OPINION: Plenty to talk about at the new year mark

There’s probably no longer such a thing as a slow news day, with use of the phrase now more suitable to sarcasm. An around-the -clock news cycle is going to do that: There’s got to be something to talk about.

But the time around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays tends to be a little slower, when it comes to local news, at least. Schools are taking a break and people are just kind of waiting for the new year to begin.

The end of this year, though, seems different, and though that has a lot to do with the surge in COVID cases brought on by the omicron variant it doesn’t have everything to do with it.

It is hard to think of anything else right now. We’re just two months away from two years of the coronavirus pandemic and it feels like we’re back where we started, with schools considering remote learning, sports being disrupted from the big leagues to the little leagues, and just about everything else you can think of. A year ago the development of vaccines made it look as though the virus was going to be put behind us. Now we’re still trying to convince people to get them, and … I could go on.

I found it particularly disheartening to hear that Gina Morgenstein is going to step down as a Wallingford town councilor. She had just been re-elected to her third term, but there are other things in life that are more important. “During this pandemic, family comes first,” she told the Record-Journal. “The pandemic has become untenable, really untenable.”

Were the situation not so serious you could find humor in the question of how they’re going to replace her. Is she resigning or just not showing up to be sworn in? Apparently, replacing her is an appointment made by the council.

You could call the comment about the untenable pandemic a least favorite quote, not because it’s not accurate but because it is. There were quotes that were more encouraging.

At long last, Meriden has what it appears to need for the run-down buildings on Colony Street in the partnership called The Colony Project LLC. Shaping up those buildings is a long-held dream. The comment by one of the partners, Johnny Grunblatt, sounded like Donald Trump showing off one of his golf courses.

“We’ll be bringing some life back to Colony Street,” he told the R-J. “Some of the buildings here are beautiful and historic. You have the beautiful new train station and the beautiful Green. With the updates and new management, it’s going to be beautiful.”

It’s true that Meriden downtown is more beautiful than it’s been in years. It’s a flood-control project that turned into a gem. And now the nearby public library’s going to be spruced up in a major way and Gallery 53 is also getting an upgrade.

Maybe this all sounds too optimistic, but maybe not for the second day of a new year.

Plus, consider that in this dark time of an extended global emergency humans have just embarked on what just might turn out to be the most significant human endeavor ever: looking back to the beginning of time.

Or something like that. The James Webb Space Telescope, launched on Christmas morning, is the most ambitious and potentially rewarding mission I’ve ever heard about. As long as that remains up and running, once it’s up and running, there will be plenty for us to talk about. That’s for sure.

Reach Jeffery Kurz at jkurz@record-journal.com.


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