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Readers’ Opinions, 04-29-2014

Goodbye, Penney’s


The year was 1972, and a young bride was settling into her new home far away from New York City. Her new job was the new Meriden Square mall, working at J.C. Penney. She was sad because she was far away from her family and had no friends; but that would quickly change, and that young woman who walked through the mall knowing no one would made so many new friends that she would feel like a celebrity. On Friday, April 12, 42 years later, she gathered with over 50 old J.C. Penney friends to say goodbye and tell them what their friendship meant.

Those memories will be held close to my heart. We cried together; laughed together and worked hard to help all the customers that walked through the doors of J.C. Penney. To all the customers I helped select that perfect jewelry gift to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, engagement, or just for a gift, thank you for allowing me to share in that special time in your life. When the doors close on Saturday, May 3, many people will be sad, but let’s be grateful for what we shared the past 42 years because no one can take our wonderful memories away from us. Remember the words of James Cash Penney: “Treat our customers the way you want to be treated, and they will continue to shop with us” (and we did). Thank you all for the memories.

Emily Blumenreder, Southington



I am outraged that Israel Gonzalez, who is not an American citizen but an illegal alien, and who “snuck” into this country, has received a slap on the wrist for killing two young children. It seems to me that he had no license, no insurance, no registration, no legal status, and yet Gonzalez goes free after 12-1/2 years. That is no compensation for two kids’ lives. Big deal. I say he snuck in and he’ll sneak out, too, while on probation. The judge and prosecutor have allowed a miscarriage of justice. I agree with the families of the victims. Justice has not been served. I say that the sentence for the children who were murdered must be 50 years to life, without parole.

John Altieri, New Britain

Magical music


The sound of music by the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra filled Wallingford Friday, April 25, starting with the 35th annual WSO Uria and Johanna Manfreda Fishbein 2014 WSO children’s concerts at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in the Paul Mellon Arts Center main theater, and ending with the regular WSO concert performance 7:30 p.m.

For the children’s concerts program, as is his tradition, Maestro Philip Ventre did his magic, relating the music of the masters to the youth of 2014. Choate campus safety did their usual amazing coordination of the bus traffic (total 22 buses, making round-trips for the two performances) on arrival/departure at Choate. Wallingford Women’s Club members, WSO board members and friends and relatives successfully seated over 1,000 Wallingford 5th- and 6th-graders and 3rd- and 4th-grade Holy Trinity students and faculty members. Very important to the program’s success, students and teachers deserve compliments on their best behavior, as well as a receptive audience throughout the morning.

This 35-year program is a school system wide involvement and it goes amazingly, well considering the amount of coordination, starting with Mary Ann Croce, transportation department, and the classroom teachers. This children’s program happens because of the support of major funders: Fishbein Family Foundation, a local bank, Napier Foundation, Wallingford Foundation of the Rotary. Sincere thanks to all. (The writer is WSO Children’s Concert chair.)

Elizabeth Mitchell, Wallingford

Roll the dice?


Wallingford Town Council’s decision to allow the mayor to pursue a state grant for improvements to the parking lot behind Simpson Court was a very responsible and thoughtful decision. While some individuals question using public funds to improve private property, it is common practice for public entities to lease private property and make leasehold improvements to that property when entering into a long-term lease, as would be the case with this lot. Unlike the proposal that was defeated in a referendum, state funds (our tax dollars paid to the state) would provide funding for the improvements while the private property owners would be required to make financial contributions. While other parking lots in town also need improvement, this lot by far is the most visible and most used lot and has the fewest number of private property owners to negotiate with. One property owner has exercised his rights and closed off access through the entire lot; the improvements would resolve that issue and provide an attractive addition to uptown. It would address the drainage issues that have compromised the integrity of the parking lot’s retaining wall. The ongoing dispute as to who built the wall and/or is/was responsible for its deteriorating condition would become irrelevant. However, if the wall fails and someone is injured, lawsuits and finger pointing would result; the only winners in that potential circus would be the lawyers.

Should the town receive approval for the grant and a referendum pursued, the community would have to decide whether: 1.) It would prefer to have the state provide grant monies to other communities rather than to Wallingford, 2.) the present condition of the parking lot is acceptable and is an attractive component of Wallingford’s uptown and 3.) it is willing to roll the dice on a potential lawsuit.

Jim Seichter, Wallingford

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