BALTIC MILL FIRE
Debris catching fire while on-site contractors were doing some pipe-cutting is being blamed for a multi-alarm blaze this afternoon at the vacant Baltic Mill property in Sprague. Nineteen fire departments responded to the Bushnell Hollow Road site around 3 PM. Smoke could reportedly be seen for some 20 miles. No injuries reported. Baltic fire chief Bob Tardiff credits the help from many neighboring fire companies for keeping brush fires that were sparked by the main blaze from spreading to nearby homes. Just last week, town officials and residents had heard about possible re-uses for the vacant mill.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes are welcoming an investigation by the U.S. Department of Interior’s inspector general into how the agency has handled their proposal for a casino on non-tribal land. The department took no action on proposed amendments to the revenue-sharing agreements between Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. State legislation requires federal approval of those changes before the new jointly owned casino can open in East Windsor to compete with a new MGM Resorts casino in Massachusetts. A spokeswoman for the inspector general confirmed Monday the probe began in mid-February. It was requested by Connecticut’s congressional delegation. A spokesman for the tribes says “something clearly happened to pollute the process.” Politico is reporting Trump administration officials rejected recommendations from staff to approve the tribes’ proposed amendments.
CHIEF JUSTICE NOMINEE GETTING HIGH MARKS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State lawmakers are praising Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s latest choice for the chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, with a top Republican on the Judiciary Committee predicting Associate Justice Richard Robinson will “be fabulous” in his elevated post. Robinson appeared Monday before the committee for his confirmation hearing. A vote was expected later in the evening. If approved, as expected, Robinson still needs to clear the full General Assembly.,Robinson would be the state’s first black chief justice. Robinson was asked repeatedly asked Monday about how he’d to make the judicial system fairer to minority citizens. Robinson currently chairs a committee that focuses on diversity training in the courts. He assured lawmakers “the buck will stop with me.” Malloy’s original nominee for chief justice, Justice Andrew McDonald, was defeated.
NOROVIRUS CLOSES WCSU
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) – Health officials have confirmed that norovirus sickened about 100 students at Western Connecticut State University and prompted the school to close for the day for disinfecting. State Department of Public Health officials said Monday that testing confirmed norovirus, which is a highly contagious bug that causes diarrhea, nausea, muscle pain, vomiting and other symptoms. University officials said both campuses in Danbury are closed Monday as maintenance crews clean and disinfect school buildings. About 5,700 students attend WCSU. Health officials are urging students and staff to frequently wash their hands with soap and water and, if they have symptoms, to avoid certain activities including preparing food for others and working in day cares, health care facilities and restaurants. The source of the norovirus outbreak wasn’t immediately clear.
MAN TRIES TO BRING LOADED GUN ONTO PLANE
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) – A man has been arrested at a Connecticut airport for trying to board a flight with a loaded gun. State police say 39-year-old Matthew English of Torrington was detained Monday when Transportation Security Administration officers at Bradley International Airport discovered a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage. Local and state police questioned and arrested English, who was set to board a flight to Atlanta. This is the first firearm detected in carry-on luggage at the Windsor Locks airport this year. English is charged with a weapons violation and circumventing airport security, and was released on a $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court in May. English did not return a call for comment.
RISQUE BILLBOARD COMING DOWN
TOLLAND, Conn. (AP) – The owner of a Connecticut adult entertainment club has agreed to replace a risqué billboard along an interstate highway. The Journal Inquirer of Manchester first reported on the billboard for the Electric Blue Cafe in Tolland, which features two scantily clad dancers. The billboard went up along Interstate 84 a couple of weeks ago. Tolland Town Manager Steven Werbner says several residents and commuters complained. Werbner says he’s aware of the club’s First Amendment rights and knew he probably could not force the club to take down the billboard. So he wrote owner Ken Denning asking him to change it voluntarily. Denning agreed. Denning says he has a good relationship with the town and doesn’t want anything to interfere with that. He says it will take about a month to replace the billboard.
WILKOS’ DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE COULD BE DROPPED
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) – TV talk show host and Jerry Springer protégé Steve Wilkos will have a drunken driving charge in Connecticut erased from his record if he completes the state’s alcohol education program. The Advocate reports that Wilkos was granted admission into the diversionary program Monday during a hearing in Stamford Superior Court. Police say the 53-year-old Wilkos crashed his sport-utility vehicle in Darien on Jan. 21 and his blood-alcohol level was .29, more than three times the legal limit. Wilkos will have to complete a 15-week educational or treatment program and take part in a panel with victims of drunken driving. He has said he had a “complete lapse in judgment” when he drove drunk. His lawyer said Monday that Wilkos has dealt with the issue very seriously.