EDITORIAL: 12 things we liked this week, 1 we didn’t

We liked this week

Nearly 20 years after it was vacated, environmental cleanup has begun at the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital to allow it to be made over into a senior living complex. Workers are remediating the 5.6-acre site, which was found to be contaminated with PCBs, metal, inorganic contaminants and petroleum, according to an environmental study. 

The 14th annual Southington Italian-American Festival was held last weekend. The event “continues the traditions of Italy that the older generations remember from their childhoods. We hope it rubs off on a younger generation,” said Antonio Cusano, president of the local chapter of the Sons of Italy and co-chairman of the festival.

Two religious cult members, Rudy Hannon, 72, and Sorek Minery, 42, were charged this week with murder and felony murder in the July 2004 killing of Southington resident Paul Sweetman, who was described as “the chief apostle” in the Meriden-based religious cult “The Work,” once led by Brother Julius, a.k.a. Julius Schacknow. Sweetman’s killers allegedly dismembered the body before burying his remains in separate locations in New Britain. The arrests may bring some closure to Sweetman’s survivors.

Town and police officials in Cheshire held a public forum on break-ins Wednesday night, providing tips on prevention and discussing the lack of crime patterns. Groups of youths looking for unlocked cars in neighborhoods are responsible for the recent spike in car burglaries and stolen vehicles, according to police.

A 20-ton steel Archimedes’ screw installed at Hanover Pond in Meriden to generate hydroelectric power is working again after a mechanical malfunction in February put it out of commission. The hydroelectric generating screw is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Southington  received more than $100,000 from its insurance company for reducing risk. Southington is a member of CIRMA, the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, which is a member-owned insurance company for municipalities and public agencies. Town Manager Mark Sciota said the check received this year is a greater refund than usual.

Dividers filled with stone pavers are taking shape in the middle of Pratt Street as the city continues work to create a boulevard leading downtown. The boulevard will take motorists from Exit 8 off Interstate 691 and along Platt Street. It is intended to act as a gateway, running by the Meriden Green and into the heart of downtown Meriden.

Eighteen men and six women officially graduated from Middlesex Community College, which partnered with the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education two years ago. “Most of us will someday return to our community,” said graduate Roberto Alvarado. “We’re just so grateful someone is giving us an opportunity to make another life for ourselves.” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy served as commencement speaker at the unusual ceremony held behind prison walls at Cheshire Correctional Institution. A similar ceremony for the women took place last week at the York Correctional Institution.

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks will receive $13.2 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to make improvements to two of the airport ’s taxiways, the FAA announced Tuesday. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the grants are “investments in the country’s critical infrastructure.”

Connecticut consumers are more optimistic about the state’s economy — and where it is headed — than they have been since early 2016, according to an online survey by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center. A survey of 505 residents in late June found that 77 percent of respondents believe business conditions here are better than or the same as they were six months ago.

Wallingford’s Chelsea Fitzgerald continued the tradition of collecting book donations and holding a bake sale at her home last weekend. Fitzgerald, 13, has been holding the drive since she was 7 years old. “We’ve gotten a lot more books over the years and our bake sale has grown tremendously,” she said. Proceeds of the bake sale are used to buy books for Read to Grow, a national organization that promotes building literacy from birth.

A cloudburst came and went at the Taste of Southington Thursday evening but didn’t keep area residents from enjoying food from the town’s numerous restaurants or touring the Barnes Museum on North Main Street. The event on the museum grounds featured 11 restaurant booths, a DJ, a raffle and other attractions. Last year’s event was almost totally rained out.

We didn’t like this week

City officials are urging residents to take precaution after announcing Tuesday that mosquitoes recently found in Meriden were infected with the West Nile Virus. Residents can reduce the risk of being bitten by minimizing time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, Health and Human Services Director Lea Crown said in a statement. “I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside,” Crown said.


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