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EDITORIAL: 9 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 9 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

We liked this week

Growing up in Meriden, new Police Chief Roberto Rosado was inspired to work in law enforcement and give back to his community by the local officers and firefighters in his life. Rosado, who has spent the past 22 years with the Willimantic Police Department, including four as chief, officially began in Meriden on Wednesday, replacing retiring chief Jeffry Cossette. 

Gov. Ned Lamont joined other state and local officials Wednesday in denouncing racist acts and pledging systemic reforms, in response to the arrests of two white men accused of chasing down three Black teenagers last month in Manchester, and other incidents around the state. The incident was one of at least seven possible hate crimes around the state that police have investigated since June 1, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said.

Overtime costs for firefighters continue to drop, according to Southington Fire Department officials, due to a combination of additional manpower and organizational changes. Two years ago, overtime pay totaled more than $900,000. For the fiscal year that ended Tuesday, the department spent just over $500,000. 

School districts across the state and the two largest teachers unions are digesting the details laid out in this week’s school reopening plan for fall. “The thought of returning to schools is daunting for many teachers, students and parents alike,” Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona wrote in an introduction to the plan. Educators statewide have just weeks to absorb the requirements and prepare staff and buildings. District plans must be submitted to the state by July 24.

Having juggled challenges like being a parent and full-time employee while completing their studies, about 15 students from Wallingford Public Schools’ adult education program received their diplomas in a drive-through commencement ceremony Monday. “This is a culmination of all their hard work. Sometimes it’s years of hard work,” said Sashi Govin, director of the district’s adult education program.

Nationally known rapper and chef Action Bronson paid a visit to Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden for an upcoming installment of a popular Vice TV travel food show. Ted’s owner Bill Foreman said Bronson and his crew filmed for about a half-hour at the restaurant, famous for its steamed cheeseburgers.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday unveiled a $33 million plan, which includes both state and federal resources, to provide emergency help for renters, homeowners, and residential landlords affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes $10 million in rental assistance, in the form of payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenants, with a priority on lower-income householders who have been denied unemployment insurance.

The United Way of Meriden and Wallingford’s Week of Action will have a different look this year. Instead of one week, there is a 10-day Virtual Food Drive, which began June 23 and will end Tuesday, July 7, to benefit three food pantries: Master’s Manna in Wallingford, New Opportunities of Greater Meriden and the Salvation Army in Meriden.

As police defunding and reform stay in the national spotlight, the police chiefs of Wallingford and Southington answered questions during Town Council meetings in their respective towns. Southington Police Chief Jack Daly spoke Monday evening and Wallingford Police Chief William Wright spoke Tuesday at the request of councilors after Black Lives Matter rallies took place earlier this month in both towns.

We didn’t like this week

Meriden’s emergency dispatchers union is voicing concerns about “chronic understaffing,” which it says has required dispatchers to work “72- to 88-hour workweeks with no breaks or time off for rest.” “This is a public safety crisis,” said Elizabeth Marotti, a veteran dispatcher and president of Local 1303-405 of AFSCME Council 4. City Manager Tim Coon responded to the union’s statement in an email Monday, writing, “the City has been working with the Dispatch Union for months to rectify staffing shortages. Many ideas have been discussed with the Dispatcher Union and some have been implemented.”

UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has asked for federal help in getting his team back to campus this summer. The Huskies have three foreign players on their roster, from Poland, Croatia and Canada. They, like thousands of other U.S. college students from foreign countries, are still overseas because of international travel bans instituted as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Way of Meriden and Wallingford has significantly scaled back the amount of funding allocated to 15 local agencies as traditional fundraisers and workplace campaigns are hurt by efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Administrators hope to fully fund the agencies when an annual fundraising campaign ends in December.

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