TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

AVOIDING FUTURE TIFFS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers are being urged to consider ways to prevent or mitigate any future impasses between insurance companies and health care systems, like the seven-week dispute between Hartford HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Ideas being suggested Tuesday range from the state setting hospital rates to the creation of a new binding arbitration system. The Insurance and Real Estate Committee is holding hearings on the Hartford HealthCare and Anthem standoff, despite their recent agreement on a new three-year contract. Thousands of Connecticut patients insured through Anthem were considered out-of-network and faced higher out-of-pocket costs, canceled medical procedures and had general confusion about coverage. Representatives from both entities are apologizing for the disruption, noting it was a rarity. But State Comptroller Kevin Lembo warns similar disputes could occur in the future.

SOME HELP FOR CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut homeowners with crumbling foundations can now seek state reimbursement for testing expenses. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday that homeowners can submit applications online at www.foundationtesting.org. The state is making $5 million available to provide up to 50 percent reimbursement to test for the presence of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide. The reimbursement is limited to two core samples within a home. It’s capped at $2,000. Homeowners are eligible for 100 percent reimbursement for visual testing conducted by a licensed professional engineer. Eligible homes must have been built after 1983 and located within a 20-mile radius of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs. The firm provided concrete aggregate containing the naturally occurring mineral, which has reacted over time to water and air, causing deterioration.

HEROIN INDICTMENTS

10 people, most living in Southeastern Connecticut, have all been charged with heroin trafficking, as part of a continuing crack-down on a local drug ring. Connecticut U-S Attorney John Durham says a Hartford grand jury Tuesday issued a 14-count indictment. Among those charged: 26-year old William Gonzalez-Nieves of Norwich, and 32-year old Michael Luciano, 28-year old Selena Mena, and 47-year old Roberto Roman, all from New London. All but one of the defendants were arrested November 14th on twelve federal search warrants, with authorities seizing more than three kilograms of heroin, as well as fentanyl and cash. All suspects are being detained.

MURDER SUSPECT IN COURT

A New London man has been charged with fatally stabbing a city resident last month. 46-year old Metese Hinds appeared Tuesday in New London Superior Court, and had his bond set at 1-million dollars. He’s due back in court December 15th. Police say Hinds is accused of stabbing 33-year old Raheem General several times on a Blackhall Street fire escape October 24th. Police say Hinds was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine, and opiates at the time of the fatal attack. Hinds has a lengthy criminal record, including time served in New Jersey for an assault.

CONTROVERSIAL SPEAKER AT UCONN

Lucian Wintrich (Breitbart)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) – University of Connecticut police say they are taking measures to ensure public safety at a speech titled “It’s OK To Be White.” UConn’s College Republican student group is sponsoring the appearance tonight by conservative commentator Lucian Wintrich. Wintrich is the White House correspondent for the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit, which says the talk will be about “identity politics” in today’s cultural and political landscape. The Republicans say flyers advertising the event have been torn down or defaced across campus. UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz says free speech is among the school’s bedrock principals and it does not bar speakers on the basis of content. UConn’s College Democrats say they are sponsoring a discussion an hour before the speech, where activists from across the campus community can express their views.

STATE BOND MONEY EXPECTED FOR SCHOOLS

Money for numerous school improvement projects in two local municipalities is expected to be approved Wednesday by the State Bond Commission. More than 849-thousand dollars is to go to the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich for various upgrades to things such as the playground, floors, and the heating and air conditioning systems. Money is also set aside to improve the drinking water fountains in several Norwich Public schools, as well as some paving work. The school and community bus lot in Baltic is slated for new paving and L-E-D lighting. Money is also appropriated for brownfield remediation work at the Ponemah Mill Apartments complex in Taftville.

BENNY’S BUYER

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island real estate firm has announced it will purchase the locations of southern New England retail chain Benny’s, which is closing its doors this year. A spokesman for Benny’s said Tuesday the Carpionato Group signed an agreement to purchase the properties. The parties anticipate it to close during the first quarter of next year. The deal involves locations in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement comes after the Bromberg family, which owns the chain, announced they are retiring. The company says the decision to close was influenced by the changing retail market and the dominance of online retailers such as Amazon. The company plans to close all its 31 stores by the end of 2017.

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