WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

VP COMING TO NL

Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence is due in Connecticut today for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement.  Pence is scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the graduating class of Coast Guard cadets.  Last year, President Trump delivered his first address to a service academy to Coast Guard cadets in New London.  This year, Trump is addressing the U.S. Naval Academy commencement.

LIGHTNING STRIKE BLAMED FOR HOUSE FIRE

A home in Old Lyme caught fire this morning. Firefighters called to 29 Talcott Farm Road around 4 a.m. No injuries were reported as the family inside got out safely.  Authorities say lightning struck a tree in the yard and that spark spread to the house.

BRIDGE REPAIRS DONE

Stillman Avenue Bridge (Westerly Sun)

Repairs have been completed to the Stillman Avenue Bridge in Stonington and will allow large firetrucks to cross it again. Almost two years ago, the weight limit on the small bridge that spans Pawcatuck and downtown Westerly was lowered from 47.7 tons to 20 tons, after the bridge was found to be in need of repair. First Selectman Rob Simmons said the project will retain the 47.7-ton weight limit for an estimated eight years, giving Stonington and Westerly time to plan a design and permitting of the bridge’s eventual replacement. Both towns are sharing the cost of repairs and eventual replacement of that bridge.

CREATING A HEMP INDUSTRY

Local and state officials heard mixed views from nearly 50 farmers yesterday on how easy or difficult it would be to create a hemp industry in the state. State officials told the farmers regulations will be necessary, because industrial hemp plants look exactly like marijuana plants, which are illegal in Connecticut. Several farmers said Connecticut is behind the curve on this issue. An attorney is expected to be hired by July 1st to guide state officials in writing those regulations. Tuesday’s meeting was to gauge interest in creating hemp production in Connecticut.

BARN RAISING BOOST

Mitchell College Red Barn

The Mitchell College Red Barn reconstruction project got a huge boost yesterday when it received a $1.1 million grant from the Aramont Foundation. Its believed to be the largest single gift to the college in its history. A replica of the iconic former dairy barn is under construction and expected to be completed by the end of June.

ADDICTION DISCUSSION TOMORROW

Most first-time abusers of painkillers get them from a relative or friend.  About one in five high school seniors report misusing prescription drugs at least once. A documentary about the realities of opioid addiction will be part of a community conversation Thursday at Bacon Academy. The program is aimed at parents, adolescents and members of the community at large. A panel discussion with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with East Haddam mother Deb Breton, who lost her son to opioids two years ago will follow.

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