Archive for WICH Personality Radio

MONDAY EVENING UPDATE

PROPOSED AGREEMENT MAY BE ‘HISTORIC”

A proposed agreement between Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state employee union leaders is being billed by the administration as “an historic agreement” that will save more than $1.5 billion over the next two years. Those comments are included in a draft summary compiled by Malloy’s office. The Associated Press obtained the document Monday. The estimated savings match what Malloy has been seeking to help balance the new two-year state budget, which is projected to have a total $5 billion deficit. Malloy is trying to reach a budget agreement with state lawmakers. But House Republican Leader Themis Klarides contends the proposal “falls short of where we need to be.”  Union leaders still need to agree to offer the tentative framework for an agreement to rank-and-file members for their consideration.

EMPLOYEE UNION NOT HAPPY ABOUT JUDGE APPOINTMENTS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A state employee union is criticizing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for appointing more judges in the middle of a budget crisis. American Federation of State and Municipal Employees Local 749 President Charles DellaRocco says the state is “spending money unwisely on essentially lifetime appointments for managerial level employees” while asking the lowest wage judicial employees for wage and benefit concessions. The Democratic governor recently appointed 13 Superior Court judges. There are plans for four more judges to be nominated. Chris Collibee, a spokesman for Malloy, says the appointments “represent a fraction of the current vacancies” and they will help ensure the state’s court system conducts its business in a timely fashion. DellaRocco voiced his concerns Monday, the same day the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing on judicial appointments.

COMMISSIONERS SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS ETHICS FINDINGS

Norwich’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners is scheduled to discuss Tuesday the city’s Ethics Commission’s recommendations against NPU officials.  The Ethics panel in February decided that NPU General Manager John Bilda, Division Manager Steve Sinko, and the now former chairman and vice-chairman of the Utilities Board Dee Boisclair, and Robert Groner, violated ethics rules when they went on an all-expense paid trip in May 2016 to the Kentucky Derby.  All four officials have been told they should fully reimburse the city for the trip costs, and have letters of reprimand put in their personnel files. The ethics group says Bilda should be required to file full reports to the utilities board on any future business travel.  Boisclair and Groner resigned from the board earlier this month.  Tuesday’s  meeting begins at 6 PM in the Public Utilities conference room on South Golden Street.

HARTFORD ID PROGRAM

Mayor Luke Bronin

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Residents in Connecticut’s capital city can obtain identification allowing them access to city services regardless of their housing or immigration status under a new program.  Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says the Hartford City ID program launched Monday is of no cost to the city. While documents will be used to establish identity and residency, the city will not retain them. It will, however, keep the cardholder’s name and their card number. The Democrat says the program is intended to ensure no one has to live “in the shadows,” including people who are without a permanent residence. Residents can obtain the cards at the city clerk’s office and the Hartford Public Library’s downtown branch. The cards will be valid for two years and will cost $15 for adults and $10 for children.
 
EVENTFUL YALE COMMENCEMENT   

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – Graduation day at Yale University included the awarding of degrees, a union demonstration and a man who unexpectedly took the podium and had to be tackled. Yale on Monday conferred more than 3,600 degrees, including eight honorary doctorates. The recipients included civil rights leader John Lewis, former Secretary of State John Kerry and musician Stevie Wonder.  The commencement was interrupted briefly when a man ran onto the podium and grabbed the microphone. He was able to get out a few words about loving Yale before being tackled by security. Union officials say that man wasn’t connected with a protest outside the ceremony by graduate teachers.  More than 1,000 people marched to demand the Ivy League school begin negotiations with a union formed by graduate students in eight departments.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE

STATION FIRE MEMORIAL PARK DEDICATED

(West Warwick, RI)  —  A memorial to the victims of the Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick is open.  Yesterday’s ceremony dedicated the Station Fire Memorial Park on Cowesett Avenue to the 100 victims killed in the fire on February 20, 2003.  The one-acre park includes granite monuments with the names and birthdays of every victim. Pyrotechnics used by the band, Great White started the massive fire.

MALLOY WON’T SUPPORT CASINO COMPETITION

Gov Malloy (WFSB)

(Hartford, CT)  —  Governor Dan Malloy says he will not support any bill that opens up Connecticut’s casino landscape to all bidders.  Malloy says he would consider a measure to allow the state’s two Indian tribes that run casinos to expand.  However, Malloy says he cannot allow anything to happen that would jeopardize the 260-million-dollars a year Connecticut receives from the tribal operators of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  Their compacts require that the tribes be the only casino operators in the state.

