EDITORIAL: 2 things we liked this week, 5 we didn’t

We liked this week

An approval by the state Bond Commission brings $61 million to roadway projects benefiting Meriden, including road paving downtown. The funding is also for the first phase of a major project to improve the interchange of Interstates 91 and 691 and Route 15.  Construction is expected to start in the fall and be completed by spring 2025.

With the onset of a new year came new laws in Connecticut, one of which gives 12 weeks of paid time off as part of a family and medical leave program. As the Associated Press reported, the new law allows workers pay while they’re taking time off for their own health, a newborn or an ill family member. The program is paid for by a 0.5% tax on employee wages.

We didn’t like this week

The state’s COVID positivity rate reached 21.5% Monday and grew higher, spurred by omicron, the highly contagious variant. Dr. Syed Hussain, chief clinical officer at Trinity Health, told the Connecticut Mirror it was the worst spike in cases during the pandemic. The surge in COVID cases had several school districts delaying the return of school after the holiday break and caused postponements and other changes to school sports.

State officials had to back off a promise of millions of home COVID-19 test kits, in demand as the omicron variant surged, after they said availability was misrepresented by a broker. The setback forced many municipalities to cancel plans for distributing the kits. A day later, Connecticut received more than 426,000 rapid tests. Gov. Ned Lamont promised more to come.

Delays in signing a lease altered plans by the Meriden Public Library to close the main library building on Miller Street and set up space at the lower level of the Meriden Mall. The move is an effort to keep services while the main building undergoes a $13 million renovation and expansion. A partial shutdown of up to three weeks is expected as services move to the former New York & Co. store spot at the mall, as well as other storage spaces. The plan is to open the library at the mall by Feb. 1, though that could change.

After Sacred Heart Academy beat Lyman Hall 92-4 in a girls basketball game on Monday night, Sacred Heart Academy’s president, Sister Sheila O’Neill, issued a statement saying the administration and athletic department were “deeply remorseful for the manner through (which) the outcome of the game was achieved.” Sacred Heart had led 56-0 at the half and 80-0 after three quarters.

The University of Connecticut will require that fans attending home athletic games show proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours prior to game time. The new requirements, which go into effect Jan. 15, are a response to the surge of COVID-19 cases.


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