THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

THAMES RIVER APTS. FIRE

New London fire officials are investigating a fire that broke out this morning in a second-floor unit of the Thames River Apartments on Crystal Avenue. Officials report the tenant living in the affected apartment had left about 15 minutes before the blaze broke out. One person was treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire was quickly put out. The apartment complex is in the process of being vacated, as it’s slated for demolition due to its run-down condition.

HEARINGS SOUGHT ON SEX HARASSMENT POLICIES

Martin Looney

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democratic leaders of the Connecticut Senate want public hearings held on the General Assembly’s sexual harassment policies and whether any changes need to be made. Democratic Senate President Martin Looney said Thursday the policies were last updated in July 2014 and lawmakers are seeking input from members of the public and experts. It’s unclear when the hearings would be held. The Associated Press recently requested records from all four legislative caucuses and the Office of Legislative Management regarding any sexual misconduct or harassment complaints against lawmakers since 2008. All reported having no records of formal complaints filed against lawmakers. They also said they had no records of financial settlements paid because of misconduct or harassment. Caucus staff confirmed several former lawmakers in the past were verbally reprimanded for inappropriate behavior.

JUVENILE INMATE HEARING

Diana Urban

Back in November, a juvenile detention officer in Hartford was arrested after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old inmate. That didn’t sit well with North Stonington Representative Diana Urban, who serves as House chair of the state legislature’s Children’s Committee. She called a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways to improve the care of juveniles at Connecticut detention centers. Chief court administrator Patrick Carroll says he plans on taking the necessary steps to prevent incidents of sexual assault and abuse. Urban says it’s impossible to make detention centers 100-percent safe, but it’s important to do everything possible to make sure juvenile inmates are protected.

BIGGER BILLS FOR BOZRAH LIGHT AND POWER CUSTOMERS

Three rate increases over the next three years are in store for electricity customers of Bozrah Light and Power. Director of Utilities Ron Gaudet says the Utilities Commission has approved 3-percent rate hikes for April 1st of this year, next year, and 2020. It’s the first time in a decade rates have gone up. Gaudet says the rate hikes are intended to maintain the utility’s minimum amount of cash balances and cash reserves. B-L-and P is a subsidiary of Groton Utilities.

UCONN ORTHODONTICS PROF ACCUSED OF BIAS

Dr. Ravindra Nanda

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – University of Connecticut documents accuse a prominent, now-retired orthodontics professor of subjecting Muslim and Arab resident doctors to disparaging remarks about their nationalities and retaliating against them for cooperating with an inquiry into his conduct. A 2016 report obtained by The Associated Press recommended that UConn Health officials consider disciplining Dr. Ravindra Nanda, a native of what is now Pakistan. The report was by an investigator with UConn Health’s Office of Institutional Equity. Nanda retired last fall, more than a year after the report was issued. It’s not clear if Nanda was disciplined. A UConn Health spokesman says Thursday that officials took appropriate measures but would not elaborate. The report says Nanda denied the allegations.   Nanda’s lawyer says Nanda appealed the report’s findings and there was a confidential resolution.

DELAURO IN PUERTO RICO

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro is the latest member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to survey the hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The Democrat is traveling to the island on Thursday and Friday. She is being joined by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Grace Meng of New York, a colleague on the Appropriations Committee. DeLauro says she remains “deeply concerned about the response to the ongoing crisis in Puerto,” noting how hundreds of Puerto Ricans have taken refuge in Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. DeLauro is expected to receive briefings and tour a hospital, school and community center during her visit. Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy visited the island earlier this month. They’ve since called for more federal assistance to the U.S. territory.

SENTENCING IN FATAL CRASH INVOLVING GRANDMOTHER

Omar Velez

Sentencing today in Danielson Superior Court for a Massachusetts man who fatally struck a Woodstock grandmother at a Thompson intersection in September, 2015. 22-year old Omar Velez pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine, and will serve three months in prison, and a year on probation. Police say Velez failed to obey a stop sign, and hit 50-year old Penny Woodbury on her motorcycle. Woodbury had only been married for three months, and supported many local cancer fundraising events. Velez was also ordered to donate 500-dollars to a local charity supported by Woodbury.

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