RACES ON AT SPEEDBOWL

Management at the New London/Waterford Speedbowl announced that there is currently a working agreement in place for the venue to be leased for the 2017 racing season. They anticipate that racing will begin before the end of June. Details are scarce but they will post updated information on their official website and Facebook page as plans are confirmed. The opening of the racetrack this season was in question after NASCAR terminated its sanctions last month and employees resigned due to the arrest of owner Bruce Bemer for human trafficking.

PURSUIT CALLED OFF

Norwich Police investigate a one car accident on West Town Street last night. The vehicle had been involved in a police pursuit before officers terminated it due to speed and traffic conditions. The Ford Focus, with three occupants inside, struck the pursuing cruiser and a parked car in their attempt to evade police before the pursuit was called. When called to the accident it was determined by police that it was the vehicle involved in that incident. The driver and passengers were transported to Backus Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

PILOT PROGRAM OPERATING

Norwich and Stonington are the only Southeastern Connecticut towns participating in a pilot program for online campaign filing. Twenty municipalities of varying sizes are using the state’s electronic filing system instead of using town clerk’s offices. The goal is to eventually have approximately 98% of candidate and financial documents filed electronically.

PERMIT REQUIRED

The Stonington Community Center will now be required to obtain a permit to continue the replacement of four tennis courts. The Borough Planning and Zoning Commission is asking the center to appear at its June 13th meeting. Officials feel that the project is more extensive than they initially thought. Several neighbors have concerns and have obtained an attorney.

REFERENDUM IN THOMPSON

Thompson voters will go to the polls tomorrow as the town and education budgets go to referendum. If residents approve the budgets and the revenues stay as predicted the tax increase would be 2.76 mills. Like many towns, Thompson’s revenues from the state are still uncertain.

CLOSE TO A DEAL

Selectmen in Putnam continue discussions with the developer of the Cargill Falls project and both sides could be close to a memorandum of understanding, which they have been negotiating since 2015. When completed, the redevelopment will include apartments and commercial space, and will be fully powered by green energy.

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

WATERFORD POLICE SEARCH FOR CHARITY DONATION JAR THIEF

(Waterford PD)

WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterford police are hoping someone recognizes a suspect that took a charity donation jar from a gas station Tuesday night.   Around 8:15 p.m., a man walked into the Hess gas station, located at 124 Boston Post Road, and distracted the clerk by asking for an item behind him. When the clerk turned around, the man concealed the “Friday’s Dog Rescue Foundation” donation jar underneath his shirt. This is the second time a charity donation jar has been stolen in the past few days. A similar incident took place in New Britain last Sunday.   If you recognize the person in the photo on this story, you’re asked to give Waterford police a call at 860-442-9451.

FIERY MANCHESTER CRASH-MULTIPLE FATALITIES

A makeshift memorial was established by those grieving the loss of three young lives in an overnight car crash. (WFSB)

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut say a car crashed into a utility pole and caught fire, leaving three people dead.   The crash happened around 1:20 a.m. Saturday in Manchester. Police say the vehicle was traveling eastbound when it crashed into the pole, caught fire and became engulfed in flames.  Police say two people sitting in front of the car escaped the fire, but the three passengers in the back did not. The two survivors were hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening.   Police have not released the ages and names of the victims.

FAILING HOME FOUNDATIONS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Regional officials are reminding state lawmakers it’s urgent this session to provide assistance to eastern and central Connecticut homeowners with crumbling foundations.   Both the executive director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments and chairman of a CRCOG committee studying the issue are scheduled to appear Monday at the Legislative Office Building to call on the General Assembly to pass a comprehensive plan. They’ll be joined by local officials and supportive state legislators who are seeking a comprehensive testing program and a remediation fund for homeowners.   It’s been estimated that as many as 30,000 homes could be affected by the crumbling foundation problem, which has been traced to a concrete mix containing an iron sulfide.   It can cost $200,000 to repair some foundations. Many insurers have not covered the cost.

TAX FREEDOM DAY

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut marks its Tax Freedom Day on Sunday, the day when the average person has finished earning enough money to pay their annual income taxes.   The Tax Foundation, which does an annual report, says Connecticut’s freedom day is the latest in the nation.  The Tea Party and other groups plan to rally on the Capitol steps Sunday afternoon to mark the occasion.   Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democratic and Republican legislative leaders will meet next week to discuss how to close a $2.3 billion budget deficit.   The Tax Foundation says Mississippi has the earliest tax Freedom Day, marking the occasion on April 5.

