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
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
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.