200 GRAND ADDED TO EDUCATION BUDGET
A lengthy and sometimes contentious budget process has come to an end in New London. The city council has approved a 93-million dollar spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget includes over 43-million dollars in education funding, 200-thousand of which was added last night. City councilor Don Venditto says he feared the magnet school system instituted a few years ago would be at jeopardy. The city’s finance board had suggested a 600-thousand dollar increase to the school budget. That didn’t fly with councilor Alma Nartatez who wanted costs cut. The budget represents a 3-point-2 percent increase over this year’s budget. It will raise the tax rate by point-six mills.
ACADEMY HEAD REMOVED
A Coast Guard Academy captain who was head of the management department has been removed after investigators learned he bullied a subordinate in early 2018. The Coast Guard Academy said Capt. Kevin Lopes was removed on April 24th “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to effectively lead the department, but was not the product of a single incident.” An Academy spokesman would not comment on the number of instances of bullying involving Lopes.
MUSEUM WORK IN BILL
A Coast Guard authorization bill, attached to a larger $716 billion defense policy package for next year, includes a provision that would enable the service to pay for design and engineering work for the National Coast Guard Museum planned in downtown New London. The project is scheduled to break ground in 2021, but that is subject to change.
SARGENT NAMED DEPUTY CHIEF
Former New London Fire Battalion Chief Edward “Ted” Sargent was sworn in as Groton City’s new Deputy Fire Chief. Sargent grew up in East Lyme but joined the New London Fire Department in 1989. Sargent, who still lives in East Lyme, got his start in the fire service in 1981 as a volunteer at the Flanders Fire Department. After four years of service in the Air Force, he landed the New London job. He earned a promotion to lieutenant in 2007 then to battalion chief in 2014, after scoring first in the merit exam. Sargent starts this week in Groton City, where he also will function as a deputy fire marshal, leaving a department of about 65 members to one with about 17.
The off-duty police officer who fired a shot at a stolen car carrying three suspects in Pawcatuck Monday afternoon has been identified as veteran Westerly Police Lt. Steven Johnson. Johnson remains on full-time active-duty status while Westerly police conduct their own internal investigation of the incident, which is prompted by any use-of-force incident. Stonington police, with assistance from the New London State’s Attorney’s Office, continue to investigate the Monday incident.
A nine-year-old Mugleston pit bull, born in California, will wear the No. 1 dog tag in Norwich for 2018-19. “Cali” and her owner, Alexis John, will receive a large tote bag full of dog treats, toys and grooming supplies as the winners of the city clerk’s office’s 18th annual drawing for the No. 1 dog tag. John has owned Cali since the dog was a year old and described Cali as “a little overweight” dog who loves children and loves playing with John’s two other dogs.