COAST GUARD SEASONAL STATIONS

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is opening seasonal stations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the summer boating season.  The Coast Guard says Station Scituate in Scituate, Massachusetts, opens Monday and Station Block Island in New Shoreham, Rhode Island, opens Friday.   Another seasonal station, Station East Moriches in East Moriches, New York, is currently open.   They are scheduled to remain open through Labor Day.   The stations’ crews perform missions including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and recreational boating safety.

WHITEHOUSE-LIEBERMAN

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — One of Rhode Island’s U.S. senators says he doesn’t think former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman should be the next FBI director.  Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters Friday it’s his “strong opinion” that the next FBI director should have considerable federal law enforcement experience and shouldn’t be a politician or “even a recently recovering one like Joe Lieberman.” He says Lieberman is a “great guy, but not this job, not now.”   President Donald Trump had said Thursday he was “very close” to naming someone to replace FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9. He has said Lieberman was among his top choices.

 

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE

MEMORIAL TO OPEN AT SITE OF 2003 FIRE THAT KILLED 100 PEOPLE

A granite memorial, and an emotional milestone, for family members and survivors of the Station nightclub fire. - The Boston Globe

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) – A memorial is due to open at the site of a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people.  The memorial at the site of The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick is scheduled to open Sunday with a ceremony that’s expected to draw hundreds of people.  The blaze began when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable foam that lined the club’s walls as soundproofing. It was engulfed within seconds. More than 200 people were injured.  Gina Russo is a fire survivor and president of the foundation that has worked for years to secure the land and raise the money to build the park. She says she hopes now that it’s built, she can finally let go of some of the guilt of surviving.

STUDENTS AND COPS CANVASSING NEW LONDON; COYOTES

Bing” image of a coyote in Connecticut.

With Coyotes becoming a huge problem in New London County Dozens of students and police officers are teaming up and canvassing the south end of New London walking from house-to-house, handing out flyers and talking to residents. Small dogs have been attacked or killed recently in some resident’s backyards.  One woman saw coyotes surround her 92-pound dog.  If you see a coyote, you should not approach it. People should keep small animals inside or keep them with their owners. Parents should also monitor small children.

FEDERAL TAXPAYER ADVOCATE ADDRESSES CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS

The federal taxpayer advocate says she’s working to help Connecticut homeowners whose foundations are crumbling receive federal tax relief.  U.S. Reps. John Larson and Joe Courtney, both Democrats, were told Friday by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson that her office sent a request to the IRS’ Office of Chief Counsel seeking “priority guidance” on granting tax relief to the homeowners, such as a casualty loss deduction.  Olson leads the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems. She testified at a Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee hearing Friday.
Larson said as many as 30,000 homes could be affected by the crumbling foundations problem, which was traced to a concrete mix containing an iron sulfide. It can cost upward of $200,000 to repair some foundations.

U.S. SENATOR DOESN’T AGREE WITH LIEBERMAN AS FBI CHIEF

Democrats push back against prospect of Lieberman running FBI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – One of Rhode Island’s U.S. senators says he doesn’t think former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman should be the next FBI director.  Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters Friday it’s his “strong opinion” that the next FBI director should have considerable federal law enforcement experience and shouldn’t be a politician or “even a recently recovering one like Joe Lieberman.” He says Lieberman is a “great guy, but not this job, not now.”  President Donald Trump had said Thursday he was “very close” to naming someone to replace FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9. He has said Lieberman was among his top choices.  The president did not announce his pick before leaving Friday on his first foreign trip. He’d previously said he might announce his nominee before leaving.

POLICE ARREST DANIELSON MAN; BREAKING AND ENTERING
Thumbnail

Putnam police say a Danielson man was arrested for breaking and entering. James Saritelli is being investigated as a suspicious person for conspiracy and breaking and entering in an incident Gloucester, Rhode Island Friday morning. And is being charged as a fugitive from justice. Hes being held on a $100 thousand dollars bond. Tax advocate working to help failing foundation homeowners

DEAD TEENS DAD SAYS COP SHOOTING NOT JUSITFIED
Bridgeport
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The father of a teenager shot to death by a Connecticut police officer during a traffic stop does not believe the shooting was justified.
Juan Negron’s son, Jayson, was killed and a young man was wounded when a rookie Bridgeport police officer opened fire on the SUV they were in on May 9. Bridgeport police have said officer James Boulay fired his gun when he was nearly run over by a stolen vehicle driven by Jayson Negron after a chase.
Juan Negron’s lawyer, Michael Rosnick, says his client disputes the police story, including that the SUV was stolen, that there was a chase and that the officer was in danger. Rosnick spoke on Juan Negron’s behalf as both of them held a news conference Friday.
A city spokeswoman declined to comment Friday.

