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Editorial: 8 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t 

We liked this week 

An enrollment study predicts the number of students in Meriden schools will remain stable over the next decade, meaning the city will not likely need new schools in that time. The study by SLAM consultants also found that the district can expect some increases in middle and high school students in the next five years, before decreasing in the final five years. Census data used in the report was taken from April 2020.

The Southington Apple Harvest Festival begins Friday and continues the following weekend, Oct. 6-8. The festival parade is scheduled for Oct. 1.  Local bands to perform this year include Night Shift, Audacity, Leppard (The Def Leppard Experience), Kyle Niles Band, Soul Sound Revue, Relic, Lexi Max and High Noon, a Lynyrd Skynyrd and Southern Rock tribute band.

An electric aircraft company is proposing an electric air taxi at Meriden Markham Airport. The plan by eVertiports calls for a helipad-like structure at the airport which would service small four-to-six-seat electric planes. The aircraft, which is still being reviewed by the FAA, is being marketed as emission-free with the capability to take off and land vertically. While local and state officials are encouraged, the deal is in its preliminary stage and likely won’t see significant development for the next couple of years. 

The owner of Craft Kitchen in Plantsville is looking to open a restaurant and bar in the former Sherman’s Taphouse location in downtown Southington. Mike Truss, founder of Craft Kitchen, presented plans to the Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this month. During the meeting, Truss submitted a sketch for the proposed restaurant, which was similar to the Sherman’s Taphouse layout. The menu will include small plates, tapas, some entrees and desserts.

Colonial Flooring America recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a networking event at its Wallingford showroom. Current owner Peter Escobar purchased the business from Martha and Jose Mendoza in 2002. During the event, Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, and state Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, read official citations from the General Assembly. Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson Jr. read a proclamation thanking Escobar for his business and his community involvement.

Southington residents are largely pleased with law enforcement, but have concerns about auto crimes and personal safety, according to a recent survey put out by the local police department. Ninety-seven percent of those who reported a recent police interaction said they were treated with professionalism and respect. About 1,000 people participated. Survey respondents were mostly white, at 89 percent, and largely female, at around 70 percent.

A roughly $2 million upgrade to the North End Little League complex in Meriden is expected to be completed next month. The work includes two artificial turf fields — a baseball diamond and softball field — and a basketball court. That facility is used by the Jack Barry and Ed Walsh leagues, which combined to form Meriden Little League, and city schools. The project is being funded through $1.8 million of the school district’s ARPA funds, along with another $400,000 from the city. Other work includes an open-air dugout, revamped parking area and restored restrooms and storage building.

A plan  to transform the historic former train station in Wallingford into a markettype destination with a food court, a “tasting bar” and an area for the arts won raves from the Town Council this week. It also led to questions about how the project got this far in the planning phase without the council’s input. The town has been working with a developer on a concept for the former railroad station. Before anything is approved, what would happen to the town’s adult education program would need to be determined. The program uses space in the train station for its classes. 

We didn’t like this week 

The city of Meriden plans to terminate the employment of Tax Assessor Melinda Fonda after receiving a letter from the state Office of Policy and Management citing “several deficiencies.” The letter came after  complaints about Fonda’s behavior toward city employees and the public, according to documents obtained by the Record-Journal under an FOI request.

The Meriden Neighborhood Rehabilitation Board says city officials are not listening to the board’s input on trash and blighted property concerns. During a City Council meeting earlier this month, the three members of the board also said the voluntary panel is not being respected, according to a Record-Journal story. “We volunteer our time, and we’re ignored,” said Heidi Boyd, board secretary. “We’ve had the garbage and recycling cans on our agenda for the better part of two years.”  

Security at Meriden’s Community Towers remains a concern, according to an Meriden Housing Authority official. “It’s constant,” said David Sunshine, who routinely checks surveillance monitors from the cameras at the Willow Street high-rise building. “Every time I look up it’s one thing or another.” Sunshine, MHA’s resident services director, talked about the issue during a recent MHA Board of Commissioners meeting.  Sunshine sees drug dealing at the towers regularly, he said, as well as fights, trespassing and prostitution.


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