THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

‘PERSON OF INTEREST” IN GRISWOLD FIRE

Griswold fire (WTNH)

GRISWOLD, Conn. (AP) – State police say they have developed a “person of interest” in connection with a house fire in Griswold that left two people dead. Firefighters responded to the blaze at Kenwood Estates early Wednesday morning and found one person dead. A second body was discovered Wednesday evening. Autopsies will be conducted and the identities of the people found in the home have not been released. State police said on Thursday that detectives investigating the fire came across the person of interest, but provided no other details and did not say if that person was in custody. Investigators have also said that a car fire Wednesday in the town of Glastonbury is believed to be associated with the Griswold blaze.

SEARCH FOR GRISWOLD SNOWMOBILER REMAINS ON HOLD

State environmental officials say it may be awhile before recovery efforts resume for a Griswold man who fell into Pachaug Pond last Saturday while on a snowmobile. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says it has to wait until the ice on the pond opens up more before a boat with sonar can be used to locate the body of 56-year old John Dubois. The search has been suspended since Sunday morning. DEEP officials say they’re regularly checking pond conditions.

MORE SUSPENSIONS AT WHITING

Image result for whiting psychiatric hospital in middletown ct

(Boston Herald)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) – Four additional workers have been suspended amid new allegations of patient abuse at Connecticut’s only maximum-security psychiatric hospital. Officials tell the Hartford Courant the suspensions were the result of misconduct that was captured on videotape and is being investigated by agency police. Officials say the most recent suspensions are separate from allegations that led to criminal charges against 10 workers at the Whiting psychiatric hospital in Middletown. Those workers are accused of abusing a patient by kicking the man and throwing food at him. About three dozen other workers have been suspended in connection with the earlier probe. Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon says abuse will not be tolerated at the facility and staff members will be held accountable for their actions.

GROTON ON-RAMP TO CLOSE

Next phase of Gold Star Bridge repairs to begin State transportation officials say the Bridge Street on-ramp in Groton to Interstate 95 south will be closed for the foreseeable future as of Saturday to improve traffic flow due to improvements being made to the Gold Star Bridge. Traffic will be diverted to Route 12 and then to the I-95 on-ramp there. North Street traffic will use Meridian Street, and Brandegee Avenue to access I-95.

CT UNEMPLOYMENT UP….

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A new report shows Connecticut lost 3,500 jobs in November, slowing job growth in the state. Thursday’s monthly Department of Labor employment report shows Connecticut’s unemployment rate is now 4.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent in October. Andy Condon, director of the agency’s Office of Research, acknowledges job growth in 2017 “has slowed significantly since peaking in the second quarter.” Over the past 12 months, Connecticut has grown 5,000 jobs. Connecticut Business and Industry Association economist Pete Gioia says this report signals a “full-blown crisis in jobs,” noting Connecticut’s unemployment rate is the highest in the region. Connecticut has now recovered 69.9 percent or 83,000 of the 119,100 jobs lost in the Great Recession. That’s compared to July, when the state had recovered 84 percent of those lost jobs.

…AS WELL AS RHODE ISLAND

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has ticked up to 4.3 percent. The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday the jobless rate for November was up one-tenth of a percentage point from the October rate. It’s still significantly lower than in previous years, when it reached peaks of more than 11 percent during the recession. The November 2016 rate was 5 percent. Rhode Island was slightly above the November national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. The state added 600 jobs in November. The manufacturing sector gained jobs for the first time since July. Officials say the number of jobs in Rhode Island overall is up 6,400 since January. The labor force totaled 554,700 in November, which is down 100 from October and up 3,600 from November 2016.

TIME TO SIGN UP!!

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut residents without health insurance are being urged to sign up for coverage before the state’s midnight deadline Friday night. Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman stressed Thursday how elimination of the health insurance mandate in the new Republican tax bill “doesn’t have any bearing on next year” and residents must be covered. Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance marketplace, has already signed up 106,000 people during this year’s shortened open enrollment period. CEO Jim Wadleigh says enrollment appears to be on pace with last year’s 110,000 sign-ups, despite confusion surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act. Customers can visit www.accesshealthct.com or call 1-855-372-2428 to sign up or renew plans. Last-minute enrollees can also send an email or leave a voicemail with their contact information before the deadline.

OPEN SPACE IN RI

HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island has purchased 30 acres of forest to be permanently preserved as open space. The Providence Journal reports that the state Department of Environmental Management used bond money approved by voters to purchase the property in Hopkinton. The department spent $132,000 to buy the land from Virginia Jalbert. Jalbert says the purchase will honor the memory of her parents, Joan and Jane Jalbert. The area includes several ponds, a bog and rhododendron forests. The department says some species of animals in the area are not located in other parts of the state, such as the black rat snake and the hooded warbler. The property will be open to the public for recreation, including hunting and hiking.

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