TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

DEAD BODY ID

(Old Lyme, CT) — State Police have identified a body found in Old Lyme. Troopers found the dead body on the shore near Hatchett’s Point yesterday afternoon. He was identified today as 44-year-old New Britain resident Juan Colon. He’s been missing since late November. Investigators say there is no criminal aspect to Colon’s death.

PRESTON VOTERS SAY YES TWICE

Preston voters today give the go-ahead to spend money for a second resident state trooper and for capital improvements in the town. Both referendum questions pass by healthy margins. First selectman Bob Congdon is pleased, especially with the capital projects bond issue. The 5-year 3-point-56 million dollar capital plan will pay for new fire trucks, school buses, roof repairs for the Preston Plains School, and a new gym floor for the Veterans Memorial School, along with other improvements. Congdon says he’ll be in touch with state police Troop E to see when the second resident state trooper will begin patrolling the town. The position had been cut by the town’s Board of Finance last Spring, due to budget concerns.

PURA HEARING

Mostly negative feedback tonight from the public regarding an Eversource Energy request to hike its distribution rates. The Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority held a hearing at New London City Hall. The increase, if approved by regulators, would add about 6 dollars, on average, to a customer’s monthly charges, as of May 1st. Former Montville mayor and first selectman Russ Beetham says it’s tough enough as it is to live in the state, without another rate hike from Eversource. Company spokesman Mitch Gross says the fee increase will pay for much needed infrastructure improvements. PURA is also reviewing a request from Eversource to lower a separate customer distribution service charge by some seven dollars a month.

NPU GIVES MORE $ TO ECHO

A longtime partnership in Norwich continues as Norwich Public Utilities contributes to the non-profit Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities or ECHO. NPU presented a half million dollar check to the affordable housing operator today to rehabilitate 32 units. ECHO Executive Director Peter Battles says they are using the money to improve, from top to bottom, a building in Taftville they’ve owned since 1989. Exterior work is being tackled on the other 15 units on Mechanic Street. NPU Division Manager Steve Sinko says NPU’s contribution to ECHO over the past decade and a half amount to more than $4.5 million. The money goes through a tax credit program from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.

NORWICH PENSION AGREEMENT

Norwich is expected to experience some significant cost savings as the result of new pension amendment agreements approved Monday night by the city council. The agreements are with ten labor unions, representing city government, school, and Public Utilities employees. The changes are retro-active to January 1st and run through January 1st, 2028. Estimated savings are 650-thousand dollars for the city in the early years of the agreement to about 1-point-5 million by the year 2038.

CT DEMOCRATS CONSIDERING MINIMUM WAGE HIKE

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly are pledging to increase the state’s minimum wage. House and Senate leaders on Tuesday said they’ll push for a “livable wage” during the new legislative session, which opens Wednesday. Connecticut’s minimum wage is currently $10.10 an hour. Democratic Senate President Martin Looney suggests the wage could climb to $11 an hour, beginning January 2019. It would then increase to $15 by 2023. He says lawmakers could then link the wage to an index, ensuring it would automatically increase without the General Assembly having to pass legislation every few years. The minimum wage idea appears on the Democrats’ so-called “values agenda,” which also includes paid family medical leave. Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano says some of the Democrats’ proposals are “nothing more than political rhetoric.”

CLEAN WATER LAWSUIT

NEW YORK (AP) – Eleven Democratic state attorneys general, including Connecticut’s George Jepsen, have sued President Donald Trump’s administration for holding off a government rule aimed at reducing pollution in the nation’s waterways. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says last week’s suspension of the 2015 Clean Water Rule by the Republican administration is an assault on public health, including drinking water sources. The federal Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t responded to a request for comment. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan by Schneiderman and his counterparts in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. It seeks to stop the government from delaying implementation of the rule. The Obama-era rule expanded the definitions for wetlands and small waterways under the Clean Water Act. Agribusiness, mining and industry groups opposed it.

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