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EDITORIAL: 16 things we liked this week, one we didn’t

EDITORIAL: 16 things we liked this week, one we didn’t

We liked this week

Local businesses and community members have pledged more than $35,000 to pay for Wallingford's annual Independence Day fireworks show. The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 6, beginning at dusk, near the grounds of Sheehan High School. Meriden’s fireworks show will take place on July 3, beginning around 9:30 p.m., with a rain date of July 5. The fireworks will be shot off from East Peak in Hubbard Park.

Cheshire town councilors recently accepted a $190,000 donation from Elim Park Place to be used by the police and fire departments. Due to its religious affiliation, Elim Park is not required to pay taxes to the town. Instead, the retirement community on Cook Hill Road makes an annual donation for municipal and public safety services.

Two new firefighters funded in the upcoming Southington budget will be the first positions added to the department in more than 10 years. Fire Commission members said the department needs more career firefighters to reduce response times and cut overtime costs. “It’s a positive direction, not just for the Fire Department but for the whole town,” said Nathan Wilson, fire board chairman.

Representatives from the National Institutes of Health visited Meriden’s Community Health Center this week as part of a nationwide tour promoting the gathering of information from underserved groups. The agency’s federally funded “All of Us” Research Program, launched a year ago, seeks to collect medical record data and biosamples from at least one million participants around the country, particularly those in underserved racial, ethnic and socioeconomic communities.

The Cheshire Town Council approved a package of energy efficiency projects at Cheshire High School this week that town and education officials believe will save more than $20,000 annually. Councilors unanimously allocated $52,000 for an insulating project and approved two others: adding more LED lights throughout the high school and replacing motors in the school’s freezers and refrigerators.

The state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for a bipartisan measure that proponents say would make Connecticut a reliable customer of electricity produced by offshore wind turbines, providing a foundation for a renewable-energy source that could one day match the output of the aging Millstone nuclear power station. Polling shows a majority of voters in both parties support renewables, especially in New England. 

Meriden’s Platt High School recently received a national award for student-led initiatives aimed at preventing violence. The national nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise recognized Platt with its 2019 Say Something School Award for activities the school ran as part of the organization’s Say Something Week, held from Feb. 25 to March 1. Thousands of schools and youth organizations participated in the campaign.

Connecticut lawmakers are being urged to pass legislation that would make the state the first to provide free calls from prisoners. Currently, inmates or their families pay $4.87 for phone calls of up to 15 minutes, the second-highest rate in the nation. “Is the punishment from prison supposed to be that you are now completely severed from society, an outcast?” said state Rep. Josh Elliott, a Hamden Democrat who introduced the legislation.

Students at Derynoski Elementary School in Southington exercised Tuesday during Activate Southington's Project ACES Zumba class. Project ACES, a worldwide program, stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously. Each May, on a designated day, millions of school children all over the world exercise simultaneously in a symbolic gesture of fitness and unity. 

With an arson at a New Haven mosque still fresh in the news, legislators on Tuesday said they are pressing to include $5 million in the state bonding package for stepped-up safety measures at Connecticut houses of worship. The fire, set during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, severely damaged the three-story structure Sunday and prompted a federal investigation after authorities confirmed the blaze had been intentionally set. 

A Meriden native was recently honored by Girls Inc. as a part of the organization ’s 100-year celebration. Lilliana McAuliffe received the Strong, Smart and Bold award for her volunteer service to programs that help local girls. McAuliffe has been fundraising, volunteering and coordinating programs and events for the past 10 years. “It’s an honor,” McAuliffe said.

Around 90 children participated in the annual children’s fishing derby on Saturday in Hubbard Park. Hosted by the City of Meriden and the Meriden Rod and Gun Club, the event allowed children ages 15 and under to fish in Mirror Lake. Trout were released into the lake by the Connecticut DEEP Inland Fisheries Division. Children who caught a fish for the first time received a prize.

Local officers were recognized recently by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Police officers from Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire all received awards at a recent ceremony at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Meriden Officers Jimmy Fong and Patrick Ouellette, Wallingford Officer Christian Evans, Cheshire Officers Matthew Severo and Adam Burwin, and Southington Officers Chad Michaud and Justin Simard all received the award. 

The vibe at the Fourth Annual Robert J. Beeney Memorial Car Show might have been retro — all vintage cars and 1950s doo-wop music — but its bigger goal was certainly set in the future. The car show, named in honor of a Southington High School teacher who died of cancer, raises money for a scholarship fund for students who are going into technology-based vocations. About 100 participants took part in the show, which was held at the Southington Drive-In.

City leaders met with state economic development officials recently to create a program to encourage more investment in downtown Meriden. “Given the significant number of opportunity zones available throughout the country, the state is trying to help cities coordinate programs to make Connecticut ’s opportunity zones most attractive for investors,” said David Cooley, business recruitment specialist for the Making Meriden Business Center. 

Cheshire school leaders outlined efforts to combat bullying and improve school climate at a recent meeting. Each school has a safe school climate committee, a state-required group that combats bullying, among other tasks. School Superintendent Jeff Solan unveiled a district-wide group with the same mission. The committee will report to the board twice a year.

We didn’t like this week

State data released on vaccination rates among kindergartners shows one Southington school falls below 95 percent, a threshold deemed crucial by public health officials. According to the 2017-18 school year data released by the Department of Public Health, only 93.4 percent of kindergartners at Hatton School were vaccinated for a range of viruses, including measles, polio, hepatitis A and B, and other communicable diseases.