We liked this week
Start celebrating early during the annual YuleFest in Meriden. The event, usually held in mid-December, will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving, on Saturday, Nov. 25. It will feature an indoor vendor hall, holiday music, the local YMCA youth theater troupe and a raffle with items like a 50-inch TV and a recliner. The timing of the event was switched to Small Business Saturday, and organizers deserve praise for the move.
It is official. Democrat Michael Cardona was elected Meriden city clerk by a narrow margin after a recount earlier this week. Cardona, a sitting city councilor and deputy mayor, promised that the city clerk website would be translatable to any language. Denise Grandy, who has served in the post since 2015, said she is “looking forward to retirement.”
Southington’s new Town Council chairman, Republican Paul Chaplinsky, started out with some conciliatory remarks toward the opposition party. During Tuesday night’s council meeting, the new chair said his goal was to “maybe lower the temperature on this board and all the boards ... We can do that. We have a great group of people here.” After all the pre-election rancor, restoring civility is a worthwhile goal in Southington. Maybe Chaplinsky, who was elected as chairman unanimously, can do it.
Five schools in Meriden were recently recognized by Connecticut as schools of distinction. Casimir Pulaski, Benjamin Franklin, Israel Putnam, John Barry and Nathan Hale elementary schools received the honors. “I think these five schools should be celebrating, and it’s a great credit to everyone who works in that building, but also our students,” said School Superintendent Mark Benigni.
The Meriden YMCA should be applauded for its continuing efforts to help Spanish-speaking families. Recently, the YMCA started developing bilingual child care enrollment materials with the help of Raquel Diaz, child care director of Meriden YMCA Early Learning Center and Hanover Little Hounds Preschool. The YMCA has eight different locations for child care, and with at least two bilingual teachers present. “We were getting a lot of families who were coming from Guatemala and Ecuador and we wanted to be more accessible and welcoming…” Diaz said.
Extended bus service on nights and weekends in Meriden will help residents in many ways, including getting to work and holiday shopping. The state Department of Transportation and CTtransit launched the new service recently. The state budget allocated an additional $9.1 million in 2024 and $9.4 million in 2025 to extend bus service. Meriden received an additional $1.6 million this year.
Vehicle theft and break-ins have been frequently in the headlines. To combat the problem, police are using new technology. A camera system that can flag stolen vehicles was used last week during an arrest in Southington. Police installed the automatic license plate reader cameras last year throughout town. Once a stolen car is observed by the camera, officers are dispatched. In the recent arrest, two Waterbury men were charged with possession of fentanyl, cocaine and illegal handguns, according to a Record-Journal report.We didn’t like this week
The Meriden City Council has to select an interim city manager and begin its search for a permanent replacement for Tim Coon, who resigned last week. Police Chief Roberto Rosado was named acting city manager and the council is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the interim position. Asking anyone to be police chief and city manager for months seems daunting. The city could perhaps consider another department head or someone outside the city to fill the interim post, perhaps a retired manager.
Some neighbors in Wallingford are concerned about a plan to convert a shuttered nursing home into 71 apartments. The first application drew considerable opposition earlier this year. A revised application was before the Planning and Zoning Commission this week. Any time a large apartment complex is proposed for a residential neighborhood, many residents are uncomfortable. The town must make sure zoning rules are applied fairly, regardless of neighborhood opposition.