Archive for Information

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

MONTVILLE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS CHARGED

(NBC CT)

The Montville school district is reeling following revelations of a so-called student “fight club” at the high school. Three administrators have been arrested after police say they failed to report the situation. Superintendent Brian Levesque, Montville High Principal Jeffrey Theodoss, and Assistant Principal Tatiana Patten each turned themselves in this morning. A former substitute teacher at Montville High was arrested last week after being accused of running the fight club. 23-year-old Ryan Fish of Bozrah has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor. Police began investigating in December after a student reported being roughed up at school. Levesque, Theodoss, and Patten are scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court on May 3rd.

BUDGET PROPOSALS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers are expected to vote on changes Democrats hope to make to the second year of the two-year state budget approved last year. The Appropriations Committee is expected to meet Friday to consider the proposal. Republican members are also expected to recommend budget changes. Ultimately, the proposals may be part of a final deal on a revised budget, which will need approval from the full General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Democratic committee leaders say their plan restores funding to a number of programs cut in Malloy’s budget proposal, including fire training schools, elderly nutrition, school-based health clinics and municipal aid. Their proposal also kick starts a program designed to ultimately provide free college while increasing funding for employment and day services for people with developmental disabilities.

UNEMPLOYMENT BACK UP A BIT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Preliminary figures show Connecticut lost 2,000 jobs in March, a drop that’s partly being blamed on the recent bad weather. Andy Condon, director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Research, said Thursday the largest job declines were in retail trade, accommodations and food services, “which may have been adversely affected by the nor’easters” that hit Connecticut. It marked the first month the state has seen a net job loss since October. The Department of Labor’s monthly employment report shows Connecticut’s unemployment rate is now 4.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from February. It was 4.9 percent a year ago. The U.S. jobless rate in March was 4.1 percent. Connecticut has still not recovered from the economic recession of 2008-to-2010, recouping 80.4 percent of the 119,100 jobs lost.

MISSING SALEM MAN FOUND DEAD

Thaxton Kaye (NBC CT)

A Salem man reported missing this week has been found dead in a body of water at a local quarry. State police says 35-year old Thaxton Kaye was discovered Thursday at the Renz Quarry. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been reported missing on Wednesday. State police say there doesn’t appear to be any foul play involved. An investigation is underway.

NL WOMAN SENTENCED FOR COMPENSATION FRAUD

A New London woman has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for fraudently collecting unemployment compensation, and then failing to appear in court for her initial sentencing. 38-year old Yveline Louissaint pleaded no contest Thursday in New Britain Superior Court. The arrest warrant says Louissaint was accused of improperly getting more than 39-thousand dollars in benefits between July, 2009 and May, 2011. She had claimed to be an American citizen, but turns out she wasn’t legally allowed to work in the U-S. She then failed to appear in court for her sentencing in October, 2015. She was arrested again in Groton last December.

MAN SENTENCED FOR BURNING HOME, AND HIMSELF

Daniel Elliott-Villareal (The Bulletin)

A Norwich man is to serve four years in prison for intentionally setting his McKinley Avenue residence on fire one year ago. Authorities say 29-year old Daniel Elliott-Villareal was trying to kill himself when he set the fire in the multi-family apartment building in April, 2017. Elliott-Villareal suffered burns, and had to be treated at the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit. Three other residents suffered smoke inhalation, and a city firefighter was injured. All eight residents were displaced. Elliott-Villareal pleaded guilty in February to second-degree arson.

CT CLOSER TO EARLY VOTING

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The House of Representatives has approved legislation that could eventually lead to early voting in Connecticut. House members voted 81-65 on Thursday in favor of a resolution that would ask voters to amend the state’s constitution to allow people to cast their ballots before Election Day. The bill now moves to the Senate. If the legislation clears the Senate, it must be adopted again next year by both chambers in order for it to appear on the 2020 general election ballot. A majority of voters would then have to approve it. Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says more than one-third of U.S. voters cast their ballots before Election Day in 2016. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill by requiring voters to present a photo ID before voting.

DON’T ASK ME HOW MUCH I MAKE!!

