Archive for WICH Personality Radio

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

EB EXPANSION DETAILED

Electric Boat, Groton

Electric Boat last night unveiled plans for an $850 million project to expand and improve its Groton shipyard. It will include a new construction bay to build a new class of ballistic-missile submarines. It plans to construct a floating dry dock to accommodate this work in its south yard. The intent is to bring many of the materials into the site by water to help reduce congestion on roadways and construction traffic. Some of the neighbors in the immediate vicinity of EB’s south yard are unhappy with the plans, and had met with representatives from EB several times prior to Thursday’s meeting to air their concerns.

GROWTH SLOW

The state gained 1,100 net jobs from July to August and the employment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. The national unemployment rate is 3.9 percent. The Norwich-New London-Westerly labor market area lost 200 jobs over that month, but it gained 1,500 jobs since last August, a 1.2 percent increase that gives the region a rank of third out of nine areas for year-over-year growth. Education and health services saw the most new jobs in August, at 1,000, while construction had the largest percent increase, at 0.8 percent. Overall, the state has recovered 88.5 percent of the 119,100 jobs lost in the Great Recession.

CGA DORM MOLDY

Mold is growing in several rooms in Chase Hall. That’s the main residence hall on the Coast Guard Academy’s campus in New London. This after employees first cleared it from the building in August. The rooms were not designed for air conditioning, which, combined with a particularly humid summer created a good environment for mold to grow. Engineers adjusted the air conditioning temperature, but that did not prevent the mold from coming back. Because temperatures are expected to drop into the upper 60s this week, the air conditioners will be shut down in the A and B units. The academy has formed an action team made up of doctors from the medical clinic, a cadet and occupational health experts to develop a plan to prevent the mold from returning.

GOING POSTAL

A Plainfield postal worker has been charged with stealing federal money orders that prosecutors said were later cashed for more than $60,000. A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Michelle Barbeau, of Brooklyn, and James Lebel, of no certain address, with offenses related to the theft of U.S. postal orders. Barbeau and Lebel allegedly conspired to take blank U.S. Postal money orders from the Wauregan Post Office and imprint them in various denominations. Lebel then cashed more than $60,000 in fraudulently imprinted postal money orders at other post offices. Barbeau is facing a 20 year sentence and $250,000 fine. Lebel has also been charged with four more counts of wire fraud. Barbeau was released on a $100,000 bond. Lebel was detained on Wednesday pending a Sept. 26th hearing.

FLEET GETS NEW LEASE

Fort Trumbull penninsula (The Day)

New Lon­don’s com­mer­cial fish­ing fleet has agreed to extend its lease to con­tinue its op­er­a­tions on the Fort Trum­bull penin­sula. That opens the door to fu­ture ex­pan­sion. The lease agreement was approved yesterday and, for the time be­ing, dispelled con­cerns by the fleet of be­ing evicted from the site. The new agree­ment, ef­fec­tive Oct. 1, pro­vides op­tions to ex­tend the lease for a to­tal of 15 years and re­places a month-to-month ar­range­ment that for years had led to un­cer­tainty for the fleet.

BURGER KING OPPONENTS GATHER IN CEMETERY

While a public hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, opponents to construction of a proposed Burger King in Norwichtown gathered yesterday at the historic colonial burying grounds to hear historic preservation advocates express concerns that the project could impact the cemetery.   Dane Roux, president of the Leffingwell Inn says it is up to residents to protect what he calls one of Norwich’s best assets.  The rally, hosted by representatives from the Norwich Historical Society and the Society of the Founders of Norwich, urged those in attendance to attend the public hearing.

BRIDGES IN BAD SHAPE

The report on the condition of Connecticut’s bridges, released Thursday finds that 308 of the state’s 4,254 bridges are rated as “structurally deficient.” The report does not suggest that the bridges are putting drivers at risk, and had that been, the bridges would have been closed.  But it’s still a problem in Connecticut.   Thirty-two of the structurally deficient bridges are in New London County.   In New London County, the most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridge is the one that carries I-95 over Route 161  in East Lyme, which was built in 1958. DOT plans to go out to bid in 2020 to replace that span.

 

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

WOMAN KILLED AFTER BEING PINNED BETWEEN CAR AND TREE

ANDOVER, CT (WFSB) – A woman died after being pinned between a car and a tree in Andover on Thursday.    State Police said they responded to East Street in Andover around 12:41 p.m. for the report of a woman unconscious.   Police said they found Florence Caillard, 59, of Willimantic, on the scene.    According to police, Calliard was a care giver for an elderly man who resided on East Street.    Upon investigation, it was determined that Calliard got out of her manual car and failed to set the emergency brake.  Calliard walked around to the passenger’s side of the car when the car began rolling backwards due to the slope of the driveway.    She became pinned between the open door and a tree, and died as a result of her injuries.    State Police are continuing their investigation.

UCONN INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn has cut the ribbon on a building designed to foster partnerships between the school’s researchers and industry.   The Innovation Partnership Building was funded with about $85 million from industry. It brings together academic experts and companies in fields such as flexible electronics, materials science, additive manufacturing, cybersecurity, energy and others.   The building, at UConn Tech Park, houses 10 industrial research and development centers and is designed to allow researchers to collaborate across different disciplines.   UConn officials say the state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment in the building and the research done there will help foster economic growth and attract high-paying jobs to the state.

