WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

SOMERS CALLS OUT UCONN

Heather Somers

UConn officials are saying the recently approved state budget could mean the closure of regional campuses. Asked if UConn Avery Point is at risk of closing, university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said it was too early to speculate on specific locations. Sen. Heather Somers, whose district includes UConn Avery Point, says talk of closing campuses is “fear-mongering”.

SUBS GOING WITH XBOX CONTROLLER

After two years of extensive testing, the high-resolution cameras on the Navy’s future attack submarines will be operated by an Xbox controller traditionally used by video gamers. The Xbox controllers will replace joysticks starting with the Colorado, which is slated for commissioning this fall. The idea came out of a seminar on what technologies the next generation of submariners would like to see implemented. The controllers are a much cheaper alternative to joysticks and won’t require as much training, given their familiarity among younger sailors who grew up in the digital era.

NO MONEY TO FIGHT GUN RANGE

This vacant farm on Lee Road, in Griswold, is the site of a proposed state police training facility. (Hartford Courant)

A motion to appropriate $75,000 to fight a state police gun range proposal was not seconded in Griswold Tuesday night, killing the motion before it could get to a Board of Finance vote. As several towns fought the state’s advances, a 113-acre, privately-owned vacant farm on Lee Road in Griswold is the only remaining property on the state’s list. The Department of Administrative Services has been shopping around for a location to construct a state police training facility for several years. In June 2016, residents voted 437-63 against the construction of a state gun range near the Pachaug State Forest. However, the gun range does not need any local approval.

SECOND KILLER SENTENCED

Family members of Anthony Hamlin faced another one of his killers in court Tuesday. Timothy Johnson was sentenced to 19 years, 6 months in prison for his role in killing Hamlin, a 40-year-old Groton father of five and Eastern Pequot Tribe member. Johnson confessed to the killing, saying he and Christopher Vincenti meant to rob Hamlin but that the killing was an accident.

SUB BASE SAFE

A bill, which would authorize $700 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2018, passed by a vote of 89 to 8 in the senate on Monday. A proposed amendment to the bill from Senators John McCain and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed for another round of military base closures and consolidations known as BRAC did not make it into the version of the defense policy bill that the Senate voted on Monday. The base was slated for closure during BRAC rounds in 1993

and 2005. It was saved both times. U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, praised the Senate’s rejection of the amendment, saying it was the “right thing” to do, and said the region “must remain vigilant in defending” the base. The House’s version of the bill does not authorize a BRAC round either.

FITCH BAND GOING OVERSEAS

The Fitch High School marching band and chamber choir has been invited by the deputy lord mayor of the City of Westminster, to perform in the 2019 London New Years Day Parade and Festival. Robert Davis made the trip from London to Groton to make the invitation official. Andrew Lefebvre, director of bands at Fitch, said he found out over the summer that the marching band had been selected. He expects 75 to 100 students will go on the trip, which has an estimated cost of $3,000 per student.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED

An eight year veteran business teacher is Norwich Free Academy’s 2017 Teacher of the Year. She is Linda Farinha, who wants her students to take an active role in their own education and to know that their actions while in school will affect their future lives and careers. Farinha started her own career with a degree in business before becoming a teacher. She did her student teaching at NFA.

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