metal similar to pewter, only thinner and stronger with a more silvery sheen. Cheaper than pewter to manufacture, it quickly caught on in the 1800s as an affordable substitute for silver in household products. The Meriden Britannia Company began coating their products in silver through an electro-plating process that kept them at the forefront of their industry.
By the 1860s, their large factory at the site of the Hub soon employed over 300 workers, making them one of the largest and most prestigious silver companies of the era. The Meriden Britannia Company merged in 1898 with numerous other silver companies to form International Silver Company. Headquartered in the Meriden Britannia Company’s downtown shop, International Silver became the major producer of silver products in the United States and earned Meriden the nickname of “The Silver City.” It is for these reasons that the Meriden Historical Society proposes renaming The Hub as “Britannia Park.” (The writer is Meriden Historical Society Webmistress and Membership Chairperson.)
Diane Tobin, Meriden
Letter-writer Bill Fritz (R-J, 4-11) makes it sound so easy: let’s just take $9 million out of our reserves, give Wallingford’s Board of Education everything they want, and reduce taxes. That’s great, but what do we do for an encore next year, when that money is gone and the BOE wants several millions more? Or the year after that? Where will that money come from? Those new programs will increase the bottom line, going forward.
Fritz claims we only need to keep $15.5 million to maintain our AAA credit rating. Not so. Reducing our reserves by $9 million to the level that he suggests would be such a radical departure from our usual practice that our credit rating would take a hit. Fritz also fails to consider that not all reserve funds are spendable; various amounts must be held for specific purposes, including outstanding purchase orders from the current year.
There are several credit rating agencies, but only one (Moody’s) rates both Wallingford and Cheshire, so let’s compare apples to apples. I have looked up those ratings. Cheshire’s rating is Aa1, which is very good but a step below Wallingford’s AAA. Why? According to Moody’s, partly because Cheshire’s “pension liability is expected to remain underfunded until at least 2020” and “reserve levels are below the median for the rating category.” Another difference: Cheshire’s “above average yet manageable debt position” and Wallingford’s “low debt position.” What, according to Moody’s, could make Wallingford’s rating go down? Answer: “Reduced financial flexibility as evidenced by a reduction of reserves.”
So Fritz should tell us again: why, exactly, do Wallingford’s financial policies need to change?
Patricia J. Kohl, Wallingford
A ‘Shrek’ success
Three generations of our family had the pleasure of attending the performance of Shrek, the musical, presented by Southington’s DePaolo and Kennedy Middle School Drama Clubs this past weekend. We were so impressed by the talent and professionalism of the production. The music was so beautifully orchestrated and the message of Shrek’s story, that we should “celebrate our differences” so appropriate in our society today. Credit must be given to Chris Palmieri, the director, as well as Patricia Altieri and Allison Platt, the music directors, for putting the show together and bringing it to perfection. Many adult volunteers helped out with sets, and during rehearsals and parents spent countless hours transporting their children to rehearsals. But what impressed us the most was the commitment of these young people who gave up hours of their time to make the show the success that it was. It was obvious that they all worked together and enjoyed the experience. The fact that it was held at Southington High School added to the experience with comfortable seating and adequate parking space. As Southington residents, we should be proud of this community effort.
Mark/Dottie Drechsler, Southington
Do you think it’s fair that you get murdered, executed (or whatever word the state of Connecticut wants to call it) for a misdemeanor or felony? Hypothetically speaking, if you get into a domestic dispute with your wife, or at a bar and get into a physical altercation with someone, the police come and you’re emotionally or physically upset and do not follow the police officer’s commands — then you get tased. Now, unbeknownst to anyone, if you have a medical condition or you’re on medication or drugs, you could die from the taser. Is that okay for you, citizens? The state stopped executing “real killers,” but I think that the police can execute you for something as simple as arguing with your wife/husband and being combative towards police.
I can remember many years ago (while working for the state) when we used cap stun, mace, pepper spray or our batons. The demonstration preformed at city hall was a joke. I will volunteer to wear the red suit — then I can go crazy with a paramedic on site and get tased in front of the whole City Council for the public to see — then you can witness what really happens when a taser is used and how the body violently slams to the floor. Also, I would love to see a police demonstration where a taser is deployed on an officer with a highly elevated heart rate to see how safe it is. Do not misinterpret that I’m anti-police, because I’m not; I’m anti-taser. Is a human life so useless that no one cares? Please, I beg the police: If I’m ever “out of control,” please do not tase me. Beat me with the nightstick. At least, this way, I can see my kids grow up.
Chris Dingwell, Meriden
It seems as if too many politicians don’t understand that many of us who have to pay the cost of government and services are on limited incomes. The latest attempt move by the Wallingford PUC to raise water rates is just another example. Because we have been good citizens who care about the environment by reducing water usage, the PUC is punishing us by raising our rates by 6.6 percent, charging us more for less service. But there are some politicians who care about the people. I want to say “thank you” to Commissioner Gessert for showing that, even though he was in the minority, he understands what we, the rate-payers on fixed incomes, are facing, and voting against the increase because it was too much at one time. It’s just too bad that there aren’t more people like Dave Gessert in public office.