EDITORIAL: 13 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 13 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

We liked this week

Westfield Meriden began the process of reopening with one-third of its stores sliding open their doors Wednesday morning. Indoor shopping at Westfield and other malls halted in mid-March when Gov. Ned Lamont ordered them closed to slow the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. Boscov's, the mall's largest tenant, reopened Thursday.

All restaurants in the state were forced to close for in-person dining in mid-March. On Wednesday, restaurants were allowed to open outdoor seating to the public, provided they follow specific guidelines as part of Gov. Ned Lamont’s four-phase plan.

The Meriden school district recently learned it is eligible to receive up to $2.38 million in funding from the federal CARES Act to pay for pandemic-related costs next school year. Superintendent of Schools Mark Benigni said in an email the money will “support increased costs in operating models, health and safety measures, and programmatic changes.” 

Southington town leaders designated a portion of Center Street for pedestrians only, at the request of restaurants in the area. Most of the street will still be open to cars. Police will put up barricades blocking off Center Street between Liberty and High streets.

In place of the annual parade, the Veterans Memorial Committee plans to televise a memorial service on the Wallingford Government Television channel at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Memorial Day. Additional times are to be added for broadcast May 26 to 31. The program will be available on the WGTV YouTube channel.

With extra time on her hands, 17-year-old Stephanie Wills of Southington decided to help bring the outdoors to those shut in through painting. She completed more than 20 paintings and delivered them to Mulberry Gardens. The facility offers assisted living and memory care. “I wanted to do something to help the people who can’t see their family members and who can’t go outside as much,” she said. “Bring the outside to them.”

The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to lift a moratorium on voluntary workouts by football and basketball players effective June 1 as a growing number of college leaders expressed confidence that fall sports will be possible in some form despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Individual workouts by athletes will be subject to safety and health protocols.

With food pantry traffic up 60 to 80 percent in recent weeks, the Meriden Lions Club has stepped in to help local food agencies restock their shelves. The Lions recently donated $5,000 each to five local food pantries to help them purchase more food to help the hundreds of residents who are enduring food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, Meriden officials joined Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz to recognize and thank local first responders as part of National EMS Week in the parking lot of the Hunter’s Ambulance facility on West Main Street. Over a dozen EMS personnel from Hunter’s attended the half-hour ceremony.

The Meriden City Council voted 11 to 1 Monday night to adopt a $198.2 million 2020-21 budget that will keep the tax rate flat at 40.86 mills. 

Music teachers at Rock House School of Music in Wallingford performed a free concert downtown last Saturday, drawing dozens of spectators who sat socially distanced in lawn chairs, on the grass, even on top of parked cars. The concert was the latest in a series of Saturday shows by the school’s instructors.

Owners of the former Ideal Forging site in downtown Southington are hopeful about an upcoming auction for the 14-acre property. Meridian Development Partners has owned the factory site since 2005. The company tore down the buildings and cleaned up much of the land but didn’t develop the residential and commercial space approved for the site. HilCo Real Estate is overseeing the auction. Bids are due June 18 and on-site inspections will start later this month.

Wallingford native Peter Gouveia, who lives in Norwalk, is one of 15 teachers nationwide who participated in the latest “Jeopardy!” Teachers Tournament, which begins airing next week. Gouveia taped his appearance on “Jeopardy!” in California in early February.

We didn’t like this week

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the dissolution Tuesday of Connecticut’s education partnership with hedge fund giant Ray Dalio’s philanthropic group — a deal marred by transparency issues — less than one year after its creation. The final straw appears to be centered on Dalio officials’ efforts to remove the partnership’s executive director. “I think there was a sense from the Dalios there were some people who really wanted to undermine the mission,” Lamont said.

After 35 years, it has taken a global pandemic to cancel The Wallingford Invitational Soccer Tournament for 2020. The advance work required to stage the three-day August event required a decision to be made now, the co-directors said.

The Southington Drive-In movie theater will not reopen for its regular season, according to an announcement Monday afternoon, another casualty of the pandemic. The outdoor theater on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike normally opens for the summer through the fall.

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