SCHOOL PROJECT APPROVED, GROUNDBREAKING TOMORROW
Groundbreaking for North Stonington’s school building project takes place tomorrow morning at 9 outside the Wheeler School Gymatorium. It’s happening after voters overwhelmingly agreed to continue with the 38-million dollar project. The measure passed by only three votes in 2016. Today it passed by more than 700 votes. The re-vote occurred after two people submitted petitions calling for it. The project, which will cost town taxpayers 21-million dollars, will renovate the elementary school, which has been plagued with PCB contamination. It’ll also construct a new combined middle and high school wing next to the gymatorium, and end the use of the tunnel under Route 2. The existing middle school may be demolished, unless another use is found for it.
NFA BUDGET APPROVED
No new programs, no changes in staffing levels, and the smallest tuition hike in seven years. It’s all part of the 35-point-nine million dollar budget for the next fiscal year approved tonight by the Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees. Head of School David Klein says tuition will go up one-and-a-half percent, while each school department has been ordered to cut 5-percent from its current spending. Klein says enrollment is expected to dip only slightly next year, which he says is quite an achievement, considering the increased high school choice in the area. NFA’s privately-funded foundation is donating 1-point-5 million dollars to help offset budget costs.
BYSIEWICZ CONSIDERING GUBERNATORIAL RUN
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz says she’s now exploring a run for governor. The Middletown Democrat on Thursday announced she has filed the necessary paperwork after previously exploring a run for the state Senate. Bysiewicz says she will continue “to do the due diligence” before deciding whether to form an official candidate committee for governor. Bysiewicz is one of the better-known candidates or potential candidates in the 2018 gubernatorial race, which has attracted about two dozen contenders. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not seeking a third term in office. Bysiewicz served as secretary of the state from 1999 to 2011. A former state representative, she previously ran for other offices, including governor, attorney general and the U.S. Senate. She is currently a lawyer in private practice.
MORE CT FLU DEATHS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Public health officials have added another 11 deaths to the tally of flu fatalities in Connecticut. The Department of Public Health says 63 people have succumbed to the flu since August and 52 of the fatalities were among patients over age 65. A total of 1,360 patients have been hospitalized in Connecticut with confirmed cases of influenza between Aug. 27, 2017 and Feb. 3. Public Health Commissioner Raul Pino says flu activity remains widespread in the state and peak flu season is still weeks away. He said it’s not too late for people to receive the flu shot. Several local health departments throughout the state are planning to hold low or no-cost flu vaccine clinics on Saturday .
POSSIBLE COP-TRAINING CHANGES
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut officials are being asked to consider removing a military mentality from police training in the state, a learning model aimed at improving public trust in law enforcement.
The recommendation is one of many in a new report to state lawmakers by a task force comprised of police officials, local politicians and academics. The panel says officials should consider training officers to be guardians rather than warriors. Washington state trains officers with the “guardian” approach and says recruits can focus better on learning. Some Connecticut police officials worry the method would “soften” police officers and put their lives at greater risk. The legislature’s public safety committee intends to hold a public hearing on the report. No date has been set.
PAZ EX-FRIEND SPEAKS OUT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A former friend of retired boxer Vinny Paz denies stealing from the former champion before getting into an altercation with him in January. Thirty-four year old Nathaneal Lavoie of Providence says he has borrowed money from Paz and paid it back, but didn’t take the $16,000 Paz accuses him of stealing. The 55-year-old former champ responded to Lavoie by Tweeting, “HIS 15 min of fame make sure he shows you his rap sheet! Call my lawyer!! No comments.” Providence police charged Paz with assault after the Jan. 2 altercation. He is due back in court in April. Lavoie was taken to the hospital with injuries including several broken teeth, a black eye and bite marks that drew blood. He says he broke Paz’s nose during the fight.