WEST NILE VIRUS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut health officials say four more state residents have tested positive for West Nile virus, raising the total number of human cases this year to 10.   Officials said Thursday that the four people included two residents of Bridgeport, one from Durham and one from Southington. They ranged in age from 50 to over 70, and three needed to go to hospitals. All are recovering. They became ill within the past month. Three state residents tested positive for the virus in all of 2017.   The virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and most people don’t develop symptoms, but it can be fatal in rare cases. Officials continue to urge residents to remove standing water from their properties and use insect repellent at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

BRIDGE STUDY

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A report from a nonprofit transportation research group says 308 bridges on Connecticut roadways are deteriorating and structurally deficient.  The group TRIP, which used data from the state Department of Transportation, says it found about 8 percent of the 4,254 bridges maintained by state and local officials have significant deterioration and should be repaired or replaced.   The group says those bridges are crossed daily by 4.3 million vehicles.   The study, presented to state lawmakers Thursday, also found that 59 percent of the state’s bridges are 50 years or older, the fourth highest rate in the nation.   It says the average age of all Connecticut’s bridges is 53 years and the average age of the state’s structurally deficient bridges is 69 years.

DIVERTED FEDEX SHIPMENTS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut say a FedEx worker diverted $2,800 worth of shipped items, including two assault-style rifles, to his mother’s home.   The Journal Inquirer reports that 31-year-old Marlon Hamilton is facing 46 charges, including identity theft, forgery and stealing a firearm.   Police say Hamilton printed fake shipping labels and attached them to the packages he wanted from the Willington facility.  Authorities say he had guns, electronics and music equipment shipped to his mother’s Hartford home. Hamilton’s mother had no knowledge of the scheme.   Police were tipped off when a sporting goods company reported it had never received two rifles it had ordered.   Hamilton blamed a co-worker, but police say that co-worker doesn’t exist.  The guns haven’t been located.   Hamilton was held on $400,000 bond. No defense lawyer was listed in judicial records.

UNEMPLOYMENT IN RHODE ISLAND

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate ticked down to 4.0 percent in August, but the number of jobs in the state fell by 2,400.   The state Department of Labor and Training says the rate was one-tenth of a percentage point lower than in July. The state’s unemployment rate is one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the national rate. It’s four-tenths of a percentage point lower than a year ago.   The data shows that the number of jobs based in Rhode Island dropped to 501,900, a decrease of 2,400 jobs from the revised July estimate. More than half of the jobs were lost in the accommodation and food services sector.   August marks the first monthly job decline since March. The state still has 6,400 more jobs than it did a year ago.

HIGH SCHOOL CONDITIONS

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Parents say conditions at a Rhode Island high school that was rated one of the ten worst in the state last year haven’t improved.   WJAR-TV reports there have been complaints concerning mice, mold and leaks at Rogers High School. Students say the conditions are disturbing and distract from class time.   School officials say they are aware of pest problems at the school. They say exterminators make regular visits. Parent Melody O’Brien says city officials are managing buildings like “slum lords.”   City officials say a bond vote to fund a new school is on the November ballot. However, a new building would be at least five years away even if the measure passed.   Rogers High School was built in 1957.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

DREDGING FUNDS EXPECTED

The State Bond Commission is expected to vote on a measure today that would award New London a $5 million grant-in-aid for dredging If awarded, the grant-in-aid will be used to finance maintenance of dredging along selected areas at the State Pier in New London.

EB EXPANSION PLANS TO DISCUSS

Electric Boat, Groton

Plans for expansion at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton will be discussed tonight at a public meeting at six in Groton in the city municipal building. Fuss & O’Neill, a civil and environmental engineering consulting firm, and representatives from EB will be on hand. EB plans to invest more than $850 million on capital improvements at its Groton headquarters. That will include a new construction bay where a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines will be built.

PUBLIC INPUT WANTED ON HARBOR ACCESS

Tucker Braddock

The Harbor Management Commission is seeking public input at its Tuesday meeting on public access to Norwich Harbor, potential harbor improvements and responses received to an ongoing survey of waterfront issues and conditions. The 5 p.m. meeting in Room 335 at City Hall will begin with a PowerPoint presentation on harbor conditions and possible future plans. Chairman H. Tucker Braddock said responses to the survey, both on the city website and in written hard copy form, have been good.

SUB RETURNED

A submarine based out of Groton had to return home due to a leak. The Navy says the USS Pittsburgh had a minor leak in its nuclear propulsion plant. A Navy spokesman says that’s not uncommon. The leak was discovered during routine inspection. It did not pose any risk to boat or crew. The Pittsburgh was commissioned in 1985.

FAMILY QUESTIONS NFA’S INVESTIGATION

Anthony Facchini (Norwich PD)

The family of one of the Norwich Free Academy students allegedly assaulted sexually by a coach doesn’t think the school did a very good job handling the situation. Anthony Facchini was fired in July but the family thinks that may have been too late. The attorney for one of the alleged victims says communication with NFA officials has been zero. Jason Burdick is seeking documents and information about the school’s investigation. Facchini is to be arraigned today.

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN ID’D

A 29-year-old man is dead after he was struck by a freight train in Norwich.  Police say Jeffrey Kulos was struck on the tracks near Alms House Lane yesterday morning or Tuesday night.  Kulos was pronounced dead at the scene.  The death happened on land owned by New England Central Railroad, and the company is assisting with the investigation.

MAN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

A Norwich man filming Tuesday’s thunderstorm in Westerly caught himself on tape being struck by lightning. Eric Clement was shooting the storm from the porch of one of the motels he runs at Misquamicut Beach when he says lightning hit a nearby pond and traveled through him while he was holding a metal door knob. Clement called 9-11 and was checked out by EMT’s but did not need hospitalization. He said he learned a lesson during the incident: GO INSIDE DURING THUNDERSTORMS.