PEDIATRICIAN CONVICTED OF RAPING PATIENTS LOSES APPEAL

Dr. Earl Brian Bradley – Hellbeasts

DOVER, Del. (AP) – A Delaware judge has rejected an appeal from a former pediatrician serving life in prison after he was convicted of raping scores of patients.  The judge dismissed Earl Bradley’s latest appeal on procedural grounds on Thursday. The judge said there’s no new evidence to suggest Bradley is innocent, or that there is any new rule of constitutional law that might be applied retroactively to his case.  The judge also noted it is difficult for Bradley to argue that he is innocent, given that he videotaped the criminal acts for which he was convicted.  Bradley was convicted by the same judge in 2011. He waived his right to a jury trial after a motion to suppress evidence was denied.  Bradley is currently imprisoned in Connecticut after being transferred from a Delaware prison last year.

FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING BRUSH FIRE AND ANGRY RATTLESNAKES

Kent brush fire grows as snakes swarm woods

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Firefighters battling a brush fire near the Appalachian Trail in western Connecticut have been dealing with another threat this week – rattlesnakes.  The blaze has burned about 200 acres near Kent since Wednesday, with 17 departments helping to keep it contained.  Kent Volunteer Fire Chief Alan Gawel says the fire disturbed the dens of the Timber rattlers, and well over a dozen snakes have been spotted fleeing the heat, including one that slithered between the legs of a firefighter.  No one has been bitten, but authorities have alerted hospitals to make sure they have a supply of anti-venom.  A spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says once the fire is out, wildlife experts will go in looking to rescue any injured snakes.

STATE REACHES DEAL WITH STATE FARM TO SPONSOR MOTORIST HELP

The CTDOT State Farm Safety Patrol. (assistpatrol.com photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut Department of Transportation has reached an agreement with State Farm insurance that will allow the agency to continue the Connecticut Highway Assistance Motorist Patrol.  The program, which has been in operation for more than two decades, patrols the highways and helps stranded motorists free of charge. With new funding provided through the sponsorship program with State Farm, coupled with federal funding, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the state can ensure “that this highway safety program can continue providing the same high level of service” while reducing the state’s costs.  Connecticut officials are grappling with a projected $2.3 billion deficit in the new fiscal year.  The new program will now be known as the CTDOT State Farm Safety Patrol. State Farm operates similar initiatives in 15 other states.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

LIEBERMAN NOT GETTING SUPPORT FROM LOCAL SENATORS

Joe Lieberman

Two Democratic U-S Senators, from Connecticut and Rhode Island, are expressing doubts as to whether former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman should be named as the new director of the FBI.   Richard Blumenthal says Lieberman has an exemplary  public service record, but doesn’t seem to fill the bill to be an effective FBI leader. Blumenthal says Lieberman doesn’t have the law-enforcement and criminal justice experience necessary to do the job.  Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse agrees with Blumenthal, saying Lieberman is a-quote-great guy, but not this job, not now.  Lieberman has been mentioned by President Donald trump as  the leading candidate  for the FBI directorship.

WAUREGAN BUILDING RECOVERING FROM BURST PIPE

Four apartments in the Wauregan Building in Downtown Norwich will remain unoccupied through the weekend, and a planned Sweet 16 birthday party in the facility’s ballroom will have to find another location.   This is all due to a burst sprinkler pipe that occurred in a sixth floor apartment Thursday night. Building owner Bruce Becker says wiring in four apartments will have to be dried out for a couple of days, making them temporarily uninhabitable. The second-floor ballroom was flooded, but Becker says property management quickly dried out the wooden floor.  All flooded areas, though, will have to aired out.

