FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

IMMIGRANT COLLEGE AID BILL SIGNED

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation that allows immigrant students without legal status to be eligible for institutional financial aid at state-run colleges and universities. Malloy said Friday he hopes the actions taken in Connecticut will counteract attempts in Washington, D.C. to “punish” immigrant children by ending DACA, the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He says the new law sends a message “there is another way” and people can be treated “fairly and honestly.” Malloy signed the legislation in his Capitol office, surrounding by immigrant students. Some have worked for five years to pass the bill, which takes effect in January 2020.   Proponents say the students should receive aid from a fund they paid into with tuition. Opponents worry students living here legally could be harmed.

BROKAW SAYS NO TO SACRED HEART, FACES HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS

Tom Brokaw

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) – A Connecticut university says former news anchor Tom Brokaw has withdrawn as commencement speaker after facing allegations of sexual harassment. Sacred Heart University in Fairfield says Brokaw notified school officials of the cancellation Friday. University president John Petillo says he respects and agrees with Brokaw’s decision to keep the focus on students at the May 13 ceremony.   A woman who worked as a war correspondent for NBC News told Variety and The Washington Post that Brokaw groped her and tried to forcibly kiss her in the 1990s. The 78-year-old Brokaw has denied the allegations. Brokaw will be replaced at the graduation by Linda McMahon, who serves on President Donald Trump’s cabinet as head of the Small Business Administration. McMahon is a school donor and previously served on the Catholic university’s governing board.

ARRESTS EXPECTED IN SCHOOL BUS PELLET GUN SHOOTING

New London police expect arrests to be made in connection with a pellet-gun shooting at a school bus. The Wednesday afternoon incident happened at the high school around 2:30 PM. Police say the pellets shot out a rear window of the bus, which was occupied at the time. No injuries reported. The gun seems to have been fired from a moving vehicle. Police say it was an isolated incident.

FATAL CONSTRUCTION FALL

VERNON, Conn. (AP) – A woman working at an apartment building under construction in Vernon has died after falling about 10 feet through a hole in the first floor. Authorities say the 55-year-old woman was working as a subcontractor at The Grand Lofts building when she fell into the basement at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. Officials say she died after being flown by helicopter to Hartford Hospital. The woman’s name has not been released. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Police, the town fire marshal and officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the scene.

MURPHY: WHY ALL THE DISCONNECTS?

Senator Chris Murphy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says Connecticut regulators are investigating why utility Eversource has nearly doubled the number of electricity service shut-offs for nonpayment over the past few years. The Connecticut Democrat said Friday that he was told by the chairwoman of the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority that the agency is looking into the disconnections. Murphy called for the agency to investigate after WTNH-TV reported in February that electricity service disconnections by Eversource increased to nearly 52,300 in 2017 from about 28,900 in 2015, based on the agency’s data.   Spokesmen for Eversource and the state regulatory authority did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday. Eversource officials have said disconnections may have increased because of rising energy prices, and say the company offers customers information about programs to help.

RALLY FOR GRASSO TECH CARPENTRY

Some 20 people rally outside Grasso Tech in Groton Friday morning urging the state not to discontinue the carpentry training program at the school. School grads, state lawmakers, and community representatives were among those saying the program is still needed. State education officials say low enrollment is prompting the department to end the program at Grasso Tech after this semester, with students that are in the curriculum to go to Norwich Tech.

GUBERNATORIAL HOPEFUL DROPS OUT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Former Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris is suspending his race for governor. The Democrat made the announcement on Friday, saying it was a “tough decision” but he feels it’s best for the state and the Democratic Party to rally behind a single candidate. He says “now is the time where we all have to work together. We have to be cohesive.” He is throwing his support to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, who ran for governor in 2010 and for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He is urging other candidates to follow suit. Harris is a former mayor of West Hartford, a state senator and a former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party. Democrats are meeting at their May 18-19 convention to choose candidates for the November elections, including governor.

SANDY HOOK PARENTS SAY NO TO CONGRESS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Two parents whose children were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut have announced they’re not running for Congress. Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley were urged by Democrats to consider running for the 5th District seat held by Democrat Elizabeth Esty, who is not seeking re-election amid criticism of how she handled harassment in her office. Barden and Hockley said Friday they want to be with their surviving children and continue working for Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention group they founded. Daniel Barden and Dylan Hockley were among 20 first-graders killed in the shooting, along with six educators. Dr. William Petit Jr., a Republican state representative whose wife and two daughters were killed in a 2007 home invasion, also declined to seek Esty’s seat.

DANGEROUS SNAKE SALES

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut police have charged a man they say was trying to sell venomous snakes it is illegal to possess in the state. State environmental police on Thursday charged 21-year-old Cameron DeFrances with multiple counts of illegal possession of wild animals and reckless endangerment after finding seven live snakes including a viper and several cobras as well as two dead snakes in his Meriden home. State officials got a search warrant after getting a tip from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that DeFrances was selling snakes through social media. The serpents were seized and transported to a reptile facility with the help of a qualified specialist. DeFrances was freed on $1,000 bond pending a May 10 court date. A listed home phone number for DeFrances was out of service Friday.

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