The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Thumbs up, thumbs down
Thumbs up to Sikorsky Aircraft. The Stratford-based helicopter maker is celebrating 100 years in business this month, and its impact on the state’s economy is hard to overstate. It’s the largest private employer in Connecticut, and its network of suppliers accounts for thousands more jobs. Today owned by Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky has been vital to the local workforce for so long that it’s a little scary to think what the situation would look like without it. Fortunately, the company is committed to staying in Connecticut, where it continues its work despite disappointments like the loss of a U.S. Army contract to replace the Black Hawk. Another 100 years in Connecticut is just what the state needs.
Thumbs down to suburbs continually shutting out city children. The latest example is Woodbridge, where the Board of Education voted not to admit a small number of New Haven kindergartners as part of the state’s Open Choice program. It joins other suburbs like Darien, which didn’t want any Norwalk children, and the suburbs around Danbury, which have rejected students there. The same thing has happened around Waterbury. Suburbs cite costs, but somehow they always have enough money to buy up available land to keep housing from being built. It’s a tired story, and one where the state should take notice. Asking nicely for towns to do the right thing is rarely a winning strategy.
Thumbs up to the memory of Karen Hobert Flynn, a reformer who was key to the state’s public financing laws. A resident of Middletown, Hobert Flynn was national president of Common Cause, an organization dedicated to democracy reform, until her death at 60 last week. In 2005, after the John Rowland scandals, she helped lead the way as chair of Common Cause Connecticut to the public financing system we have today, which became a national model for better government. It also led her to Washington, D.C., where she became a national leader in the fight for more honest elections. The public financing system is now used by nearly all candidates for state office in Connecticut, with the glaring exception of the governor’s race, which has featured self-funders recently. Thumbs up to March. It’s the best month of the year for college basketball enthusiasts, of which Connecticut is known to have a few. UConn takes the spotlight, as usual, and both the men and women are looking strong as the NCAA tournament approaches. There’s also Yale, where the men’s team is the top seed in the Ivy League tournament and looking for a return trip of its own to the NCAAs. The beauty of conference tournaments is everyone has a shot – the regular season might have been a bust, but any team can put together a few consecutive wins and qualify for March Madness. Maybe it’ll be a short trip, but the journey is worth taking.
Thumbs up to pet lovers. When the Monroe animal shelter announced recently that it would have to close, which meant a need to find new homes for more than 30 animals, local families stepped up in droves, with the shelter receiving hundreds of applications to adopt. The shelter now says all its dogs and cats will be adopted, with any remaining to live at animal sanctuaries or other shelters. That’s a relief to anyone who was worried about the possible future for the animals once the Monroe shelter closed, but those worries have been put to rest.