NL FIGHT

(l-r) Mario Vargas. Marvens Medina, Khijiemh Miller, Kenny Noel

Four men and two juveniles have been arrested due to a large brawl in New London.  Police responded to Robinson Street around 2:40 Thursday afternoon to find 15 males fighting.  Police say the men fled the scene, but police later stopped a vehicle at gunpoint  near the intersection of Montauk and Willetts Avenues, and charged four suspects. Two more males were also charged.  Arrested were:  19-year old Mario Vargas of New London, 20-year old Marvens Medena, and 19-year old Khijiemh Miller, both of Norwich, and 18 year old Kenny Noel of Taftville, along with the juveniles. Vargas was found in possession of a dangerous weapon.  Police say some of the combatants were armed in the fight, but no injuries are reported. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact New London police.

FOUNDATION HELP

Nina Olson

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The federal taxpayer advocate says she’s working to help Connecticut homeowners whose foundations are crumbling receive federal tax relief.
U.S. Reps. John Larson and Joe Courtney, both Democrats, were told Friday by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson that her office sent a request to the IRS’ Office of Chief Counsel seeking “priority guidance” on granting tax relief to the homeowners, such as a casualty loss deduction.  Olson leads the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems. She testified at a Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee hearing Friday.  Larson said as many as 30,000 homes could be affected by the crumbling foundations problem, which was traced to a concrete mix containing an iron sulfide. It can cost upward of $200,000 to repair some foundations.

FIRE AND SNAKES

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Firefighters battling a brush fire near the Appalachian Trail in western Connecticut have been dealing with another threat this week – rattlesnakes.  The blaze has burned about 200 acres near Kent since Wednesday, with 17 departments helping to keep it contained. Kent Volunteer Fire Chief Alan Gawel says the fire disturbed the dens of the Timber rattlers, and well over a dozen snakes have been spotted fleeing the heat, including one that slithered between the legs of a firefighter.  No one has been bitten, but authorities have alerted local hospitals to make sure they have a supply of anti-venom. Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, says once the fire is out, wildlife experts will go in looking to rescue any injured snakes.

NIGHTCLUB MEMORIAL TO OPEN

Station Nightclub Fire Memorial (WLNE)

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) – A memorial is due to open at the site of a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people.  The memorial at the site of The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick is to open Sunday with a ceremony that’s expected to draw hundreds of people.The blaze began when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable foam that lined the club’s walls as soundproofing. It was engulfed within seconds. More than 200 people were injured. Gina Russo is a fire survivor and president of the foundation that has worked for years to secure the land and raise the money to build the park. She says she hopes now that it’s built, she can finally let go of some of the guilt of surviving.

 

 

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

Y GETS BIG DONATION

MYSTIC, Conn. (AP) – A local YMCA is on its way to meeting funding goals for a future expansion and renovation thanks to a million-dollar donation from a local businessman and his wife.   Sekhar and Archana Naik are pledging an initial $800,000 donation, with an additional $200,000 if the Ocean Community YMCA raises $200,000 by Aug. 15. The YMCA’s branch president says the donation will allow them to break ground on the project in August.   The Day reports (http://bit.ly/2pREjbg ) the YMCA will continue fundraising to offset the money it planned to borrow for the expansion, and to offer financial assistance to those who want to use services offered by the YMCA.   Sekhar Naik, who owns the companies Voice Glance and MResult, says his family has been members for 15 years.

CUTS ILLEGAL SAYS BOARD PREZ

Scott Garbini

A decision by the New London Finance Board to cut one-million dollars from the city’s original 41-point-7 million dollar school budget proposal is causing some consternation among school officials. Board of Education President Scott Garbini says that kind of funding reduction would all but cripple the school system.  School officials are questioning the legitimacy of the Finance Board’s decision to reduce the school budget because only two of the five board members voted on the measure. New London Mayor Mike Passero says he expects to have a legal opinion by Monday.

“KENNY”s DEATH SOLVED

Shirley Langford

An East Lyme woman turned herself into Waterford police yesterday after learning that a warrant had been issued for her arrest. Shirley Langford was charged with negligent homicide stemming from a January hit and run which resulted in the death of a New London man. Kim Weeks, known locally as “Kenny”, was found deceased near the Crystal Mall parking lot on January 19th. An extensive police investigation led to the arrest.

PIPES BURST FLOODS APARTMENTS

Thirteen units in the Wauregan apartments in Norwich were affected when a sprinkler pipe burst on the sixth floor last evening. Tenants were displaced in four or five of the apartments and the second floor ballroom was flooded. It took just over an hour for the leak to be contained. The building has a history of sprinkler system breaks.

