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SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

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SHOOTING DEATH-SENTENCING

New York City man gets 60 years in 2008 Norwich killing

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — A New York City man convicted in the 2008 shooting death of a man outside a Connecticut bar has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.   Thirty-three-year-old Jose Ramos was given the maximum sentence Friday in Norwich in the death of 29-year-old Tynell Hardwick.   Authorities say Ramos shot Hardwick in the head on Oct. 10, 2008, outside a bar in Norwich. They say Ramos shot Hardwick from across the street after a dispute earlier that evening inside the bar.  Ramos was arrested in September 2012 following an investigation by the Eastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit. He was found guilty of murder in February.   Ramos told Hardwick’s family in court that he was sorry for their loss but maintained his innocence in the killing.

TRAFFIC ALERT

Part of Route 14 in Plainfield closed after crash

PLAINFIELD, CT (WFSB) – The intersection of Pickett Road and Route 14 in Plainfield is closed after a two car crash. The crash occurred Sunday around 4:50 a.m. The Department of Transportation said the road will be closed for several hours. At this time, it is unknown if there were injuries.

WILLIMANTIC MOTHER AND BOYFRIEND ARRESTED AFTER 2-YEAR-OLD FOUND WANDERING ALONE

Lopez, Gonzalez

Lymarys Lopez, William Gonzalez

 

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Police arrested the couple after DCF was notified when the child was found wandering alone while the couple was in the apartment sleeping.  The child was unharmed, and had left the apartment twice through the unlocked door.  The mother, 20-year-old Willimantic resident, Lymarys Lopez was charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor.   Lopez’s boyfriend, 28-year-old, Willimantic resident, William Gonzalez was charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor.   Lopez and Gonzalez are being held on $1,500 bonds each and are due to appear in court on May 10th.

CONNECTICUT LEGISLATURE

Time running out on Connecticut legislative session

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Time is quickly running out for Connecticut lawmakers to finish their work this session, including a revised budget for the new fiscal year that’s projected to be $960 million in deficit.   The General Assembly was in session on Saturday. State legislators face a midnight adjournment deadline on Wednesday.   It’s questionable whether that will be enough time to finish their biggest task: a revised budget for fiscal year 2017. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday said negotiations with the legislature’s majority Democrats were “hitting a wall.” They’ve been at odds over spending cuts.   Other key bills still need final legislative approval, including a bill that would bar people with restraining orders against them from having guns. Bills affecting opioid abuse and Department of Motor Vehicle wait times remain unfinished.

RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Bill creating private-sector retirement accounts passes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation that creates a new retirement savings program for eligible private-sector workers. The bill cleared the Senate on Saturday after Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman broke an 18-18 tie. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

SCHOOL THREATS

Connecticut House votes to toughen school threats penalty

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers are moving closer toward imposing tougher criminal penalties against those who threaten schools.   The House of Representatives on Saturday voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that makes it a Class C felony for intending to cause the evacuation of a school building or grounds when school is in session or when the campus is being used for school-sponsored activities.   A Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

SCHOOL ABUSE-TEACHERS

House Oks bill aimed at rooting out abusive teachers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Legislation that requires local and regional school boards in Connecticut to take additional steps to determine whether teacher candidates have a history of sexual misconduct or abuse involving children has cleared the House of Representatives.   Lawmakers passed legislation Saturday that attempts to stop a practice called “passing the trash.” That’s when a school suspects a teacher of sexual misconduct and forces the teacher out to protect students, but the teacher can still get a new job and sometimes with a glowing recommendation.   The bill requires school boards to provide information to other districts about whether a teacher applicant was disciplined for abuse, neglect or sexual misconduct and whether they know that a teacher has been convicted of a crime or of pending criminal charges.

EMPLOYMENT GRANTS

Rhode Island awarded $1.25 million to help the unemployed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has been awarded nearly $1.25 million to provide re-employment and eligibility assessments to people who are unemployed.   The state’s congressional delegation announced the funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.   It will be used to expand unemployment services so the state can conduct in-person assessments to help people identify their strengths and opportunities in the workforce and to refer them for job training and services.

FIREFIGHTING FOAM-RHODE ISLAND

Like most states RI doesn’t look for fire-foam contamination

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is among 33 states not tracking the use of a toxic firefighting foam even as the military checks U.S. bases for potential groundwater contamination from it.   The chemicals in the foam are known as perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, and have been linked to cancer and other illnesses.   Five states are actively tracking PFCs. A dozen are beginning or planning to investigate.   Most are waiting to see whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency establishes a firm limit on PFCs in water.   Rhode Island health officials say the state isn’t looking for potentially contaminated sites.   The fire academy doesn’t use the foam.

