EDITORIAL: 9 things we liked this week, 2 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 9 things we liked this week, 2 we didn’t

We liked this week

The inmate population at the Cheshire Correctional Institution has dropped below 1,000, part of a statewide decline in the number of incarcerated individuals. This is attributed to factors including an effort by the Department of Correction to expedite discretionary releases, a considerable drop in the number of arrests made during the coronavirus pandemic, and an expansion in mental health, substance abuse treatment and other diversion programs which provide alternatives to incarceration.

More than 100 additional pharmacies throughout Connecticut will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines in coming days, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday. The list of additional pharmacies includes chains, such as Rite Aid and CVS locations, grocery stores, such as Big Y and Price Chopper, as well as many local pharmacies.

Connecticut on Wednesday received its first credit rating upgrade in two decades. Moody’s Investor Services upgraded the state’s general obligation bond rating one notch, from A1 to Aa3, citing the state’s “significant budgetary reserves and good financial performance through the pandemic.”

With the state opening COVID-19 vaccine eligibility Thursday to anyone over age 16, those with some pre-existing conditions will be given priority vaccination status through their providers. Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday that the chief medical officers of the major hospitals had identified cancer, sickle cell anemia, end-stage renal failure and solid-organ transplant as pre-existing conditions eligible for priority status. 

Meriden officials will apply for state brownfield grants to help fund ongoing efforts to transform the former industrial sites and medical office buildings on Cooper Street and Cook Avenue. Officials are hoping to tap into a $9.5 million pool of state Department of Economic and Community Development funding available through that department’s Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development.

About 100 people, including the mayor and a U.S. senator, attended a rally at Wallingford Town Hall last Saturday in response to the fatal shootings of six Asian women and two others in Atlanta-area spas earlier this month. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., Sen. Richard Blumenthal and state Attorney General William Tong, who were in attendance, condemned racism and discrimination and praised the teens who organized the event for bringing awareness to the issue.

Wallingford police, firefighters and other emergency responders are working with Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center to better understand autistic residents. The training consists of a two-hour online presentation that police and firefighters received last month, said Aimee Turner, the school system’s director of special education.

Connecticut added 3,000 jobs in February, on top of a 1,000-job gain in January, according to reports released by the state Department of Labor. The state has now recovered 170,500 nonfarm jobs or 58.4 percent of the 292,400 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the department reported.

A major drop in health insurance claims from town and Board of Education employees has meant savings for Southington. Since the start of the pandemic, employees on the town’s self insurance program have gone to a doctor less frequently. Town officials expected claims to rise as pandemic restrictions ease, but said this week that the trend of fewer doctor’s visits has continued.

We didn’t like this week

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a closed-door discussion among city leaders in January 2016 regarding the process of selecting the next city manager did not constitute a public meeting and therefore did not violate open meeting laws. The court’s unanimous decision addresses Meriden City Council leaders’ practice of privately discussing city business before it reaches the City Council as a whole, where it may be passed without discussion. The Record-Journal filed the original complaint to the state Freedom of Information Commission.

Unapproved mountain bike trails are again sprouting at Tyler Mill Preserve and the Wallingford Conservation Commission chairwoman hinted this week that the commission might seek a mountain bike ban at the town-owned land if the trail-cutting continues.

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