NO NEW BUDGET ANYTIME SOON
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he doesn’t expect to see an agreement on a new two-year budget any time soon. Asked Friday when he thought a deal could be reached with legislative leaders, the Democrat told reporters he thinks it’s “going to be a while.” He says that’s why he wanted the General Assembly to least pass a temporary “mini budget” before the new fiscal year began on July 1. Malloy is currently running state government by executive order. He’s limited to maintaining spending on essential state services and obligations. While House Democrats hope to hold a vote July 18 on a new two-year budget, Malloy says there’s no agreement. He also noted how House and Senate Democrats and House and Senate Republicans aren’t in agreement with one another.
COUNSELING FOR LOCAL LAWYER
A Norwich attorney will have to undergo counseling and take an ethics course, after a local judge filed a grievance against him. The Statewide Grievance Committee says 49-year old Sikander Rana violated the rules of professional conduct, after Superior Court Judge John Newson filed a grievance against him in November of last year. Newson said Attorney Rana showed disrespectful conduct numerous times to court clerks, court marshals, and at least one client inside Norwich Superior Court. He continues to practice law in the area. Rana will have to cover all expenses in association with his counseling and ethics training.
CONGDON RUNNING AGAIN
Preston First Selectman Bob Congdon has decided to run for another 2-year term. He announced back in 2015 that his current eleventh term in office would be his last, but says he’s changed his mind because no one has stepped forward so far this year to be a candidate. Party caucuses are to be held in two weeks. Congdon says it’s important that someone who’s been involved in the development of the former state hospital property be the first selectman, now that the Mohegan tribe is committed to re-developing the site.
NO SWIMMING AT GARDNER LAKE
Gardner Lake State Park in Salem is closed to swimming because of higher than normal bacteria counts. However, folks can still use the park for picnicking. State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection communications director Dennis Shain says retesting for bacteria counts will be conducted again on Thursday. Until that time swimming will not be allowed.
CIGARETTE JUDGEMENT UPHELD FOR LOCAL WOMAN
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld a $28 million judgment against cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds in a lawsuit filed by a Norwich smoker who got cancer. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also ruled Friday that the case will be sent back to the trial court to see if the company must pay additional damages. Barbara Izzarelli sued the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company in 1999 after surviving laryngeal cancer. She smoked the company’s Salem Kings cigarettes for 25 years and had her larynx removed at age 36. R.J. Reynolds denied allegations in the lawsuit that it manipulated nicotine in Salem Kings to get nonsmokers addicted and smokers to smoke more. Lawyers for the company did not immediately return messages Friday.
GRANNY PODS NOW LEGAL
Legislation nicknamed the “Granny Pod Bill” has been signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy. The measure allows property owners to put a temporary health care structure on their land to take care of an elderly member of the family that has mental or physical disabilities. The bill was sponsored by three area lawmakers: Sprague state senator Cathy Osten, Groton state senator Heather Somers, and New London representative Chris Soto. Proponents say the legislation will allow families to have their ailing relatives stay in their homes for a longer period of time.
JURY SELECTION IN ECSU STUDENT MURDER
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) – Jurors are being chosen for a third trial of a Connecticut man charged with killing and dismembering his college student girlfriend after she broke up with him. The first two trials of Jermaine Richards ended in mistrials after the juries deadlocked. Jury selection resumed for a second day Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court. Richards is charged with murder in the 2013 death of Alyssiah Wiley, of West Haven. Wiley was a student at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. Her partial remains were found in Trumbull about a month after she was last seen with Richards outside her dorm. Police say Wiley tried to break up with Richards via Facebook shortly before her death and he became upset. Richards denies killing Wiley.
BOY DIES IN BRANFORD CULVERT
BRANFORD, Conn. (AP) – A 10-year-old boy has been found dead after being swept into a culvert leading to the Branford River near the Connecticut shoreline. Captain Geoff Morgan of the Branford Police Department says the boy and his two brothers were playing near the culvert at about 1 p.m. Friday when the child lost his footing, fell from an embankment and was swept into the 48-inch pipe. Morgan says police used divers, sonar and a drone to search from the point where the boy went missing down to Branford Harbor on Long Island Sound. Morgan says the body was three hours later about 500 feet from where he disappeared. The child’s name has not been released.
PROFANE TIRADE IS FREE SPEECH
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that a woman’s profanity-laced tirade against a grocery store manager was protected free speech. The court on Friday ordered that Nina Baccala, of Vernon, be acquitted of a misdemeanor breach of peace charge. Four justices voted in favor of acquittal and three voted for a new trial. Vernon police said Baccala became angry at an assistant manager at a Stop & Shop in 2013, after being told it was too late to process a Western Union money transfer. She called the manager various expletives. Baccala was convicted by a jury in 2014 and sentenced to 25 days in jail. The Supreme Court ruled that Baccala’s profanity and name calling did not fall within the “fighting words” exemption to constitutional free speech rights.