A resolution may appear on Monday night’s Norwich City Council agenda that would have the chairman and vice-chairman of the city’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners step down from the panel. Norwich alderman Stacey Gould says she’ll be meeting with her Republican colleagues on the city council Saturday to discuss the situation regarding Utilities panel chairman Dee Boisclair and vice-chairman Robert Groner. Both were recently re-appointed to their positions by the utilities board, despite the recommendation from the city’s ethics commission that they be removed from their leadership positions, because they went on a May 2016 all-expense paid trip to the Kentucky Derby. Gould says a long, costly investigation into the matter by a city council sub-committee could prove fruitless. She hopes finding a quick, “honorable” way to have Groner and Boisclair leave the utilities commission can mean the city can move forward from the Derbygate controversy, and tackle other big issues, such as the budget.
ONE BID BUILDING
Only one developer has submitted a bid to renovate the vacant Reid and Hughes building in Downtown Norwich. City Purchasing agent William Hathaway says the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development submitted a proposal by the Wednesday deadline. The organization has been talking with city officials since last Fall about a plan that would convert the decaying structure into new retail and living space. The city has also received bids to tear down the structure. Aldermen approved demolition last October, but state historic preservationists have since blocked that move. The Women’s Institute proposal will now be reviewed by the city planning office and the city manager.
GOVERNOR REACHING OUT ON BUDGET
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking battling legislative leaders to meet with him next week to “chart a course together” for reaching an agreement on a new, balanced state budget. Malloy extended the invitation Wednesday, a day after the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee abruptly adjourned without taking a vote on a proposed $40.3 billion, two-year spending plan. The move prompted Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to blame each other for the breakdown. Democrats said a vote wasn’t taken because there wasn’t enough bipartisan support, claiming they expected GOP votes for the bill. Republicans said they always intended to present an alternative budget, something that could happen as soon as Thursday. Meanwhile, the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to vote on a tax plan.
RI POLICE OFFICER ALLEGEDLY HITS FOXWOODS ATTENDANT
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island police officer charged with punching a 73-year-old casino bathroom attendant because “the water was too cold” is seeking to avoid prison. The Providence Journal reports that 36-year-old Pawtucket officer Michael Tousignant was charged with assaulting an elderly person. Authorities say Tousignant was off-duty at the Foxwoods Resort Casino on April 1 when he complained to the attendant and then “smacked him.” He was charged by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department. Tousignant said during booking that he served in the military and had been with Pawtucket police for 10 years. He applied for a court program that would let him avoid a criminal conviction and prison. It’s unclear if he has an attorney. Pawtucket police say Tousignant is on administrative duty and under investigation.
CROWBAR BEATING AT MITCHELL BEING INVESTIGATED
An April 7th incident that had numerous people attack a Mitchell College student on-campus with a crowbar continues to be investigated by campus officials and New London police. Authorities say they were called to the campus around 1 AM to find 10 people involved in a fight, not all of them students. The student was treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital for facial injuries, and continues to recuperate. Police say it appears the fight began off-campus. Police say they’re interviewing witnesses, and are reviewing college surveillance video. Campus officials increased security in the days following the incident, which they say is extremely rare at Mitchell.
SPEEDBOWL OPENER PPD.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl has postponed its season-opener. An announcement on the racetrack’s website says the May 6th and 7th event is being pushed back due to unforeseen additional work needed on the grandstands, and weather conditions. No new date has been announced. The next scheduled event is the Saturday night regular-season opener on May 13th. The announcement makes no mention of last month’s arrest of track owner Bruce Bemer on charges of patronizing mentally-challenged males for sex. Several senior track employees have since resigned, and NASCAR has withdrawn its sanction.
RI TOWNS SUING OVER VISITORS CENTER
RICHMOND, R.I. (AP) – Two Rhode Island towns are suing the state over an environmental agency’s proposal to build an office and visitor center in a protected forest area. The Providence Journal reports Richmond and Exeter oppose the $7.2 million project on a hill overlooking the Browning Mill Pond. The state Department of Environmental Management wants an office for its workers that will also greet visitors to the Arcadia Management Area, the state’s largest recreational area. The president of the Exeter Town Council says town planning officials found the proposed building was too close to the water. Both lawsuits ask the Providence County Superior Court to stop the project until the environmental agency gets all necessary permits from the developer. A DEM spokeswoman says the department doesn’t comment on current legal matters.