MONDAY EVENING UPDATE

BUDGET WOES

Kelly Middle School in Norwich

More workshop meetings are planned between the Norwich City Council and the city’s school board regarding the education budget. The two groups met for two hours tonight at the Kelly Middle School, trying to reach a consensus on how to plug a potential 2-million dollar shortfall in this year’s budget, and deal with a requested 9-percent spending increase from the board of Ed for the next fiscal year. Few answers could be found, but alderman Joe DeLucia echoed the thoughts of his fellow council members by saying a 9-percent increase won’t fly. School officials say most of the budget increase is due to costly federal and state mandated programs, including rising special education and transportation expenses. They also say not obeying the mandates could land the city in legal trouble. The school board has said it may itself sue the city if aldermen don’t approve a budget that properly funds education. A preliminary budget is to be adopted by the city council Monday night.

GUN VIOLENCE FORUM AT FITCH

Fitch High School in Groton

Gun violence is the primary focus of a town hall forum at Fitch High School in Groton. Monday’s event was hosted by Senator Richard Blumenthal. Freshman Ethan Santrock says he believes Congress should re-visit the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms. Blumenthal says he’s always pushing for more gun control, which doesn’t sit well with members of the National Rifle Association, as shown by the annual letter grade he receives from the NRA. Blumenthal praised high school students across Connecticut who have drawn attention to gun violence by staging walkouts on school campuses. He says continued protests will keep the issue front and center, forcing Congress to take action.

WATER TREATMENT PLANT GROUND-BREAKING

One of the region’s major water treatment facilities is getting a much-needed facelift. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday to celebrate a 54-million dollar renovation project at the Groton Utilities Water Treatment plant. Director Ron Gaudet says this is the first significant upgrade at the facility since 1960. Governor Dannel Malloy says the state is doing its part to support the project. The plant provides water to Groton City, Groton Town, Ledyard, and other communities. The upgrades are expected to be completed by the summer of 2022.

MONTVILLE KILLER CASE TO GO TO STATE SUPREME COURT

George Leniart, April Dawn Pennington (NBC CT)

The case against a convicted Montville murderer goes before the state’s high court Wednesday. The state appellate court says 52-year old George Leniart should get a new trial because the judge in the case improperly excluded testimony, and also failed to let jurors see a video of a state police interview of a key witness against the defendant. The prosecution has appealed the appellate court ruling. Leniart was found guilty in March 2010 of murdering 15-year old April Pennington, and has been serving a life term in the Cheshire Correctional facility. A ruling from the state supreme court isn’t expected for several months.

SELLING XL

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Authorities in Connecticut are looking to sell Hartford’s aging downtown arena.   The Capital Regional Development Authority opened bidding for the XL Center on Monday. The authority is a quasi-public agency created by the General Assembly to manage various Hartford development projects, including the XL Center, which is owned by the city. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had proposed the state spend $250 million to upgrade the facility during an unsuccessful campaign last year to keep it in government hands. Authority Executive Director Michael Freimuth says the CRDA has received multiple bids. Freimuth says any proposals will probably need “some state participation.” The arena currently hosts University of Connecticut basketball and hockey games as well as other events. Proposals are due by June 29.

SPADA DIES

Arthur Spada (Fox 61)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Former Connecticut judge and state public safety Commissioner Arthur Spada, who rooted out police corruption as a one-person grand jury in the 1990s, has died. He was 85. Spada died Thursday according to his obituary . The cause was not disclosed. The death was confirmed by the D’Esopo Funeral Chapel. The Hartford native was nominated as a judge by Democratic Gov. Ella Grasso in 1977. His corruption probe led to the arrests of eight police officers. He was named public safety commissioner by Republican Gov. John Rowland in 2000 and drew criticism for personally stopping speeding motorists. He was among several state agency commissioners to resign in 2004 at the request of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, after Rowland resigned amid a corruption probe. His funeral is Thursday in West Hartford.

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