CONSTRUCTION SOON TO BEGIN

School officials in Stonington are getting ready for the start of the $67 million project to renovate two elementary schools. The construction on Deans Mill and West Vine schools will begin before the school year ends on June 16th. The schools will remain open during the work. Completion is anticipated for December 2018.

EL BUDGET APPROVED

Yesterday’s referendum in East Lyme resulted in voters approving a 2017-2018 budget that contains a 2.29 percent increase over the current budget. The amount of state aid to the town is still uncertain, as the governor’s budget has not yet been approved. According to First Selectman Mark Nickerson, if the town’s state aid is cut it could set up a secondary round of budgetary meetings and discussions.

REPORT VANDALS

The Putnam Business Association has sent e-mails to members alerting them to recent vandalism downtown. Police are patrolling more often but if anybody sees any destructive acts there are encouraged to call the Putnam Police Department.

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

IT’S HOT OUT THERE

BOSTON (AP) – Heat records are burning up in cities in the Northeast as the region gets a summer preview. The National Weather Service says the mercury reached 92 degrees in Boston on Thursday, breaking the old record of 91 degrees for May 18 set in 1936. New York City reached 91 degrees, eclipsing the old record of 90 degrees. Records also were set when Providence, Rhode Island, hit 93 degrees and Hartford, Connecticut, reached 94 degrees. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection issued an air-quality alert with record temperatures forecast in that state. Boston’s Bunker Hill Monument, a tourist attraction, closed for a time because of the heat. Taking a break from his Boston hotel job, Matt McKenna said it felt like the weather had skipped spring and gone straight to summer.

PRESTON MAN ACCUSED OF THREATENING TO KILL WOMAN

A Preston man was to be arraigned Thursday in Norwich Superior Court after allegedly threatening to shoot someone over money issues.   Police say 67-year old Bruce Ezell, who is wheelchair bound, had pointed a handgun at someone in his River Road residence Tuesday night, and had told the woman he was going to shoot her, and, according to the victim-quote-“watch me bleed out slow”. There was no shooting. Ezell was taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich for an emergency medical committal, and is being held on 75-thousand dollars bond. Ezell denied owning a 45-caliber pistol, but police later found one hiding under his pillow. Police say Ezell smelled of alcohol when he was arrested.

ACCUSED RAPIST CAN STAND TRIAL

Christopher Chmielecki

27-year old Christopher Chmielecki has been found competent to stand trial for two separate assault cases.  He pleaded not guilty Thursday in New London Superior Court, after examiners at the Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown released its findings on the suspect’s mental competency earlier this month. Chmielecki is accused of choking and raping a 24-year old woman in Norwich in August of last year, while threatening to kill her. He’s also accused of choking and raping another woman in her Willimantic apartment in May of last year. Chmielecki’s attorney requested a mental health review of his client in April. He has been hospitalized several times for psychiatric treatment.

DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS SOLD

Three vacant Downtown Norwich properties have been sold to an unidentified buyer.  City building official James Troger tells the Bulletin that the Fairhaven building at 24 to 28 Broadway, as well as the buildings on either side of Billy Wilson’s Ageing Still, also on Broadway, have been sold to a developer who has plans for commercial and residential development. Troger says an architect is drawing up conceptual plans, and permit applications are expected to be submitted soon.

NO ELECTORAL POOLING

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – It appears unlikely Connecticut will be the latest to join a group of states wanting to pool their Electoral College votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. Leaders of the Democratic controlled House of Representatives on Thursday tabled the bill after about 90 minutes of debate. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, a Democrat, had told reporters earlier in the day that he wasn’t sure if there was enough support for the legislation, which had narrowly cleared the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in March. Democratic Rep. Roland Lemar of New Haven says joining the compact would “ensure every vote counts in every state across the country.” But opponents argued that Connecticut would ultimately have less sway in the electoral process under the proposal.

NO BEAR HUNTING IN LITCHFIELD  

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Legislation that could have led to bear hunting in one Connecticut county has been snuffed out.  Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully scuttled the bill by replacing it with other legislation that makes it illegal to bring certain big game specimens into Connecticut.  Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman broke a tie vote in the Senate. The bill was ultimately referred to the Judiciary Committee. Litchfield Sen. Craig Miner, a Republican, originally proposed requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to come up with bear-hunting season regulations. Recognizing he faced opposition, Miner amended the bill, allowing DEEP to decide whether to seek such regulations. Also, his revised bill limited potential bear hunting to Litchfield County. However, all of that language was stripped and replaced with the ban on big-game trophies.

