THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

SPEAKER MAY NOW APPROVE MINI-BUDGET

Joe Aresimowicz

Joe Aresimowicz

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz is not ruling out the possibility of passing a short-term bipartisan “mini-budget” before the fiscal year ends on Friday. The Democrat issued a statement on Wednesday saying he’s ready “to stay here all night to work together” toward passing a temporary plan, so long as Democrats and Republicans are committed to using as “a pathway toward adoption of a full biennium budget.” Aresimowicz’s comments come after Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sent a letter to the House Speaker and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides urging them to pass the three-month budget he unveiled Monday, saying it would be better than having him run the state using his limited executive authority. Malloy said Tuesday he will not agree to any changes to his mini-budget.

NORWICH HOTEL NOW OPEN

A hotel, which had stood unfinished along Interstate 395 in Norwich for some three years, is now open. The Hampton Inn, located off Route 82, opened earlier this month. The building had stood empty and incomplete for three years, as the previous developer ran into financial difficulties. Current developer, Patrick Levantino is praising city officials, as well as his own workforce, for working hard to get the hotel completed and open in time for the popular Barrett-Jackson car auction held this month at Mohegan Sun.

NL REVENUE BOARD HOLDS INITIAL MEETING

Following a major reduction in state aid, New London officials are discussing ways to generate more revenue. Mayor Mike Passero has created a Municipal Revenue Board, which met for the first time on Wednesday. Passero told the panel he wants state lawmakers to pass a bill next year requiring non-profit organizations to pay for fire and police services. Board co-chairman Rob Funk says he’d like to see the city charge more money for water and sewer service. The Revenue Board will also examine how the city is collecting existing service charges. Members will also consider areas where new taxes would be appropriate.

SUB BASE ROAD PROJECT HAS BEGUN

A reconstruction project to improve roadways near the Groton Sub Base is underway. According to Town Manager Mark Oefinger, the concept for the improvements has been around for over 30 years. The $5.5 million plan calls for the widening of Military Highway and Crystal Lake Road. A new traffic signal will be installed and a bike and pedestrian path created. Primarily funded by federal monies, the road reconstruction is expected to be completed by late fall, with landscaping and sidewalks to be done in the spring.

POWWOW STABBER FOUND GUILTY

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island man has been convicted of stabbing a fellow member of the Narragansett tribe during the annual tribal powwow in 2014. The state attorney general’s office says 28-year-old Troy Lake Simonds, of Westerly, was found guilty Wednesday after a six-day, jury-waived trial of assault with a dangerous weapon. Authorities say Simonds stabbed Andrew Smith, of South Kingstown, on August 9, 2014 during the powwow on tribal land in Charlestown. Smith was stabbed in the chest and spent several days in the hospital. He told police he tried to intervene in another dispute when he was stabbed. Witnesses identified Simonds as the assailant. The two men did not know each other. Simonds remains free on bail pending sentencing scheduled for August 30.

RI FOOD DELIVERY BILL HEADING TO GOVERNOR’S DESK

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A bill that makes it a felony in Rhode Island to attack a food delivery driver is headed to the governor for her signature. Lawmakers on Wednesday approved the bill, which was prompted by assaults on pizza delivery people in Providence. If signed by the governor, attacks on delivery drivers would be punishable by up to three years in prison and a $3,000 fine, stiffer penalties than an assault charge alone. Punishment would be more severe if a weapon is used that seriously injures the delivery person. The Providence City Council requested the legislation after more than a dozen robberies last year. A delivery driver was stabbed and robbed at a Providence apartment complex in December.

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