WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

NEW CUMBERLAND FARMS APPROVED

The second of two lengthy public hearing sessions leads to a unanimous thumbs-up for a planned Cumberland Farms gas station and convenience store in Norwich. The Commission on the City Plan approves the project for the corner of West Main Street and New London Turnpike. More than two hours of public comment last night followed a similar meeting about one month ago. The facility has been opposed by the owner of a nearby Mobil station. His attorney, Harry Heller, butted-heads more than once with acting Commission chairman Frank Manfredi. Manfredi urged Heller not to repeat the same arguments he made during the May Commission meeting.  Heller’s request to have the hearing continued to July, so his team can review new project data submitted this week by Cumberland Farms, was denied by the commission, prompting Heller to say that could lead to a court appeal. Manfredi responded by saying the decision will probably be appealed anyway. The Mobil owner has three pending lawsuits regarding zoning and permit concerns over the Cumberland Farms project.

COMPLAINT NOT REASONABLE

Ac­cord­ing to a 27-page re­port, Stonington High­way Depart­ment em­ployee Daniel Oliv­e­rio’s al­le­ga­tion that Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Bar­bara McKrell is un­fairly tar­get­ing him is not “ob­jec­tively rea­son­able”. Stonington La­bor At­tor­ney Mered­ith Di­ette also said Oliverio’s re­sponses to sit­u­a­tions with McKrell ap­pear to be ex­ag­ger­ated. She fur­ther wrote that while the ev­i­dence doesn’t sup­port Oliv­e­rio’s al­le­ga­tion of re­tal­i­a­tion and a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment, it does re­veal there are wounds in the depart­ment that need to heal. She wrote that none of 16 other em­ploy­ees have com­plained about McKrell and that she has a clean dis­ci­plinary record.

SENATE PASSES DEFENSE BILL

U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate on Monday night passed an annual defense policy bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal says makes “major investments in submarines, joint strike fighters, and helicopters to support Connecticut jobs.” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the bill “supports Connecticut manufacturers and strengthens national security.” It authorizes more than $7 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, including $4.4 billion to continue building two Virginia submarines per year and $3 billion in advance procurement money used to buy materials that take longer to produce. That is $250 million more than what President Donald Trump requested in advance procurement funding, and the extra money could be used for the addition of a third submarine in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 or to expand the submarine industrial base to support a planned uptick in production.

BLAST RULED ACCIDENTAL

Westerly quarry

Rhode Island officials have ruled the quarry blast that injured two town employees and damaged multiple buildings accidental. Yesterday, the state Fire Marshal’s Office found the blast at the Westerly quarry did not violate state law or the state fire code. The Fire Marshal’s Office has reinstated the quarry’s blasting license after the owners promised to use an air horn to warn of upcoming explosions.

WRECK ASSESSMENT POSTPONED

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced the inspection and evaluation of a World War II British oil tanker will be delayed until mid-July, to finalize contracts. The Coimbra SS was sunk by a German U-boat off of Shinnecock, NY and rests about 170 feet be­low the wa­ter about 30 miles off Long Is­land’s south shore. The tanker broken into three parts and was loaded with about 2.7 million gallons of lubricating oil. The Coast Guard has only received perhaps one or two reports of oil sheens from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration that are tied to the wreck.

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