TWO MORE TWISTERS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The National Weather Service has confirmed that two additional tornadoes struck in western Connecticut during this week’s severe storms, bringing the total to four. Nobody was injured by the twisters, which the weather service says hit Winsted at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday and the Barkhamsted Reservoir a few minutes later. The tornado in Winsted had estimated maximum winds of 95 mph, uprooting trees and damaging homes over an area of about seven-tenths of a mile. Meteorologists have little information about the tornado over the reservoir, which was confirmed from a video. No damage was reported. Tornadoes already had been confirmed between Beacon Falls and Hamden and between Southbury and Oxford. Two people were killed during the storm when trees fell on their vehicles in Danbury and New Fairfield.
MURDER SUSPECT READ HER RIGHTS
The Hartford woman charged in the deaths of a Griswold couple and their 21-year old son was back in New London Superior Court Thursday to have her Miranda Rights read to her. 23-year old Ruth Correa was arraigned Monday for allegedly killing Kenneth and Janet Lindquist back in December. Their charred bodies were found in the burned-out ruins of their Kenwood Estates residence. Their son’s remains were found earlier this month near where the fire was. Correa was told she has a right not to answer questions without an attorney present. She was not read her rights on Monday. Correa continues to be held on two-and-a-half million dollars bail, and is due back in court June 6th.
CHELSEA GARDENS COULD END SOON
The Chelsea Gardens Foundation is slated to go dark at the end of the month. The Norwich City Council is to decide Monday night whether to terminate the city’s lease with the organization as of May 31st. Chelsea Gardens officials are looking to end the more than 20-year effort to put a major botanical garden in Mohegan Park, due to a lack of interested investors. The group says negative publicity generated by a failed lawsuit against the project doomed its fate. Mayor Peter Nystrom is hoping some other group will step forward to take over the project, noting it’s shovel-ready.
I-84 ROAD RAGE
A Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania driver has been charged in connection with a road rage incident on Interstate 84 in Vernon. State police say 40-year old Carlos Tejada shot at a vehicle which had pulled out in front of him on the highway around 1:20 Wednesday morning. No one was injured. Police arrested the suspect near exit 56 in East Hartford, and charged him with illegally discharging a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, and reckless driving. Tejada was being held on 100-thousand dollars cash bond, and was to appear in Rockville Superior Court.
NO STATE MASS TRANSIT RATE HIKES
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut officials are canceling rail and bus fare increases scheduled to begin on July 1. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker announced Thursday the increases and service cutbacks are no longer needed because the revised state budget adequately funds Connecticut’s transportation account for the short-term. Redeker called it “great news for Connecticut commuters” and commended lawmakers for passing a budget that maintains full funding for public transportation by accelerating the planned transfer of motor vehicle sales tax revenues from the state’s main spending account. The Special Transportation Fund was projected to become insolvent beginning fiscal year 2019, prompting the transportation agency to propose a 10 percent fare increase for all rail commuters, a 14 percent fare increase for bus riders and service reductions.
MORE CT JOB LOSSES
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut labor officials say the state saw its second consecutive month of job losses in April. The Hartford Courant reports employers shed 1,400 jobs during the month. The state Department of Labor also revised its March employment figures, from 2,000 jobs lost that month to about 3,500. The state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in April, though that was higher than the national rate of about 3.9 percent that month. Connecticut has recovered just 78 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession. The labor department said a silver lining in the monthly jobs report was that manufacturing employment rose thanks to increased demand for submarines and aerospace technology, suggesting the sector could be turning the corner after decades of declines.
HOME PRICES AREN’T RISING
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Home prices in Connecticut have yet to rise above their peak more than 10 years ago. The Hartford Courant reports only 12 of the state’s 169 municipalities have reached or gone above the annual median sale price in 2007. The paper says data shows the median sale price of a single-family home was at $248,000 in March – 15 percent below the peak of $295,000 in 2007. Fairfield County fared the worst, with home prices down 24 percent compared to its peak. Hartford County has recovered the most, but it is still 11.5 percent below 2007 levels. Longtime real estate agent Joanne Breen says this is the worst housing downturn she has seen “by far.” Experts say sluggish housing prices are tied to the state’s broader economic woes and population declines.
GUBERNATORIAL FIELD THINNING
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The field of potential Democratic candidates for Connecticut governor is growing smaller. Sean Connolly, the former state veterans affairs commissioner, announced Thursday he is ending his bid for Democratic Party’s endorsement and throwing his support to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. Connolly is the latest Democratic contender in recent weeks to quit the race and endorse Lamont. Party delegates are holding their convention this weekend to back a candidate for governor in November now that Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not seeking a third term in office. Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is hoping to win enough support on Saturday to qualify for the Aug. 14 primary. Ganim and retired Greenwich business executive Guy Smith are also collecting signatures to appear on the ballot. There are also several lesser-known Democratic candidates.
DCF REACHING OUT TO LGBT
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s child welfare agency is actively reaching out to the LGBT community, hoping to persuade members to consider becoming foster and adoptive parents. The Department of Children and Families on Thursday unveiled its new outreach campaign. Connecticut’s initiative is one of a handful of efforts by state and city governments in the U.S. that encourages gay and lesbian families to consider becoming an adoptive or foster parent. In Connecticut, there are currently 4,300 children in state care. Connecticut’s DCF is working with gay and lesbian organizations, such as the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Chamber, to encourage people to apply. DCF Commissioner Joette Katz says there are roughly 100 LGBT adoptive families currently in the system. She wants to increase that number to at least 250 by January.