MONDAY EVENING UPDATE

TAFTVILLE FIRE UPDATE

A fire broke out in the Taftville section of Norwich early Monday morning. (Dawn Kutz/iWitness)

An investigation is on-going regarding a fire this morning in Taftville. Two families have been displaced after the blaze at 3 to 7 South Second Avenue was reported around 5:30 AM. Eleven Norwich-area fire crews got the fire under control by 8 AM. Taftville fire chief Tim Jencks says fire in the basement had spread to the vacant upper floors. No injuries reported. The building includes a Michael’s Variety Store which was closed for remodeling. The property, though, has largely been vacant for the past few years. It had been a boarding house for Ponemah Mill workers when the nearby mill was operational.

COMPTROLLER RELEASES BUDGET NUMBERS

Kevin Lembo

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State Comptroller Kevin Lembo says Connecticut is on track to close out the last fiscal year with a $107.2 million deficit. In a letter released Monday to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Democratic comptroller says Connecticut is expected to have $128.38 million left in its budget reserve fund after covering the red ink. Fiscal year 2017 ended on July 1. The new two-year budget is projected to be $5 billion in deficit. Lembo says “long-term planning must be a priority to prepare for ongoing uncertainties and developing trends,” referring to things like a potential stock market disruption and a statewide decline in population. He says Connecticut lost 8,278 residents between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016; one of eight states to experience a population drop during that period.

ALDERMEN TO CONSIDER NPU PROJECTS

Two Public Utilities projects go before Norwich aldermen Wednesday night. A planned 19-point-9 million dollar water system upgrade would include work at the Stony Brook and Deep River reservoirs, and the Occum water tank. It would also extend a Route 97 water line into Baltic to provide back-up service there. A second bond ordinance would spend 2-point-4 million dollars to separate sewer and storm-water drains on the east side of Norwich. Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7:30 PM at Norwich City Hall.

NO MOVING OF PARK FEES

There’s no state budget yet in Connecticut, but we do know one thing: fees collected from weddings and other events held at state parks will be used toward state park maintenance. State environmental officials say a plan considered in May by the legislature and Governor Dannell Malloy to put half of the collected fees into the general fund to help balance Connecticut’s budget has been abandoned. It’s good news especially for Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford and Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, which would’ve lost substantial funding had the plan gone into effect.

NEWTOWN ASKING SUIT TO BE DROPPED

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The town of Newtown, Connecticut, and its Board of Education are asking a judge to throw out an $11 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook shootings in December 2012. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in January 2015, alleges security measures at the school weren’t adequate when Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 first-graders and six educators. Among other things, it cites that classroom doors could not be locked from the inside. The lawsuit was brought by the estates of 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jesse Lewis. The other victims’ parents aren’t part of the lawsuit. In their June 30 motion for summary judgment, the town argues it has governmental immunity from such lawsuits and there is no basis to argue that school officials were negligent.

CT WON’T SEND VOTER INFO

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says she’s concluded it’s “not in the best interest of Connecticut residents” to comply with a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission investigating alleged fraud in the 2016 election. In a letter released Monday to the commission’s vice chairman, Merrill says the panel’s request is “overly broad” and requires sharing residents’ personally identifiable information for a “vague purpose.” Last week, Merrill said her office planned to partially comply with the request for information by sharing publicly available information. But on Monday, Merrill said she questions how voters’ information will be used and safeguarded. While she’s waiting to hear back from the commission, Merrill says “no matter what the outcome,” her office will not provide voters’ Social Security or driver’s license numbers.

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