Robyn Porter

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut is moving closer toward prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history. The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 142-4 in favor of such legislation, which was dubbed as this session’s “pay equity” bill. New Haven Rep. Robyn Porter, a Democrat, says the legislation will help ensure women earn equal pay for equal work in Connecticut. Porter and other proponents argue that asking for someone’s salary history can disproportionately harm women. If they were underpaid at previous jobs, women could then face being underpaid throughout their careers. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association supports the legislation, even though it marks a “significant change” in the hiring process. CBIA says the bill stemmed from “discussions and compromise between multiple parties, including the business community.” The bill awaits Senate action.

VETS JOB DISCRIMINATION

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A Connecticut state agency has issued new guidance warning employers they could be subject to penalties if they discriminate against job-seeking veterans with less-than-honorable discharges from the military. The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities says policies against hiring such veterans could be discriminatory because the military has issued so-called bad paper disproportionately to blacks and Latinos as well as service members who are gay or have mental health problems. Cheryl Sharp, an agency deputy director, said at a news conference Thursday it wants veterans to be evaluated by employers case by case. Advocates at the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School say Connecticut is the first state to take the position that discrimination based on discharge status can violate protections based on race, sexual orientation and disability.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

RECALL A FALSE ALARM

The Ledge Light Health District has retracted an alert about eggs tainted with salmonella saying the alert is a false alarm. The eggs were purchased at the Wal-Marts in Groton and Waterford. Inspectors had misread the numerical codes on the side of the cartons and their determination that the eggs were part of the recall was wrong. A spokesperson for the Department of Consumer Protection said Wednesday that the Ledge Light inspectors likely had based their decision on the “universal product code” that matched the recalled products’ numbers but did not check whether the plant number matched that on the eggs listed in the recall notice.

SAILOR MISSING

Tyler Jacob (WTNH)

Groton Police say a 24-year-old U.S. Navy sailor is missing from his home. Tyler Jacob was last seen leaving his house in Groton on Tuesday morning. He’s described as white with blond hair and blue eyes, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds. He was riding a blue 2014 Honda CBR motorcycle with the Connecticut license plate 00KSVK. Police do not have a description of what he was wearing when he left his house. They’re asking anyone with information to call the Groton Town Police Department at (860) 441-6712.

FAIR HOUSING CELEBRATED

The Eastern Con­necti­cut As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors on Wed­nes­day morn­ing held a spe­cial mem­ber­ship meet­ing to com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary of the Fair Hous­ing Act. Nor­wich NAACP Pres­i­dent Dianne Daniels com­mented that zip codes mat­ter nearly as much as ge­netic code in de­ter­min­ing life ex­pectancy in the rental or sale of a dwelling. Con­necti­cut Fair Hous­ing Cen­ter Direc­tor Erin Kem­ple spoke about tests to en­sure real­tors are com­pli­ant with fair hous­ing laws. Look­ing out across the room of mostly white real es­tate agents, Nor­wich Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Direc­tor Kathy Crees commented, they need to do a bet­ter “job of mar­ket­ing a career in real estate to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties and col­ors.”

BOROUGH BUDGET UP FOR WEEKEND VOTE

Jeff Cal­la­han (Patch)

The pro­posed 2018-19 Ston­ing­ton borough bud­get will be voted on at the an­nual bor­ough meet­ing, which will be held at 10 a.m. Satur­day at Bor­ough Hall. Borough War­den Jeff Cal­la­han said that for a home­owner with the me­dian as­sess­ment of $460,000, the pro­posed bud­get would in­crease their bor­ough taxes by $22. Res­i­dents will also be asked to ap­prove the bor­ough’s five-year cap­i­tal im­prove­ment plan.

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

CT REMEMBERING FORMER FIRST LADY

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered flags in the state lowered to half-staff to honor former first lady Barbara Bush. Malloy’s order on Wednesday applies to all U.S. and Connecticut flags at state buildings until the sunset Saturday, the day Bush will be interred.  Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92 following a series of hospitalizations. Malloy says Bush had the respect and love of the country, and that no one could deny the “honesty and dignity” with which she carried herself. He extends his sympathies to the Bush family. Bush brought a plainspoken, grandmotherly manner to Washington, according to her Associated Press obituary. Her 73-year marriage to former president George H.W. Bush was the longest of any presidential couple, beginning during World War II. A funeral is planned for Saturday in Houston, Texas.

