TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

CHELSEA GARDENS DIES

The Chelsea Gardens project is dead. Foundation officials announce last night that the lack of available funding is forcing the group to seek early termination of its lease with the city of Norwich. Attorney Ted Phillips, who’s now representing the foundation, says state and city money isn’t there for the proposed Mohegan Park botanical garden, and a lawsuit brought by a neighbor of the project in 2015 jeopardized any more private funding. Chelsea Gardens won the lawsuit filed by Butternut Drive resident Charles Evans, but Chelsea Foundation Board member Bob Reed says the damage to future fund-raising had been done. All plans and studies done for the project will be turned over to the city. A final termination agreement is expected to be completed within the next 30-45 days.

DODD STADIUM IMPROVEMENTS APPROVED

Norwich aldermen last night unanimously approve an 800-thousand dollar bond ordinance for new lighting and ventilation systems for Dodd Stadium. City Baseball Stadium Authority chairman Michael Jewell says the new, more cost-efficient L-E-D lights for the playing field are necessary to meet Major League Baseball standards and to keep the Connecticut Tigers as a tenant. The lighting and ventilation systems haven’t been upgraded in the 25-year history of the minor league ballpark. The bond money may also be used to extend the protective infield netting. Meanwhile, a 675-thousand dollar bond measure to integrate city technology systems was withdrawn by aldermen, but is expected to be re-introduced at a future council meeting.

PROSECUTORS MULLING FIGHT CLUB ARREST

Ryan Fish (Hartford Courant)

MONTVILLE, Conn. (AP) – Prosecutors are deciding whether school officials should be charged for failing to report a substitute teacher accused of running a “fight club” at a local high school. Police say cellphone videos show 23-year-old Ryan Fish encouraging students as they slap each other in a classroom at Montville High School. Fish was fired in October, but police were not notified until two months later. Superintendent Brian Levesque has said he did not alert police because he knew of only one fight and thought it was an isolated incident. A spokesman for the state’s top prosecutor told the Hartford Courant on Monday that local prosecutors will decide whether to bring charges against any school official.    Fish has denied facilitating the fights and pleaded not guilty to charges including reckless endangerment.

CATALA VS SOTO

New London Board of Education member Jason Catala has announced he will challenge incumbent state Rep. Chris Soto to be the Democratic candidate for the 39th District House seat and said he may petition for a primary. Catala is as an academic coach in the New Haven public school system, and has served seven terms on the school board and two terms on the city council. Catala made four unsuccessful runs for the 39th House District seat. He changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2013. Soto is running for a second term.

SEAT RIDERS NERVOUS

With the threat of seeing their local bus route eliminated, Stonington residents expressed their disappointment and fear at a public hearing Monday night. The Southeast Area Transit District has estimated it would save approximately $103,000 by eliminating Run 10. But for residents who depend on the run, the possibility of elimination has sparked fear about how they will continue to obtain some of their basic necessities, including food, medicine and access to work or health care. A recent SEAT study found that most people who use the bus live in the Brookside Village subsidized housing complex in Pawcatuck.

UPS CLOSES LOCAL STORE

The UPS Store in the Groton Square Shopping Center has closed. The United Parcel Service said their goal is to open another location in Groton as quickly as they can. Company spokeswoman Tracy Spahr said the store was an independently owned and operated franchise since 2005, and closed for “unforeseen” reasons. She said UPS has some prospects for finding a franchisee who wants to open in Groton. For shipping needs, the nearest UPS Customer Center is at 976 Hartford Turnpike in Waterford. Other local businesses that accept UPS packages include Staples, Pak It in Waterford, The Parcel Centre in East Lyme, and Mystic Mailbox.

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