THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL CLOSER TO REALITY

The Gro­ton Town Coun­cil has paved the way to com­plete the fi­nal steps in a land swap so the town can build a new con­sol­i­dated mid­dle school on the Mer­ritt prop­erty. The town has sought to con­struct its new mid­dle school next to Robert E. Fitch High School as part of the Gro­ton 2020 School Plan. Deed restrictions dating back 30 years got in the way. But a plan was agreed on two years ago between the state and Groton. The town plans to break ground on the new mid­dle school in 2019 and open it to stu­dents in 2020.

BIKE ADVOCATE SPEAKING TODAY

Bike Walk Connecticut’s executive director Susan Smith will lead a presentation later this afternoon on how to make bicycling and walking safe, feasible, and attractive for a healthier and cleaner Connecticut. It’ll be held at the New London Senior Center on Broad Street at five.  The New London Pedestrian Advisory Committee will host the event and has been working with the city planner to make the city more pedestrian friendly. P3 Global Management has been approved by the City of New London to establish a series of six bike share stations across the city starting in 2019.

SCHOOL SAFETY DISCUSSED

Ston­ing­ton High School

Last night, Stonington police and school officials outlined how teachers will now respond to a shooting at Stonington High School. It’s their new ABC protocol developed and implemented following the Parkland, Florida school shooting last February. The plan was developed by Youth Officer Tom Paige and Officer Ed Cullen, in an effort to improve Stonington’s response. The two veteran officers combined active shooter protocols used by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and a commercial active shooter training program known as ALICE to develop a plan for the town’s schools. All police and school staff have been trained in the new procedures.

BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR NON-PROFITS

Keith Phaneuf

A panel discussion was held at Mitchell College yesterday on exploring the long-term impact of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis on the nonprofit sector. Keith Phaneuf, a panel member, says pensions for teachers and state employees, retirement benefits for state employees and payments on bonded debt went from making up ten percent of the general fund 20 years ago to a third now.   He says cities and towns are getting reimbursed less and less for things like payment in lieu of taxes. Phaneuf noted that nonprofits are a popular target of cuts because they’re not fixed costs and can be cut. Asked if there was any fat to be cut, another panel member, Hartford YWCA CEO Adrienne Cochrane replied, “We cut fat a long time ago. I think we’re really into the bone marrow now.”

GU OFFERING ELECTRIC CAR REBATE

Groton Utilities has announced a pilot rebate program for customers who purchase plug-in electric vehicles. A $2,000 rebate will go to the first 20 electric vehicles purchased by Groton Utilities and Bozrah Light and Power customers. Plus, the first 20 electric vehicle leases by customers of either utility can receive a $1,000 rebate. Groton Utilities said the rebates are in addition to a federal tax credit worth $7,500 and a $2,000 state grant. The program also provides a rebate up to $600 for an approved Level 2 charging station. For details, contact energy engineer Hollis McKee at (860) 440-9932 or visit grotonutilities.com

NL GETS NEW IT CHIEF

New London Mayor Michael Passero said his new Information Technology Director Richard Genovese joins the city at a pivotal time. Without an IT director since 2016, New London has approved spending $1.2 million in citywide upgrades to its aging IT infrastructure. In June, the State Bond Commission approved $758,000 to help jump start a stalled plan to consolidate New London’s  emergency dispatch services with Waterford. Passero said he expects Genovese to provide a “fresh set of eyes” on citywide IT needs and help put together an overall strategic plan.

VETS MAY BE CLUELESS

Senator Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Mur­phy is ques­tion­ing whether the Veterans Administration has in­formed more than 500,000 vet­er­ans, now el­i­gi­ble for men­tal and be­hav­ioral health care, of their el­i­gi­bil­ity. Under a bill Murphy got passed, the care now ap­plies to vets with other than hon­or­able dis­charges who were sex­u­ally as­saulted. The law af­fects be­tween 800 and 1,000 Con­necti­cut vet­er­ans. The VA was re­quired to in­form el­i­gi­ble vet­er­ans by Sept. 18th. It has yet to con­firm no­ti­fication to vet­er­ans be­fore that dead­line. A re­quest for com­ment sent to the VA had not been re­turned as of yesterday. A VA spokes­woman indicated Tues­day evening that the depart­ment was work­ing on the re­quest.

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