SEAT CUTS MAY NOT HAPPEN

It looks like 670-thousand dollars in proposed service cuts to the Southeast Area Transit District may be averted. Senator Cathy Osten has indicated the state legislature may find another way to plug a gaping hole in the special transportation fund. SEAT general manager Michael Carroll says he’s crossing his fingers. Carroll says it’s been difficult to listen to the heartbreaking stories from local residents who have expressed concerns about the proposed SEAT reductions. A series of public hearings have been held in the region over the past week and a half.

STATE DACA BILL PASSES SENATE

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Immigrant students without legal status in the United States are hopeful this will be the year Connecticut legislators make them eligible for institutional financial aid at state-run colleges and universities. The Senate on Wednesday voted 30-to-5 in favor of this year’s version of the bill, which includes some provisions from the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA policy, such as requiring applicants not to have a felony record. Cheers filled the halls of the state Capitol following the vote. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has not been called up for a vote in previous years. Carolina Bortoletto, campaign manager for Connecticut Students for a Dream, says “we think we do have the votes” to pass the legislation after several years of lobbying.

GAMBLING STUDY MEASURE NO MORE

Legislation which would study expanded gambling in the state has died in the General Assembly. The bill would have sought proposals from consulting firms interested in studying how more legalized gambling in Connecticut would affect the state’s slots agreements with the Mashantucket-Pequot and Mohegan tribes. The bill would’ve also hired an independent third party to study how expanded gambling would affect quality of life here. The measure died in the legislature’s Appropriations Committee. All seven local lawmakers who serve on the panel voted against the bill.

POSSIBLE MONEY FOR LOUSY FOUNDATIONS

Matthew Ritter

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Top Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives are throwing their support to a $10 surcharge on Connecticut homeowner policies to help residents with foundations crumbling because of an iron sulfide. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter of Hartford says he hopes their support will give rank-and-file lawmakers political “cover” to back the concept in an election year. He noted Wednesday how it’s been difficult to pass legislation that generates more revenue to help pay for the costly repairs. One bill creating a $20 surcharge recently died in the Judiciary Committee.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz is optimistic the surcharge will pass the House. He pledged to help it pass in the Senate. That money would be deposited into an assistance fund created last year with $100 million over five years.

NO EXPANSION OF LEGAL FIREWORKS

A plan to expand the sale in Connecticut of commercial-grade fireworks beyond sparklers and “fountains,” to include items like roman candles, has died in the legislature’s judiciary committee. The bill would have limited the sale of the fireworks to those 21 and over, but opponents like Bloomfield Fire Marshal Roger Nelson, still worried about increased injuries among kids. The proposal could still be resurrected in another form before lawmakers adjourn next month.

PERKINS FARM PROJECT APPROVED

Perkins Farm property (Westerly Sun)

Work is expected to begin this summer on a new 121-unit luxury apartment complex in Mystic. Stonington’s Planning and Zoning Commission has given its approval to the project, to be built on the Perkins Farm property off Jerry Browne Road. The 70-million dollar effort also calls for a medical and research complex, and town houses, to be built in future phases.

SCHOOL ROOF APPROVED

The Doctor Helen Baldwin Middle School in Canterbury will be getting a new roof. Voters in the town have approved, by a more than 500-vote margin, the 1-point-79 million dollar project. A grassroots organization, dubbed the Canterbury Education Information group, is taking credit for bringing a relatively large turnout to the polls, and for the project’s approval. The group was formed after members say they were frustrated at the slow progress town officials were making in bringing the issue to referendum. The state will reimburse the town for 67-percent of the project cost.

CROCKER HOUSE GETS NEW OWNER

The Crocker House apartment building has been sold. The new owner of the State Street property in downtown New London hasn’t been publicly announced yet. Current owner, Old Lyme based Hamilton Point Investments, says the state’s worsening economic outlook prompted the sale. The building has 82 units. It sold for 7-point-4 million dollars.

TESLA HOPING TO MEET WITH CT CAR DEALERS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Executives from electric car-maker Tesla Motors are reaching out to Connecticut auto dealers, asking to meet and possibly reach a compromise that might allow Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to consumers. Tesla sent an email Wednesday to the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, asking the association for a meeting. Tesla says it “wants to respond in good faith” to multiple requests made by lawmakers for the two sides to discuss a possible deal. A message was left seeking comment with the association’s executive director. Tesla’s meeting request comes a day after a committee approved legislation allowing Tesla to bypass the state’s existing franchise system. Lawmakers said they thought the two sides were already negotiating a possible compromise and voted in favor of the bill to keep those talks going.