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

We liked this week

Demolition of empty buildings on Meriden-owned property, the former Castle Bank at 100 Hanover St. and a former power house at 104 Butler St., is part of ongoing efforts to reduce flooding along Harbor Brook. The total cost is $699,900, the Record-Journal reported. Remediation was required for both, and has been completed. Following demolition, both properties will become open space.

It took some time, but Wallingford is set to seek bids for security cameras at Doolittle Park, which was the site of a fire that destroyed a playscape in October. The cost to replace the playscape is estimated at $65,000, reported the Record-Journal. Choate Rosemary Hall has also donated $20,000 for park improvements. “I think the installation of cameras is an unfortunate necessity at this point to keep members of our community safe,” said Town Councilor Sam Carmody. “I wish we could preserve people’s privacy by not having the area monitored in this manner, but there have just been too many dangerous and negative activities that have occurred at the park. I hope the cameras will help deter such activities in the future.”

Wallingford Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. submitted a list of recommendations for spending federal money from the American Recovery Plan Act on municipal projects, which will make up half of the $13.5 million the town has to allocate. A committee is working on the other half, which covers nonprofits and small businesses.  Dickinson’s list adds up to about $31 million, far more than the available funds. "Ultimately, depending on how much money is available, we will have to decide what money is appropriated for what projects,” he said. “That will involve discussions between this office and the council, and where there's support, they'll be approved." The ARPA Selection Committee has begun reviewing applications, and has made two recommendations to the Town Council and the mayor.

A Record-Journal story outlined ways in which school districts are working to support both teachers and students when it comes to making mental health a priority. In Cheshire, for example, mindfulness practice and therapy dog visits are part of activities at the high school. Another program, used in Southington as well as Cheshire schools, is called RULER, for recognizing, understanding, labeling expressing and regulating emotions. “It’s all about having kids at all age levels being able to recognize their emotions, to understand what that emotion means, to label it,” said Marlene Silano, Cheshire assistant superintendent.

Lake Compounce is looking to hire more than 1,000 new employees for this year’s summer season. Plans are for the park to open for its 177th season on April 29. Job openings include ride operations, lifeguards, concessions and security. The park is looking to hire those as young as 16, and wages range from $16 to $18 an hour.

We didn’t like this week

The Connecticut Mirror reported that chronic absenteeism remains at critical levels in the state, having doubled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, from 12.2% in 2019-20. That means 125,000 of the state’s total 496,000 students aren’t showing up regularly for school. Chronic absenteeism is missing 10% of classroom teaching time, or 18 days out of an 180-day school calendar.


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