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE

News BannerLIFESTAR TAKE OFF INTERFERENCE

NEW LONDON- The New London Day reports New London police say they’ve arrested a Norwich man who delayed a Life Star helicopter as it attempted to take off from a parking lot at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Friday afternoon. Jonathan Brand, was warned several times by hospital security to leave the heliport area of the Montauk Ave, hospital parking lot, as a Life Star helicopter attempted to transfer a patient to another facility. Brand initially refused, and then moved to a hospital parking lot and blocked vehicles from leaving the campus. Brand is charged with interfering with a heliport-landing field, reckless endangerment, first-degree trespass, breach of peace, and is being held on a $150,000 bond.

IRS SCAM ALERT

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NORWICH-The Norwich Bulletin reports Norwich police are warning residents to remain cautious against a telephone scam where callers are telling individuals they owe the IRS money. The callers say if the residents don’t pay the money, IRS agents will come to their house to arrest them. Police said in a Facebook post that many Norwich residents have fallen victim to the scam, due to the professionalism of the callers. Norwich police reminded residents the IRS does not collect debts this way.

AMTRAK TRAIN FATALITIES

GUILFORD, CT (WFSB) Amtrak train service along the Connecticut shoreline was suspended around 8:30 Friday morning after a trespasser was struck and killed in Guilford
About 120 passengers, none of whom were hurt, were affected by the delay. Another train fatality around 2:00 Friday afternoon this time in Milford. Officials have not released the names of either victim. Both incidents are under investigation by police and Amtrak authorities.

SCHOOL EMPLOYEE INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT WITH STUDENT

PLAINFIELD-The Plainfield school district superintendents office notified the Plainfield Police Department on Wednesday, of an alleged incident that could be of a criminal nature, involving inappropriate conduct of a faculty member with a student. The unidentified employee has been placed on administrative leave. Plainfield school district has said that the alleged incident occurred outside of the Plainfield schools and school activities. There was no other information available due to the ages, and nature of the incident. Plainfield police are investigating.

ZIKA VIRUS TEST

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given emergency authorization to medical tests maker Quest Diagnostics Inc for the Zika virus. On Thursday, Quest said that it planned to make the test available early next week to physicians for patient testing in the United States and Puerto Rico.

DRUG FATALITY ARREST

OAKDALE-Police say a 55-year-old Oakdale man has been charged with negligent homicide in connection with a fatal heroin overdose back in February. Through an investigation it was learned Michael Bedard of 8 Illinois Court, texted the victim inviting him to Bedards residence to “do a couple of lines and to come on down”, typical words used by drug users and sellers. Bedard told emergency responders he thought the victim had overdosed about an hour before he called for assistance and wasn’t aware of what drug the victim took. Responders asked why it took so long for Bedard to contact them and he said he thought the victim had simply fell asleep. Bedard was released on a promise to appear and is due in Norwich superior court on May 12.

CONNECTICUT BUDGET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s budget problems have worsened once again. New state revenue estimates, revealed Friday evening by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget director, show the current fiscal year is projected to end June 30 about $256 million in deficit. That’s up from a $141.4 million estimate released just last week. Meanwhile, the projected budget deficit for next fiscal year, which legislators and Malloy are struggling to fix before Wednesday’s legislative adjournment deadline, has grown to $960 million, up from $922 million. In January, the deficit for 2016-17 was projected to be $570 million, but income tax and other revenue collections have steadily worsened.   Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director, said the new figures mean the fixing the deficit “got a little harder.”  The new revenue projections were agreed upon by the governor’s and legislature’s budget offices.

WEAPONIZED DRONES

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Those who attach weapons to drones in Connecticut could soon face a serious criminal penalty.  A wide-ranging bill that cleared the House of Representatives on a 131-14 vote Friday creates a new class C felony for using weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  A similar proposal died last year due to inaction. The debate was reignited this year after a college student in Clinton posted videos online of a drone-mounted handgun firing rounds into the woods and a flying flamethrower lighting up a spit-roasting Thanksgiving turkey. The bill, which now awaits Senate action, also creates a new crime for launching or landing a drone near a correctional facility. The bill also allows law enforcement to use drones in certain circumstances.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A bill that would allow minors with certain debilitating conditions to use Connecticut’s medical marijuana program faces its final legislative hurdle.  The proposal, which already cleared the House of Representatives, was being considered Friday by the Senate.  Debate is expected to last late into the night. Sen. Toni Boucher (boo-SHAY’), a Republican from Wilton and a chief opponent, has proposed 25 possible amendments to the legislation.  Boucher voiced concerns about children using “mind-damaging substances,” saying the harm could be worse than their underlying conditions.  But proponents say they heard from many anguished parents about their children’s suffering from conditions such as extreme seizures being eased by the drug. Under the bill, medical marijuana dispensaries could not provide qualified children any marijuana product that is smoked, vaporized or inhaled.