DEREGULATE BRAIDING

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would deregulate the business of African-style braiding. The state House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday, but instead delayed it until Tuesday. It would exempt natural hair braiders from the costly licensing requirements for hairdressers and barbers. Braiders say their practice is a cultural tradition and art form and the training and safety rules for cosmetologists aren’t relevant to what they do. They’re backed by a bipartisan group that includes the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Anastasia Williams, of Providence, and conservative and libertarian organizations seeking to cut business regulations. The national law group Institute for Justice has been fighting for years to deregulate braiding around the country. Beauty schools have opposed the efforts.

 

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

MEGOS APPEALS

Zane Magos

A Norwich businessman, who was convicted in 2012 for six misdemeanor charges, was in State Appellate Court yesterday, appealing his conviction on a probation violation in 2014. Zane Magos took deposits for houses and apartments that never became available, and pleaded guilty to the initial charges. In February, he was charged with repeating the scheme, and his five year suspended sentence was reinstated.

ALLEGED EMBEZZLER ARRESTED

A Dayville man, who allegedly stole money from Advanced Auto Parts in Norwich, was arrested yesterday. Seth Masson was charged with third degree larceny embezzlement. According to police, he was employed at the store and engaged in fraudulent product returns, valued at more than $3,500. Masson will appear in Norwich Superior Court on May 25th.

FIRST Q REVENUE DOWN

According to a report posted last week, Foxwoods Resort Casino’s net revenues for the last quarter were down from the same period last year. For the three month period which ended March 31st, net revenues totaling $202.7 million were down 6.3 percent.

ZONE CHANGES IN STONINGTON

The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission approved two changes on Tuesday that could encourage redevelopment in Mystic and Pawcatuck. The changes in zoning regulations affect the heritage mill district and also allow changes in the tourist commercial zone around I-95 exit 90.

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

PRESIDENT SPEAKS AT COAST GUARD COMMENCEMENT

President Trump at Coast Guard Academy (WFSB)

President Donald Trump delivers the keynote address during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony in New London.  Early on in his speech, Trump thanked the cadets for dedicating their lives to defending the country on the high seas. Trump would then go on to tout his accomplishments in office thus far, saying jobs are pouring back into the country.  The President says he’s working on major tax cuts, health care reform, and building a wall along the US/Mexico border.  He also took a shot at the media, saying no other politician has ever been treated so poorly by reporters. 

PRO-AND-ANTI TRUMP RALLIES

(WFSB)

Over two hundred people gather at McKinley Park in New London to protest  President Donald Trump’s visit to the United States Coast Guard Academy.  East Hampton resident Rick Carositti was among the protesters.  He says Trump is unfit to serve as commander-in-chief. A smaller group of Trump supporters held a rally at the park as well.  Centerbrook resident Laura Wobble says she takes exception to those who say the President has no respect for women.  Over a dozen civic organizations assembled at McKinley Park on Wednesday.

LIEBERMAN FBI FINALIST

Joe Lieberman

Several candidates under consideration for FBI director are being paraded past reporters as they leave the White House following interviews with President Donald Trump.  They include former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, former FBI official Richard McFeely and former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating.  Keating said afterward that he’d had a “good conversation.” Lieberman described a “good meeting.” McFeely declined to comment.  The scene was reminiscent of Trump’s very public search for a vice president and his transition period, when potential Cabinet picks were paraded through the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.  The meetings come more than a week after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump has said he could name a successor before he departs Friday on his first overseas trip as president.

MALLOY: NO ADDITIONAL LABOR CONCESSIONS

Gov Malloy (WFSB)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he doubts that additional labor savings can be achieved beyond the $700 million he is currently seeking from state workers. The Democrat’s administration continues to negotiate with state employee union leaders to secure a possible labor concessions deal. If an agreement is ultimately reached, it would still need to be ratified by rank-and-file members. Both House and Senate Republicans have proposed roughly $260 million more in labor savings to help cover next fiscal year’s projected deficit, which has grown from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion. Malloy said Wednesday it is “unrealistic” to expect additional concessions beyond the $700 million. Malloy and legislative leaders met for the first day of budget negotiations on Wednesday, reviewing their respective proposals. They’re expected to resume talks next week.

CLOSED CAMPUSES??

