FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

BUDGET WRANGLING

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers are at odds over how to retool next fiscal year’s budget, with a May 9 adjournment deadline approaching. Democrats and Republicans debated dueling budget proposals in the Appropriations Committee on Friday. Making matters more confusing, Democratic House members successfully “split” the joint committee, allowing only House members – not senators – to vote on the Democrats’ $20.8 billion plan. It passed 21-19, but its fate is uncertain. The Republicans’ $20.4 billion budget proposal was defeated by two votes. Ultimately, the plans may become the basis of a final budget agreement, which the full General Assembly must approve. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging both parties not to spend an income tax revenue windfall, saying it’s “one-time money” that should be saved in the budget reserve account.

VP TO SPEAK AT COAST GUARD COMMENCEMENT

Vice President Mike Pence

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence has been tapped to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony next month. Pence will deliver the keynote address at the May 23 ceremony at the campus in New London. President Donald Trump was the speaker at last year’s ceremony. The president and vice present typically each address the graduating class at one of the federal service academies on a rotating basis. The ceremony will mark the 137th commencement exercises at the academy.

EX-FIREFIGHTER SENTENCED

Kevin Wells (Plainfield police)

A former Plainfield firefighter will serve six months behind bars for sexually assaulting a teenage junior member of the department. Kevin Wells pleads guilty Friday in Danielson Superior Court to two counts of fourth degree sexual assault and first degree unlawful restraint. He’ll also be required to register as a sex offender, although his attorney will be allowed to argue against that punishment. Wells was an officer with the department. . He admits to having consensual sex three times with the 17-year old department cadet, once in the firehouse. The teenager says only two of those encounters were consensual.

STEALING FROM THE GOLDEN ARCHES

Two employees at the Norwichtown McDonald’s restaurant are facing embezzlement charges. City police say 30-year old Jolene Rochester, and 39-year old Patricia Dyer, both from Norwich, allegedly stole more than 32-thousand dollars from the till. Both suspects are each being held on 15-thousand dollars bond, and are to appear in Norwich Superior Court May 3rd.

ELECTION COMPLAINT TOSSED

An election complaint filed during last year’s mayoral campaign in Norwich has been tossed-out by the state Elections Enforcement Commission. Republican Peter Nystrom, who would go on to win the election, filed the complaint against petitioning candidate Jon Oldfield, claiming he improperly used his cable-access TV show to promote his campaign. The Commission said nothing wrong was done. Oldfield says he’s now considering filing a lawsuit against Nystrom and the city, claiming Nystrom’s complaint cost Oldfield the election. He finished a distant fourth in a five-candidate field.

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