LONG ISLAND SOUND-LOBSTERS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A new study says no traces of pesticides were found in lobsters collected in Long Island Sound in late 2014, boosting the belief that warming water temperatures is the main culprit in a huge lobster population decline.  The findings renew questions about restrictions Connecticut passed in 2013 limiting the use of pesticides that can control mosquito populations that transmit diseases including the West Nile and Zika viruses.  Lobstermen supported the restrictions, believing pesticides contributed to lobster die-offs. Some municipal and environmental officials were opposed, saying the rules would restrict the use of effective mosquito control pesticides and there was no proven connection between pesticides and lobster die-offs.  The University of Connecticut and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tested 45 lobsters collected in Long Island Sound from Stamford to Stonington in October 2014.

CAVITY SEARCH-POLICE CLEARED

(Information from: Record-Journal, http://www.record-journal.com)
MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) – A jury has cleared six Connecticut police officers of allegations that they conducted an illegal body cavity search on a man in 2011.  The federal civil rights suit was decided Thursday.  The suit filed in 2013 by Derrick Bryant, who had been held on drug charges. He alleged Meriden police performed a cavity search in a station holding cell without a warrant. Under state law, a warrant is required for police to search body cavities other than the mouth.  The officers maintained they never did a cavity search and simply removed drugs they found in Bryant’s buttocks.  The officers’ lawyer tells The Record Journal “fine officers who were publicly defamed have been vindicated.”  Bryant’s attorney says she’s “dismayed” by the verdict but has not yet decided whether to appeal.

DRUG DROP BOXES

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – After a successful campaign placing prescription drug drop boxes across Connecticut yielded 23,000 pounds of unused pills last year, 11 more boxes have been added.  State officials announced Thursday that the 11 additional boxes will be located at each Connecticut State Police barracks. The 60 drop boxes placed last year are located at municipal police departments throughout the state.  Gov. Dannel Malloy said certain prescription drugs can lead youths toward heroin, and the state must “do all that we can” to combat the national and statewide opioid crisis.  Officials say 415 people died from heroin-related overdoses in Connecticut last year.  Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris says proper drug disposal is “an important piece of the puzzle” in helping those suffering from and affected by addiction.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

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SURVIVING KOFKOFF CHICKENS OK

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut agriculture officials say the remaining chickens at a Lebanon egg farm which suffered a devastating fire this week are healthy and their eggs are safe for humans to eat.   Department of Agriculture officials conducted a second inspection on Friday at the Hillandale Farms egg-production facility, known locally as Kofkoff Egg Farms, where 80,000 chickens were killed in Tuesday’s blaze.   Friday’s inspection, a follow-up to another one conducted Wednesday morning, determined the fire was confined to a single coop containing the 80,000 birds. State inspectors found no adverse effects on the remaining, approximately 1.5 million chickens at the farm.   Water, electricity and feeding systems were restored Wednesday and state officials said production has returned to normal levels.  Fire investigators say the blaze was likely caused by an overheated electric motor.

PROTESTORS AT KOFKOFF TOLD TO LEAVE

Animal advocates on Friday demanded to inspect the coop destroyed by fire at the Kofkoff egg farm (WFSB)

Animal advocates on Friday demanded to inspect the coop destroyed by fire at the Kofkoff egg farm (WFSB)

A small group of animal rights activists is turned away at the Kofkoff Egg Farms in Lebanon Friday.  Six people representing various organizations demanded more information about conditions at the farm where an estimated 80-thousand chickens were killed in a coop fire Tuesday.  The activists were barred entrance to the property by farm officials and security.  Fire investigators say it appears a malfunctioning motor on a conveyor belt caused the blaze.  A statement from the farm’s owners says they’re thankful no employees were injured, and that the company’s efforts are fully focused on the health of its hens.

WEEKEND BUDGET TALKS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Budget staffs for legislative Democrats and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy are meeting, trying to craft a potential Democratic budget for a vote before Wednesday’s adjournment deadline.  House Democratic leaders said the staffs were working Friday on the possible compromise, using ideas from budgets proposed by Malloy, the majority Democrats and minority Republicans. Talks were expected to continue over the weekend.   House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz  said Monday or Tuesday would be the earliest date for a budget vote.   Democrats have been at odds with Malloy about how to cover next fiscal year’s projected $922 million deficit and make lasting changes. They recently skipped a closed-door session with Malloy, leaving him to meet solo with the GOP.   Meanwhile, it’s questionable whether Republicans will be part of any final agreement.

PLAINFIELD SCHOOL FACULTY MEMBER ON LEAVE

Plainfield police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the placement of a Public School faculty member on leave due to apparent inappropriate conduct.  Police say an incident of a criminal nature involving the un-named employee and a student happened outside of any school-related activities..  An investigation began, and a second incident involving the two was also discovered.  No further information is being released as of now, due to the age of the student.

