Editorial: A welcome salary boost for outdoor summer jobs

A yellow flag on the lifeguard stand means no lifeguard on duty at Sherwood Island State Park on Tuesday June 19, 2018 in Westport Conn.

A yellow flag on the lifeguard stand means no lifeguard on duty at Sherwood Island State Park on Tuesday June 19, 2018 in Westport Conn.

Alex von Kleydorff / Hearst Connecticut Media

Thumbs up to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection bumping up starting salaries in hopes of luring more candidates for seasonal positions. While some state residents may not support increasing the salaries up to $17 an hour, it’s preferable to having to limit access to beaches, parks and campgrounds. The challenge of finding summer help is not unique to Connecticut, but Memorial Day has passed and lifeguard jobs still need to be filled at Black Rock State Park in Watertown, Burr Pond State Park in Torrington, Indian Wells State Park in Shelton, Sherwood Island in Westport, Silver Sands State Park in Milford and Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield. The recruiting drive will continue through June 17.

Thumbs down to the still-unresolved crisis that has led to a shortage of baby formula around the country, including in Connecticut. Studies have shown that women of color and lower-income families are more likely to use formula, and have been harder hit by the shortage. There are a variety of reasons, but when people have fewer financial resources and need to return to work soon after giving birth, formula is often a better solution. The nationwide shortage, then, has only exacerbated existing conditions. While the federal government has taken steps to alleviate the problem, shortages remain, and until they are solved will continue to make the job of raising a young child more stressful.

Thumbs up to Connecticut towns debating and releasing plans for affordable housing. Thanks to a state law, every municipality in the state needs to assess its housing situation and needs, and then release a plan for handing the ongoing affordability shortage. That’s a far cry from actually building the housing needed across Connecticut, but seeing where we are is a necessary first step. In recent months, towns and cities have been discussing their plans, allowing residents to see what the situation looks like and why so many consider it one of the state’s most pressing issues. The next step is taking concrete steps against the crisis.

Thumbs up to COVID-19 transmission showing signs of slowing down in Connecticut. While we’ve still got a long way to go to return to the patterns seen before the recent spike, it’s encouraging to see the 1,137 daily cases over the most recent week drop from almost 1,600 over a seven-day period earlier in May. Additionally, the number of state residents hospitalized with COVID-19 was more stable at the end of last week than it was in previous weeks. Such figures, of course, are skewed because more people are using at-home tests, the results of which are not typically reported. Still, after 27 months of living with COVID, we’ll take any positive signs we can get.

Thumbs down to a deadly weekend on the roads. The most serious was a wrong-way highway crash in Guilford on I-95 that left four people dead, and another four people died when a car ran off the road near a reservoir in Thompson. Other crashes around the state also led to fatalities over the weekend. It was a grim start to the summer season, and a reminder that everyone needs to exercise caution behind the wheel, and take a zero-tolerance approach to impaired driving of any kind.