THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

PAY AS YOU THROW SCRUTINIZED

Over 100 residents attend an informational forum on a proposal to adopt a pay-as-you-throw trash program in New London. Dan McSparrin was one of several people to speak out against the idea, which would require people to pay for specially marked trash bags to dispose of garbage. Opponents are calling it a form of taxation they will never get back. New London has already received state grant money to implement the program, which must be approved by the city council. Last night’s forum was held at the Science and Technology Magnet High School.

FARES UP, REST AREAS CLOSED

Be prepared for an increase in transportation fares and closed rest stops due to rising debt at the state Department of Transportation. The DOT Commissioner told local municipal leader yesterday that unless new revenues are appropriated to the Special Transportation Fund, bus fares will see a 15 percent increase and rail fares will go up ten percent by next year. The skyrocketing debt is being blamed on a 14 cent gas tax reduction that took effect in 1997. Town leaders are also grappling with the news of state-owned rest stop closures, which they say may threaten tourism.

RETREAT CENTER OK

Following four complaints from Masons Island residents last summer, the St. Edmund Retreat Center has been found, by town officials, not to be in violation of local zoning regulations. Residents have questioned the legality of the center in the past. A reference to the fact that a retreat center is not allowed under the current RC-120 zoning where Enders Island is located was deemed unobjectionable because the retreat center, developed across three different zoning designations, predates zoning regulations there. The center was founded in 1954. No zoning regulations were in effect until 1961.

LOOKING FOR LIFEGUARDS

Beginning April 1st, Norwich officials will begin interviewing applicants for five lifeguard positions to watch over swimmers at Mohegan Park’s Spaulding Pond this summer. The city hopes to avoid last summer’s situation when the pond remained closed all season. Applicants must be be at least 17 1/2 years old and need certification in basic lifesaving. Lifeguards typically work from noon to 6 p.m., daily. The job pays $13.50 per hour. The beach season typically lasts ten weeks and ends in late August.

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