KILLER SENTENCED

A Queens, New York man is sentenced Friday to the maximum 60 years in prison for the murder of a Norwich man standing outside a city bar.  33-year old Jose Ramos still maintains he didn’t fatally shoot 29-year old Tynell Hardwick outside the former Rumours bar on Boswell Avenue in October 2008. Ramos spoke at length before sentencing, claiming witnesses at the trial lied and contradicted each other. Numerous members of Hardwick’s family stood and applauded in the courtroom after the sentencing was announced.

AMTRAK FATAL

Amtrak officials say someone was killed by an Acela express train Friday morning. The person was hit while on the tracks near the Guilford/Branford town line around 8:30 AM. No injuries reported among the passengers or train crew.  The train was held till about 10 AM when it resumed its trip to New York.

 

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

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NO CONFIDENCE IN MILLSTONE

The union which represents security guards employed with at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford are expected to conduct a vote of no confidence May 13th against owner’s Dominion Resources and its contractor. The vote would state contractor, G4S Secure Solutions and Dominion are unwilling and unable to provide reliable equipment and a safe working environment.

DRUG DROP BOXES IN PLACE

Governor Dannel Malloy announced Thursday the state’s latest move in the fight against opioid dependency. Each state police troop’s lobby, eleven in all,  will have a prescription drug box. The boxes made possible by CVS will allow residents to turn over expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications.

OSTEN V CROUCH

Sprague’s Republican Registrar of Voters, Barbara Crouch is expected to challenge long time Democratic incumbent State Senator Cathy Osten. Crouch will make her intentions for the 19th District seat official today.  The initial announcement came yesterday in an email.  The district includes Ledyard, Uncasville, and Norwich  among others.  Osten is Sprague’s first selectman.

 

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

News BannerDEMS  RELEASE BUDGET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – There are signs budget negotiations will resume at the Connecticut state Capitol.   Majority Democratic leaders on Thursday unveiled a revised plan to cover a projected $920 million deficit in the new fiscal year beginning July 1. Instead of holding a vote on that proposal, as promised last week, lawmakers said they hope it will be a basis for talks with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and possibly the minority Republicans.   House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said the plan “protects Democratic priorities,” such as local education and hospital funding.   Earlier Thursday, Malloy said it was “unimaginable” that he’d sign a budget passed by the legislature that wasn’t negotiated with his administration. His spokesman later said Malloy has “serious concerns” with the Democrats’ proposal, but welcomed bipartisan negotiations.   The session ends May 4.

MINIMUM WAGE HIKE PROPOSED

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democrats in the Connecticut Senate are proposing to further increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.   The proposal was offered Thursday as a late-session amendment.   It comes three months after the wage increased from $9.15 to $9.60 an hour. It is scheduled to climb again to $10.10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017. In 2014, Connecticut was the first state to pass legislation approving a $10.10 wage.   Since that time, there has been pressure to increase the wage further. This session, a bill calling for a $15 an hour wage by 2022.   Debate on the bill was expected to continue late into the night. Republican senators took issue with the majority Democrats proposing another wage hike at a time when businesses are leaving Connecticut.

CHADWICK’S MOTHER SPEAKS AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

The mother of a Norwich murder victim is among those testifying in Washington Thursday, urging better oversight in the release of criminal aliens in the U-S.  Wendy Hartling lost her daughter, Casey Chadwick, last June, as she was murdered by Haitian national Jean Jacques, in her Norwich apartment.  Jacques had not been deported after previously serving prison time for attempted murder.  Hartling  tells members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she had been anxiously waiting to appear before them, saying changes have to be made at the U-S Department of Homeland Security.  Hartling says the pain of her daughter’s murder will always be with her.  Jacques faces as much as 60 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 6th.

NORWICH BUDGET CUTS PROPOSED

Norwich aldermen meet Monday night to adopt a preliminary budget for the new fiscal year, and the Republican majority is proposing a series of spending cuts.   They include a reduction in school spending to 1-percent above current levels.  The board of education wants a 6-percent hike, the city manager reduced that to 2-percent. The Republican cuts would reduce Otis Library funding by 130-thousand dollars, give the city’s Human Services Department only one caseworker, and eliminate a city fire battalion chief. It would also cut funding for a study on a proposed Community Center.  Monday night’s council meeting begins at 7:30 at City Hall.

DEEP DEFENDS KILLING SWAN

An official with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is defending the agency’s decision to euthanize a swan.  State bureau chief for Natural Resources Bill Hyatt says Connecticut’s policy toward aggressive birds is extremely tolerant, and that a male swan on Five Mile Pond in Killingly was a danger to boaters.  Hyatt says the decision to kill the bird on April 21st came after discussions with state biologists and other officials.  Some residents criticized the move, calling it inhumane and unnecessary.  Hyatt says DEEP will review its protocols to see if changes need to be made.

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