TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

NPU RATE HEARING

Business and residential customers complained to Norwich’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners tonight about proposed utility rate hikes for the new fiscal year. NPU is seeking increases in all four of its divisions, due to inflation and rising fixed costs. Atlantic City Linen Supply senior vice-president Victor Nappen says its laundry facility in the city’s business park, one of NPU’s largest customers, has had to absorb utility increases since it located in Norwich in 2003, and now may not be able to. Attorney Glen Carberry, representing the company, says it may have to consider downsizing or moving out of Norwich, if the rate hikes are approved. That decision is expected to be made at the Commissioners’ meeting on May 22nd.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE CONSOLIDATION REJECTED

Mark Ojakian

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – An accreditation organization has rejected a plan to consolidate Connecticut’s 12 community colleges into a single institution, putting the system’s future in limbo. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education said Tuesday it was not persuaded that it’s realistic to have a single statewide community college by July 2019 with 12 separate campuses. The commission says it’s concerned that the “potential for a disorderly environment for students is too high.” Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and University System, says the commission’s rejection “severely hampers” the system’s ability to keeping serving its 55,000 community college students. He says the system is now “back at the drawing board” to see what can be done to keep “from going bankrupt,” including higher tuition and closing at least one school.

ROWDY ARRAIGNMENT

David Edwards (Patch)

Today’s court arraignment of a New London murder suspect included angry words expressed inside and outside the courtroom. 39-year old David Edwards appeared in New London Superior Court after being charged Monday night in the April 2nd fatal shooting of 27-year old Jason Fine near the American Legion on Garfield Avenue. Family members of both the alleged shooter and victim shouted at each other for awhile, before going their own ways, with a member of Fine’s family yelling “Fry Him!” following the arraignment. Edwards is being held on 1-point-5 million dollars bond, and is to appear in court again May 15th.

NASKART NOW SUPERCHARGED

The world’s largest indoor multi-level go-kart racing track is partnering   with one of the world’s premier casino and resort destinations. Mohegan Sun assistant general manager Jeff Hamilton says teaming up with the Naskart Track on Route 85 in Montville is a no-brainer. The Naskart Track has been re-named Supercharged, Powered by Mohegan Sun. The facility will offer special benefits to members of Mohegan Sun’s loyalty rewards program. Track spokesman Cody Browning says the partnership has nothing to do with Foxwoods’ plan to open its own go-kart track this summer.

NEW NEW LONDON SCHOOL SUPER TO BE NAMED

Cynthia Ritchie (courant.com)

New London’s school board Thursday night is expected to name East Hartford Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie as the new head of the Whaling City’s school system. Ritchie has been overseeing 10 elementary schools in East Hartford since 2014, and has previously served as a principal and administrator for Salem schools. Ritchie would replace interim New London school chief Stephen Tracy, who replaced Manuel Rivera last year, after Rivera unexpectedly announced his retirement. The appointment of Ritchie would be contingent on final adoption of contract terms.

DECD TROUBLES

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State auditors say the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development provided inaccurate or unsupported information about job creation and tax credits tied to various state initiatives designed to grow or retain jobs. In a preliminary audit released Tuesday, the Auditors of Public Accounts found problems with a laundry list of DECD programs that provide state assistance to manufacturers, small businesses and others. The auditors say some data used by the department overstates the economic impact of each program. DECD says in the audit report that the agency “will be making many improvements in securing accurate and timely data and correct formulas for future annual reports.” The agency says it plans to reissue its 2017 annual report with corrected data.   Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano calls Tuesday’s audit report “disturbing.”

FORMER SPORTS STAND-OUTS WORRY ABOUT LEGALIZED SPORTS BETTING

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Two professional sports heroes say if Connecticut decides to legalize sports betting, there must be regulations in place to protect the integrity of their respective sports. Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell and former New York Mets and New York Yankees star Al Leiter were meeting Tuesday with state lawmakers to discuss legislation still awaiting action. They were joined by representatives of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the Professional Golfers’ Association. Some lawmakers want Connecticut to have a regulatory framework in place in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a 1992 law forbidding all but Nevada and three other states from authorizing gambling on college and professional sports. Maxwell says the game and players need to be protected, adding, “you don’t want a black eye for the sport.”

REVERSE MORTGAGE BILL MOVING AHEAD

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Legislation aimed at better protecting consumers who are applying for reverse mortgages is moving through the Connecticut General Assembly. The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that expands the counseling and certification requirements for such mortgages, which allow homeowner to convert accumulated home equity into cash. The proposal now awaits action in the House of Representatives. Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney of New Haven says he has received an alarming number of reports of “reverse mortgage lenders preying on seniors in Connecticut.” The bill requires reverse mortgage lenders to inform prospective applicants of counseling requirements and provide a list of federally approved, independent housing counseling agencies. Lenders would have to obtain a signed certification from a prospective applicant that they received counseling in-person or by telephone.

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