THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

PLAINFIELD FIRE OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Kevin Wells (Plainfield police)

PLAINFIELD, Conn. (AP) – A local fire captain has been charged with sexually assaulting a junior member in his department. Police say Plainfield fire Capt. Kevin Wells turned himself in Thursday morning and was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault. The 27-year-old Wells posted $50,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 11. Police started an investigation on Aug. 8 after the alleged victim said she was assaulted inside the fire station. They searched the station on Aug. 10. Officials say public safety was never at risk during the search because other departments provided coverage to the town.

AG SECRETARY IN LEBANON

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (Bloomberg)

Fostering the next generation of American farmers has become a top priority for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He drove that point home during a special visit to Prides Corner Nursery in Lebanon today. Perdue says he wanted to visit a small farm in Connecticut to learn more about what his department can do to help young farmers. Perdue met with about 40 local farmers and producers to discuss what they want to see in the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. The Secretary is in the midst of a nationwide tour to gather input on the legislation.

COAST GUARD HELPING TRACK HARVEY VICTIMS

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) – U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets are creating maps showing the locations of people in Texas who posted on social media that they needed help during Hurricane Harvey. Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators in New Orleans have told the cadets to keep sending the information. The academy in New London says it’s the first time the Coast Guard has used intelligence derived from crowd-sourced social media for disaster response. A rescue coordinator told the cadets the reports could be especially valuable in a few days when cellphones are dying. The reports show the latitude and longitude of where the posts originated. Cadet Evan Twarog, of Keene, New Hampshire, goes through the data. Cadet Gabrielle Auzenbergs, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, maps it. They’ve sent reports multiple times a day since Sunday.

LOCAL RELIEF EFFORTS FOR HARVEY VICTIMS

Local groups and individuals are organizing efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. An 18-wheeler truck will be parked outside the New London Athletics Center on Broad Street Saturday from 8 AM to Noon so that it can be filled with bottled water and non-perishable items to be sent to Houston. Members of the Whaling City Mixed Martial Arts group are seeking the donations. The tractor-trailer will head south once it’s filled. Meanwhile, The Three Rivers Young Marines will be looking for monetary donations only this Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM outside Norwich Police Headquarters on Thames Street. The money will be sent to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

LEMBO WILL STAY PUT

Kevin Lembo

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State Comptroller Kevin Lembo is dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor and will instead seek re-election to his current position. The announcement Thursday eliminates one of the better known Democrats from a crowded field of candidates mulling a run for the nomination to succeed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the 2018 election. Malloy is not seeking re-election. Lembo said in a statement that he wants to remain in place as “an independent government watchdog and advocate for essential fiscal and economic reform.” Another well-known Democrat, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, has not yet said whether she plans to run for governor.

STRANGE OBJECT REMOVED

(Westerly Sun)

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) – A mysterious metal object discovered a few weeks ago off a Westerly beach has been removed and carted away in pieces. Media tweets show a crew used an excavator Thursday on East Beach to dig up the circular metal object. The object puzzled beachgoers and had posed a hazard to swimmers. All that could be seen until its removal were several metal legs and concrete. Taylor Swift’s oceanfront mansion overlooks the beach. The object came up in pieces Thursday. Its metal pieces were several feet long, and wires were running through them. Oceanographers previously told a beach association that the object could be a device to monitor currents and sediment flow. One Rhode Island lawmaker joked on Twitter that he hoped it wasn’t a portal to hell.

HEPBURN HOME SOLD

Katharine Hepburn’s home (Forbes)

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (AP) – The late actress Katharine Hepburn’s home along the Old Saybrook shore has sold for $11.5 million after several years on the market. The nearly 8,400-square-foot home with six bedrooms on 1.5 acres overlooking Long Island Sound was sold on Aug. 25, according to Colette Harron, an agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. The buyer’s name has not been disclosed. The seller, New York developer Frank Sciame, bought the original, nearly 4-acre property for $6 million in 2004, a year after Hepburn died at the Colonial-style home at age 96. He made extensive renovations and once tried to sell the property for $30 million. A second house built by Sciame on a separate 1.3-acre parcel of the original estate remains listed at about $5.9 million.

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