DERBYGATE 1 YEAR OLD
It was exactly one year ago today that the Norwich Ethics Commission decided to hold probable cause hearings regarding the Derbygate controversy. The decision led to a months-long investigation into the all-expense paid trips for Norwich officials, courtesy of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. Eventually, new tougher state oversight of CMEEC and similar groups was adopted, the chair and vice-chair of Norwich’s Public Utilities Commission stepped-down, and then-mayor Deb Hinchey repaid some of her trip expenses. Ethics Commission chairman Carol Menard says there’s also now an increased focus on city ethics laws. The ethics panel has requested Norwich aldermen look at some possible changes in city ethics regulations, such as an increase in the current 18-month look-back period into ethics complaints. Menard was re-elected chairman last night by the commission for another 2-year term.
ALLEGED KILLER IN COURT, VIC I’D
A man is charged with murder in connection with a deadly stabbing in New London. Police say Patrick McInerney stabbed a homeless man who was staying with him following an argument over rent Sunday night. The victim is identified as 49-year-old Robert Pomerleau. McInerney is charged with murder, and was ordered held on one-million-dollars bond during a brief court appearance yesterday.
NOT GIVING UP
Three former Groton town councilors calling themselves “Groton’s Right to Vote” are leading a group of residents to begin a petition drive to get the recently rejected Charter Revision Commission report on the ballot for the Nov. 6, 2018, election. The former Town Council rejected the commission report in a 5-4 vote last month. The petition needs ten percent of the registered voters in Groton or 2000 signatures within 45 days or by the deadline of January 12th. Groton has about 19000 registered voters. “Groton’s Right to Vote” has about 15 members, but about 20 people will be circulating the petition.
WEITLAUF RETURNS QUICKLY
Former board member Jay Weitlauf has been officially voted in by the Groton Board of Education to fill the vacancy that occurred when Gary Baker resigned halfway through his term. Weitlauf had been officially off the board for less than a week, as the term he previously held expired Dec. 5th. Baker’s resignation letter landed in the town clerk’s office on Dec. 4. Baker, who had missed 16 of the last 17 full board meetings, cited an inability to fulfill his obligation to the board.
MUSIC SCHOOL RELOCATING
The owners of the East Lyme-based String Theory School of Music, Chris and Amy Leigh are are planning to return a New London-owned former day school into a cutting-edge music school. They’re also negotiating a lease, with an eye toward purchasing the former Clinical Day School, affectionately known as the Little Red School House. The music school owners are negotiating a lease option that gives the school the ability to establish itself in the building before buying it. The couple expects to bring their students along from the East Lyme area to New London, while expanding the offerings of the school and partnering with local arts organizations such as the Garde Arts Center and Hygienic Art. The couple is exploring the idea of an after-school program and master classes with local musical artists.
EDUCATION BUDGET PRESENTED
With a second referendum next week, the North Stonington Board of Education presented the proposed school budget at it’s town meeting Monday to a strongly divided audience. The specifics outlined about the budget was the first time this year the board was able to directly discuss the budget with the residents. The budget calls for a zero percent increase from the previous year. Since 2009, the budget has only increased by more than one percent twice. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on the budget from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 18 at Town Hall.