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EDITORIAL: 7 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 7 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

We liked this week

The Connecticut Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that attempts to reform police procedures and policies in light of the police-involved killing of George Floyd and other Black people, a wide-ranging proposal opponents argue will punish good officers but proponents contend is necessary to address rogue police while putting a check on police power and addressing injustices experienced by minority communities. The Senate also gave final legislative approval to a bill allowing all voters to cast their ballots in November by absentee, making COVID-19 an acceptable excuse for not voting in person at the polls, and a bill capping the price of insulin. Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign all three bills into law.

Work is underway to beautify the median between North Main Street and the 35 parking spaces along Simpson Court in Wallingford. Grass will be replaced by brick pavers. Around a half dozen planters will also be added. 

Meriden schools received 2,000 responses from families as administrators developed three school reopening plans submitted to the state last Friday. “Over 70 percent of those who responded chose in-person learning,” said School Superintendent Mark Benigni. “We are devising our plans and designing health protocols.” Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday told reporters that he’s leaving it up to local superintendents to decide when and whether to offer in-person classroom time, distance learning, or a mix of the two.

As the pandemic threatens to force schools online again this fall, the state plans to spend $43 million in an effort to provide every student who needs one with a laptop and internet connection. Gov. Ned Lamont hopes that purchasing 50,000 laptops and paying internet bills for 60,000 students for a year will close the state’s so-called digital divide, which prevented thousands of students from participating in remote learning last spring when schools closed.

Equity and inclusion will be the central topics during an upcoming series of online presentations and conversations hosted by the Southington Public Schools’ Coalition for Social Justice. Those interested in joining can register via the school district website at southingtonschools.org. On Aug. 12, the coalition will host a discussion titled “What is Racial Consciousness and Why We Need It.” “Understanding White Privilege and its Presence in Our Community” will be held on Aug. 19. 

In an effort to increase participation on Meriden boards and commissions, the city recently rolled out a new form designed to make it easier for residents to get involved. The electronic “boards and commissions interest form” on the city’s website allows residents to share information about their experience and indicate specific boards they’d like to serve on.

Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order that state union leaders predict will provide hundreds, possibly thousands, of frontline workers “presumptive eligibility” for workers’ compensation benefits if they contracted the coronavirus while on the job during the early days of the pandemic. “Our state owes a debt to all of the health care professionals, grocery store clerks, and other essential workers who served vital roles during the earliest and darkest stages of this public health crisis,” Lamont said in a written statement.

We didn’t like this week

Meriden officials have grown frustrated and concerned over a developer’s lack of progress toward transforming the blighted former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital into a mixed-use commercial and residential development, saying the developer, One King LLC, has not made enough progress in securing the necessary $30 million in private financing for the key redevelopment project.

Coronavirus cases among teens and young adults are rising in Connecticut. The Hartford Courant reports nearly 40% of people diagnosed with coronavirus from July 5 to 18 were under the age of 30. Youths in the 10-to-19-year-old range accounted for more than 12% of the cases reported from July 5 to 18. “Kids are socializing because that’s what kids do, but they need to realize that they’re not immune to COVID either,” said Lynn Sosa, a deputy state epidemiologist.

While testing for COVID-19 has ramped up since early March — when the first positive case of the disease was reported in Connecticut — those who have taken the nasal swabs to find out if they have the coronavirus can still encounter long wait times for results. Local health officials such as Maura Esposito, director of the Chesprocott Health District, say such lags hamper their ability to contain the virus through contact tracing.

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