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Editorial: 6 things we liked, 4 we didn’t 



We liked this week 

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday celebrations will kick into high gear. Many in the local Latino community will mark events before and after Christmas. A recent Record-Journal article highlighted traditions in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Ecuador. “We do it to keep the tradition alive…” said Johanna Gutiérrez, who grew up in Bogota, Colombia. Let the season begin!      

Now that the city has appointed an acting city manager, the lengthy process of hiring a permanent replacement can begin. During a closed-door session Monday, the City Council voted 8 to 2 to appoint city attorney Emily Holland. Holland, who has worked for the city since 2021, has been a lawyer for 15 years and has worked in municipal litigation since 2010.      

A Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil was held in a Wallingford tattoo shop on Monday. A list of 63 names of transgender people who lost their lives to violence over the years in the United States was read at the Fox Den tattoo shop. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has identified at least 335 transgender and gender nonconforming individuals who were killed in the U.S. since 2013. With over 550 anti-LGBTQ+  bills introduced into state legislatures in 2023, these events call attention to the fight for basic human rights. The vigil was hosted in collaboration with PeerPride and TransHaven, both advocates for trans people.

Construction of a new preschool in Southington is underway. The Learning Experience will accommodate 150 children in its building and is expected to open on West Street in summer. It will also feature a 5,000-square -foot playground area. The Learning Experience, an international day care and early childhood education center, has 11 locations in Connecticut.     

It is good to hear that a 72-unit affordable housing project in Cheshire has generally received strong support. The seven-building multi-family development is proposed for Route 10 near Johnson Avenue. The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to talk about the project again on Monday. Many towns, including Cheshire, fall well below state guidelines for affordable housing.     

A New Haven institution that closed in June has found a new home in South Meriden. Rocco’s Bakery, which occupied a location in New Haven for 40 years, closed after the owners Antonio and Anna DiBenedetto decided to retire. Luckily, their son Ferdinando DiBenedetto, the lead baker in the establishment for 30 years, has opened Rocco’s Village Bakery. Now, South Meriden residents can enjoy the sweets and breads that were legendary in Fair Haven.  

We didn’t like this week  

The standoff between St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church officials and the Board of Education continues. On Monday, more than 150 people — including parishioners —  attended a school board meeting to again request a meeting with School Superintendent Mark Benigni. The group stood in the back of the room and then walked down four flights of stairs, lit candles and shared problems with the school system. It is the second silent action by the church’s education committee since late October. Without taking sides, it is clear that something else is needed to end the stalemate.

Last month, the union representing public works employees overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Public Utilities Director Richard Meskill. Their dissatisfaction was also on display during Monday’s City Council meeting. About 20 employees attended and the union president spoke. Despite the union criticism, the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission said he “was shocked to hear there were difficulties with the union.”  

It is too bad a group that planned to open a coffee shop at the Wallingford Public Library was not able to agree on space for the endeavor. The A Kinder Ground group would have provided employment for young adults with special needs. At first library officials were in favor of leasing space, but then suggested the group open a kiosk or food truck at the start and consider other space down the road. But Maureen Binder, Kinder Ground founder, said those ideas presented too many obstacles. Hopefully, a compromise can be found. 

We were saddened by the news that M Salon and Spa in Wallingford won’t be reopening after a car crashed into the business in May. Salon owner Maria Ascenzia, who operated the business for 21 years, made the announcement on social media last week. None of the salon employees, customers and the 79-year-old driver were injured. “It has been an extremely difficult six months and this decision was not one that we wanted to make,” Ascenzia said.    



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