Thumbs up to Tesei’s farewell, bridge repairs

Thumbs up to First Selectman Peter Tesei for having the grace to take time in his final meeting after 12 years at the helm to thank his fellow board members, John Toner and Sandy Litvack. Tesei read proclamations to salute both men, and declared days in honor of each. Litvack, who lost to Tesei in the race for the top seat two years ago, replied that he now considers them friends. The incoming board will make history as the first of this century to consist of entirely new members. The last time that happened was in 1923.

Thumbs up to the new bridge to carry drivers along Lake Avenue over the Merritt Parkway. Residents around the bridge will likely be the most grateful it is finally open, as the detour since it shut down for construction in June was nearly 8.5 miles. The old bridge was built in 1940, and the new $4.6 million project replaced beams, decks and parapets.

Thumbs up to Greenwich’s Human Services Department for developing ways to provide more financial aid for residents in need. The board of the department adjusted the formula that determines who is eligible, acknowledging the reality that the cost of living is higher in the region. The new calculation permits financial aid for individuals earning less than $37,470 annually and a family of four earning below $77,250.

Thumbs down to the detail in a new American Lung Cancer report that about 12 percent of Connecticut residents diagnosed with lung cancer do not seek treatment for the disease. Yes, there is encouraging data that the state is tied with neighboring New York for the highest lung cancer survival rate in the United States, but more people dealing with the disease should know it is no longer a death sentence.

Thumbs up to the continuation this Sunday of Stamford’s parade to kick off the holiday season. While the parade itself reliably draws tens of thousands of people from throughout Connecticut, New York and beyond, the Saturday inflation party has also become a beloved tradition that offers a peek at preparations for the big show. The parade will start at noon while the Saturday preview will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hoyt and Summer streets.

Thumbs down to Connecticut colleges with disconcerting graduation rates. The group Education Reform Now CT points to University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and Mitchell College in New London for graduating fewer than 50 percent of their students (Mitchell is at almost 40 percent). As a result, dropouts can depart without a diploma, but plenty of debt. The data requires interpretation by market, but is welcome as additional information to refine the system and better prepare high school students considering college.

Thumbs down to the report of two flu-related deaths in Connecticut last week, before the flu season typically begins in December. The victims, one from Fairfield County and the other from Litchfield County, were both older than 65. The deaths are a grim reminder that everyone should get a flu vaccine this fall. The vaccines are easily available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and walk-in clinics and are usually covered by insurance.