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13 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

13 things we liked this week, 3 we didn’t

We liked this week

German commanders signed their surrender to Allied forces 75 years ago this week, ending World War II in Europe. Unlike the mass street celebrations that greeted this momentous news in 1945, surviving veterans are marking V-E Day this year in coronavirus confinement, sharing memories with loved ones in private, instead of in the company of comrades on public parade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many residents isolated for over a month. But a recent uptick in good weather has brought something far less sinister to Connecticut — spring fever. Last Saturday, residents found solace in the sunshine as temperatures neared 70 degrees in the Meriden-Wallingford area.

The tax rate in Meriden will not go up next fiscal year under a new proposal submitted by city leadership to lessen the financial burden on residents hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Meriden has joined other Connecticut municipalities in making spending cuts and adjustments to its original budget proposal, which was released before the pandemic closed businesses and led thousands to file for unemployment.

The Meriden City Council voted this week to form a task force to address local homelessness, a move officials say will help agencies better coordinate and maximize resources. The 12-member Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness will be made up of community stakeholders appointed by Mayor Kevin Scarpati.

Making the best of a difficult situation — the coronavirus shutdown — a Wallingford couple, Lauren Marin and Brian Bates, got married Tuesday morning outside Town Hall in a celebration whose only guests were those cheering while walking or driving by. The officiant was Town Councilor and Justice of the Peace Vincent Testa.

The Meriden Board of Education has agreed to a deal with New Britain Transportation that will save about $330,000. Under the arrangement reached Tuesday, the board will pay 83 percent of its daily busing costs for the remainder of the originally scheduled school year. Schools have been closed since March 13.

Education leaders weren’t entirely surprised by Gov. Ned Lamont’s closure of schools for the rest of the year, but the prospect of not gathering again until next school year was disappointing. However, distance learning will continue until summer break and the state plans to allow youth summer camps to operate this year under “some pretty strict social distancing requirements.”

The 2020 Summer Campership Fund for Meriden-Wallingford offers campership awards to local boys and girls in financial need to attend local camps — exactly what our local children need this summer after challenging months of living with the impact of coronavirus. This year’s goal is $65,000 in order to fund 504 camperships. One hundred percent of the funds raised are used directly to fund camperships. 

Hours after Gov. Lamont announced that schools won’t be reopening this term, the CIAC, the state’s governing body of scholastic sports, made the disappointing but necessary decision that the 2020 high school sports season was officially canceled as well. “The CIAC empathizes with our school communities and the experiences lost due to COVID-19,” the CIAC said in a statement.

The American Red Cross held a blood drive at Maloney High School in Meriden on Wednesday. More than 150 people donated blood in the drive sponsored by the Maloney Band Boosters. 

The disparity between the rate of police traffic stops in Connecticut of black and Hispanic drivers and of their white counterparts shrank for a second consecutive year in 2018, according to a state report released Tuesday. Also, fewer departments were identified as having significantly high rates of pulling over black and Hispanic drivers.

In an effort to support local businesses during the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19, the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce held a special “Retail Take-Over” this week, visiting different retailers each day and livestreaming a 15-minute segment highlighting the businesses, their services, and how the public can support them during the shutdown.

The COVID-19 recovery center on Westfield Road in Meriden is now open, joining a statewide network of centers serving as step-down facilities to free up hospital capacity.

We didn’t like this week

The number of local and statewide nursing home patients infected with COVID-19 and patient deaths soared last week despite flattening in general hospital admissions, according to data released by the state Department of Public Health. Nursing home residents now comprise 57 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths statewide. 

Twenty part-time staff members have been laid off from the Wallingford Public Library, the unfortunate result of reduced revenue and increased expenses due to the library’s closure during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, digital collections and other online resources are still available to patrons.

A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck near southern Puerto Rico last Saturday, briefly knocking out power and forcing the relocation of at least 50 families on an island where some people still remain in shelters from previous quakes earlier this year. The quake hit near the city of Ponce and the towns of Guanica and Guayanilla.