Mark Ojakian

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities leader is warning that campuses may close if the system’s budget is cut to the degree suggested by the governor and state lawmakers. CSCU President Mark Ojakian  said Wednesday that recently revised budget proposals from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican and Democratic lawmakers include cuts ranging from an additional $5.4 million to the state universities and $19 million to the community colleges to upward of $90 million to the overall system. Malloy and legislative leaders, who began budget talks Wednesday, updated their respective budget proposals to accommodate a larger-than-expected deficit for next fiscal year. It has grown from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion. Besides closing campuses, Ojakian says CSCU may have to eliminate certain student services and make significant workforce reductions.

DANIELSON MAN PICKED UP FOR DRUGS

John Biekert (WTNH)

A Danielson man faces charges of narcotics possession, and interfering with a police officer. State police stopped 28-year old John Biekert on Route 12 near the intersection with Route 6 late Tuesday night, because his pickup truck had no license plate lights. Police say Biekert was very upset and refused officers’ request to search his vehicle. A police dog smelled narcotics, and a search did find crack cocaine, marijuana, and hydrocodone tablets. Police say the suspect fought with troopers while being arrested, kicked the front windshield of the police cruiser, and later threatened to kill the troopers. He’s being held on 110-thousand dollars bond, pending arraignment.

SMALLER BUDGET SURPLUS IN RI

Tom Mullaney

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island will finish the fiscal year will a smaller surplus than expected. WPRI-TV reports that state budget officer Tom Mullaney published a report Tuesday. Rhode Island is expected to finish out the 2016-2017 budget year with a $14 million surplus. The state’s earlier projected surplus was $59 million. Overspending by state agencies and poor tax returns are being cited for the smaller surplus. Social services cost the state the most during the past fiscal year. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says she isn’t surprised but still is disappointed. Raimondo and legislative leaders are currently hashing out final details on next year’s budget. Raimondo’s proposal for free tuition has garnered much attention during the talks. The governor says she’s open to changing the plan for the budget.

PROPOSED DRIVER’S ED CHANGES IN RI

Joseph Shekarchi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Parents of teenagers learning how to drive would have to take their own driver’s education class under a proposal being considered in Rhode Island. The state House of Representatives voted 58-11 to pass the bill Wednesday, moving it to the Senate. It would mandate a free course for parents of drivers under 18 years old. Parents with multiple children wouldn’t have to take the class more than once in a 5-year period. AAA Northeast supports the bill, which was introduced by Democratic House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi. The organization intends to be a course provider. Massachusetts and Connecticut have required such classes for about a decade. Rhode Island’s proposal offers the option of taking it online. Republicans who opposed it say it’s a parental burden. Some suggested a manual instead.

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

PRESIDENT TRUMP COMING

It’s a big day in New London as President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy this morning. Several local grassroots organizations are expected to gather at McKinley Park to protest the president’s visit. They include the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center, St. Francis House, the New London Green Party and the city’s refugee resettlement agency, better known as Fresh Start. A group of Trump supporters will be holding a free speech rally at McKinley at the same time. That event is being organized by Lori-Hopkins Cavanaugh, founder of the American Liberty Center. Acting Police Chief Peter Reichard says he doesn’t anticipate any problems related to the demonstrations.

BUS PLAN REJECTED

Brian Levesque

Montville’s School Board rejected a proposed busing contract last night that would have meant that a private company would take over the district. Superintendent Brian Levesque was for the contract, saying that Durham School Services would run a more efficient and safer operation than the town. The Montville School bus drivers and their supporters spoke before the vote, encouraging the board of ed to deny the plan.

ON ALERT

The Killingly Town Council is considering implementing a mass notification system which could be used to notify residents of both emergency and non-emergency events. The council has asked for more information on potential costs and the legality of such a town wide system. Some area towns already use an alert system but only for true emergency purposes.

BUDGET DRAWS NO ATTENTION

The proposed 2017-2018 spending plan for Plainfield did not go to vote on Monday as planned because of low voter turnout. A town meeting on May 30th will be the next chance for the public to weigh in. Adjustments are expected to be made by the Board of Finance before then, factoring in some of the recent changes in the governor’s proposed budget.

GRANT HEARING NEXT MONTH

A public hearing has been scheduled by the Norwich City Council for June 5th so residents can share comments on plans to allocate expected grant money. Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, in the amount of $770,000 will be distributed to eight city agencies and outside organizations. The council has final say on allocations.